Video Surveillance Systems – 5 Steps to Getting Value


We are all after value from every purchase. It is important to remember that best value is unlikely to be the same as lowest price.Value Diagram

Value is really the balance of 3 factors: PRICE – QUALITY – TIME.

The lowest price is only equivalent to best value when both quality and deliverty time mean nothing to you.

The holy grail might be finding the solution/product/service that is Good, Fast & Cheap … good luck on that adventure! (Take a look at the diagram.)

But it is certainly desirable and achievable to find a balance in this equation that fits your needs. When you do that will represent the BEST VALUE for you or your situation.

So, how do you get this value balance right when you’re looking at security surveillance systems. Here are 5 steps that will help:

  1. Assess your need – undertake a risk assessment for your business.
  2. Identify and document the outcomes your want or need from your surveillance system.
  3. Assess and define exactly what locations need to be seen and what needs to be watched.
  4. Define the type of monitoring required for each location.
  5. Consider the future – how will your system be maintained and how might your needs change in the future.

1. Assess Your Need – Determine Your Risks And Threats.
Business face all sorts of risks and threats. Many can be eliminated or satisfactorily minimised by simple changes in operational systems, procedures or policies.

Wouldn’t it be great if you realised that you could attend to your vulnerabilities without a big spend on surveillance??

Anyway, the important point is that you need to know exactly what threats and risks confront your business … and what impact those threats and risks would have should they eventuate.

In other words, before deciding on your surveillance system, conduct a RISK ASSESSMENT on yhour business. This is an investment that could save you a considerable amount of time, money and effort.

2. Define Your Outcomes
Your risk assessment will have identified your vulnerabilities. It is now time to find ways and means to plug the holes. What those “ways & means” might be, you need to know whether tthey have been successful. Defining success up-front will help you balance the Price, Quality, Time equation and find the best value solution for you.

3. Specify Where & What You Want To See.
OK! You know you need a video surveillance system and you know the results you want to achieve with it.

Now it is time to get “down and dirty” with some very specific information – what locations need “eyes” on them and what do those “eyes” need to see in those locations.

You can plot the required locations on a plan of your venue. For each plot point describe, in as much detail as you can, what needs to be seen at that point. Is it general crowd behaviour, specific incidents (like opening of entry points, use of POS), detail visual information (eg facial recognition) or … whatever you need to see note it down, the more detail in your description the better value you are likely to secure.

4. Define Your Monitoring Needs.
What happens with the information from your cameras will be a big determining factor in configuring the system you need. This will partially be driven by what you’ve defined in the previous step. If you need detailed visual information it will require different supporting technology in your control room than if you need only to know that an incident has occured.

Do you need 24/7 live monitoring … or recordings from your camera(s) that can be reviewed if there has been an incident? The quantity and quality of information that needs to be stored, and how long it needs to be kept is very important to define. Storage can account for a significant proportion of your overall system cost.

5. Consider The Future.
Once installed your system will need care. Of course, warranties will sort this out for a limited period but failure to plan the “post warranty” care for your system can be a fatal flaw.

It is essential to factor ongoing system maintenance into your initial surveillance system budget.

Furthermore, understanding how your business is likely to develop, grow and change can – and should – have a big influence on your investment today. Installing a system today that is difficult to integrate into tomorrow’s needs would distort your value equation and almost certainly mean that best value becomes unattainable.

In Conclusion.
Best value comes from your planning. This may need some investment  and ramping up of your resources, and you may need to engage some experts to assist with certain parts of the planning.

But, if you’re considering a surveillance installation – whether new, an upgrade or an addition to what you already have – it is well worth ensuring you end up with a suitable and sustainable solution.

Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash