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Employee Surveillance: With video analytics, much of the monitoring is automated
Employee Surveillance: New developments with analytics allows for automated monitoring and better utilization of video systems. Find out how these cost effective systems can make your company function better and be safer
By D.J. McKenna
Date Posted: 12/1/2016
New developments with analytics allows for automated monitoring and better utilization of video systems. Find out how these cost effective systems can make your company function better and be safer.
Employee video surveillance systems are making it much easier for pallet makers to keep tabs on their workforces — thanks to video analytics. These smart systems can be programmed to automatically monitor your workplace for suspicious behavior – freeing up your security personnel to attend to more pressing tasks.
Essentially, such systems “empower security personnel to quickly answer the critical questions – who, what, where and when – with decisive action,” said Dr. Mahesh Saptharishi, chief technology officer, Avigilon, a key player in video security systems.
A video surveillance system with onboard analytics, for example, can be programmed to make note of when a person enters an ‘off-limits’ area of your warehouse – and then quickly pull-up that incident with an after-the-fact search.
A system programmed for such monitoring, for example, is able to serve-up just a tiny snippet of video of when a person enters an off-limits area during a 24-hour period – rather than forcing a business owner or security chief to view all 24 hours to find video of that intrusion.
All it takes to unearth that video snippet is a quick search with a key phrase like ‘unauthorized person’ or similar key phrase that you can program into the system. Moreover, systems equipped with video analytics can also be programmed to track and monitor a wide range of other behaviors. Need your system to make note of when someone is tampering with one of your cameras? That’s no problem if you have video analytics. Want your system to monitor for when an object is removed from a scene, or when a foreign object – such as a weapon – is placed in a scene? Again, video analytics has you covered.
In addition, video analytics can count the number of people present in any given scene and count the number of minutes a person lingers in a scene. And it can distinguish and search for specific objects – such as a human being, animal, car, truck or similar object classification.
There are even some video analytics systems – equipped with thermal imaging cameras – that can image a human presence in a scene that is completely pitch black.
Basic video surveillance systems, featuring four cameras and a digital video recorder – start at about $350-$400, according to Ben Cornett, CEO, EZWatch (http://www.ezwatch.com), a video security service provider.
But you should expect to pay more – and sometimes much more – if you want sophisticated video analytics added to the mix.
Fortunately, even a barebones system is light years ahead of the traditional video security system of the 90s, which featured relatively low-resolution video cameras fed through coaxial cable to a VCR. These days, pallet or lumber companies can expect to get 1080p, high resolution video cameras with even a barebones system.
Most entry level systems also come equipped with smartphone monitoring, which enables you to view what’s going on in your offices and warehouse on your smartphone – even if you’re across town, or across the country. When shopping for a system, EZ Watch’s Cornett suggests that you look for video surveillance that features high definition, IP (Internet protocol) cameras. You’ll also want video cameras that offer wide dynamic range and/or night vision if you’re looking to monitor low-light situations.
And you’ll want to consider wireless capability for cameras monitoring faraway areas. “If the camera is more than 750 feet away from the DVR, the video quality begins to degrade — the video will lose clarity and definition,” explained EZ Watch’s Cornett. “Transmitting over Wi-Fi or Ethernet achieves higher quality digital video. It allows shorter cable runs. It is also easier to install.”
It’s also important to consider cameras that can be protected with tamper-proof and vandal-proof enclosures. Plus, if you’re looking for the ability to zoom in-and-out of a monitored scene, consider varifocal lens cameras, Cornett added.
Also, be aware that the higher the frame-rate of your camera, the higher the image quality. A 30 frames-per-second video camera, for example, will give you the picture quality you’d find on an old fashioned tube TV. If you’d like video analytics to be included in your surveillance system, you’ll find there are two approaches.
Many video analytics systems centralize all analytics processing in the digital video recorder’s software. Such systems can generally offer more video analytics features.
Other systems offer video cameras outfitted with on-board video analytics firmware. These cameras can often identify specific event types faster, since the camera does not need to send a signal to a digital video recorder for processing. As with many tech alternatives, it’s a trade-off. Smart-cameras can be faster than a system that does all its video processing on the digital video recorder.
But if you decide six months after you buy a system that you want your camera to look for additional behaviors, you may be forced to buy a new camera – rather than turn-on such a capability in your digital video recorder’s software, or do a software upgrade that will enhance all your cameras simultaneously.
Key players to evaluate in business video surveillance systems include ADT Security, Avigilon, Cisco, HikVision Digital, Mobotix, Verint Systems, Allgo Vision, Bosch and VCA Technology according to Market Research Future (https://ww.marketresearchfuture.com/), a market research firm.
Bottom line: Video surveillance makes all sorts of sense for careful business owners who are looking to keep their employees and the customers honest, according to Cornett.
Employees are much less likely to steal – or do something worse – if they know they’re being monitored and recorded. And criminals are more likely to bypass a pallet business outfitted with a clearly sophisticated video surveillance system.
“In the event of a break-in you can provide the authorities with a recorded video of the event,” commented EZ Watch’s Cornett. “This will improve their chances of solving the crime. This makes it easier to report to insurance too.”
Video security 24/7 also offers your pallet business video documentation of any accidents that occur on your property – footage that could help insurance investigators verify the authenticity of an accident claim.
As for pricing: If a higher-end video analytics system is a bit beyond your reach right now, no worry. As with most things technology, the pricing on video surveillance technology is in never-ending freefall.