Just as today’s cell phones have evolved from a basic communication device to a sophisticated multimedia tool, similar shifts have taken place with today’s video surveillance cameras. Improvements in the chip sets and processing technology have resulted in higher quality images, while video intelligence and new compression techniques have enabled significant advances in transmission and storage solutions.
Just as the smartphone has evolved in purpose to become an everyday tool for managing a busy life, video surveillance cameras have become a valuable management tool that can be applied to numerous aspects of business operations. In fact, organizations that are only using IP video technology for surveillance purposes are missing value and opportunity from their investment.
IP surveillance can be used internally and via profit-generating business operations to benefit a number of areas within the organization. The following five examples are just some of the applications for IP surveillance outside its traditional use.
Advanced video analytics can be used to tag events or situations as diverse as a burned-out light in a stairwell, a backpack unattended in a lobby, water left running in a restroom or an individual slipping on ice in the parking lot. Wireless mesh networks and video mobility capabilities allow alerts and live streaming video to be delivered directly to a PC or handheld device, enabling quick response to help ensure business continuity and safety.
For manufacturing facilities, retail establishments, automotive dealerships, logistics center or warehouse operations, IP surveillance can assist in tracking the physical location of inventory with virtually no manpower required. At the end of a production line, cameras can scan completed items or components and maintain a quality control record of the product. Or, at a car dealership the inventory can be recorded and uploaded to the website or popular online sales sites. Archived video may also be used to determine who has had possession of company assets at a given time.
Traffic / Transportation Monitoring
IP surveillance video can be a valuable research tool for evaluating usage patterns or determining any need for growth or change in road infrastructure. It is also used on major freeways across the country to provide live images of road congestion so that drivers can plan alternate routes and authorities can take any needed action to manage the flow and help reduce delays. Or, in the event of an accident, the situation can be quickly assessed and medical or fire personnel dispatched. In airports, network enabled video surveillance cameras provide live information to police, airport operations, fire and medical, and customs and immigration for their various specific purposes.
Workflow / Consumer Buying Patterns
Whether used to track employee workflow practices or consumer shopping store aisles, IP surveillance video can provide management with information to help determine behavioral habits that impact the bottom line. In retail applications, data from the camera system can be accessed in real time and linked to actual sales and operations, applied when planning and analyzing store design and layout, optimizing placement of signage and lighting fixtures, and so on. Video linked to POS operations in retail applications also helps prevent losses through activities like sweethearting.
License Plate Recognition
Automatic license plate reading systems are used in fixed or mobile environments for improved access speed, convenience and security. In addition to their use at parking garages, they can be installed on a roadside pole, a bridge overpass or on overhead scaffolding; or, on a patrol vehicle, school bus or even a sanitation truck. The systems are built around IP surveillance video that can provide clear and detailed images even in low light or extreme backlight conditions for investigative purposes.
These five examples are just a small sampling of the various applications where IP surveillance video can be used. The data can also help stadium, transit and other facility management with traffic and crowd control, employee productivity evaluation, identification of hazardous issues, liability prevention and much more. In a real-life situation, New York City cameras captured individuals streaming onto a city bus immediately after it hit another vehicle. The video clearly identified them getting on the bus after the accident and voided their liability claims.
The integration of video surveillance with other business systems such as POS has further extended the usability of video as a tool to improve business operations. The development of additional applications will only serve to expand this usefulness, making video one of business’s most important resources.