We all have a similar view of video surveillance: a guy sitting in a room full of monitors, bored, watching entrances and back doors and hallways. The very idea of video surveillance has changed from simple protection of a building to making your employees more productive and even increasing revenue. Below I've compiled four ways video surveillance is changing and advancing.
1. Video is now on the network
It used to be your video cameras were connected to a DVR somewhere and it was a closed system. It had its own cables and power source and it did not necessarily belong to IT. Now that it’s on the network with cameras feeding into a recording server or network video recorder (NVR) it definitely belongs to IT. You also get some advantages. If you have more than one office, a centralized surveillance server can allow the customer to view all sites working with the NVR’s at your remote locations. The bigger advantage is that there is software that can analyze your video, and that can present new opportunities.
2. Video in retail
When you use software to analyze your video, video surveillance kind of becomes something else. One example is Nike using video cameras to track buyers’ eyes. If for example there is a special Nike display of shoes at the end of an aisle in a sporting goods store, the camera will track and record how customers react to it and what catches their eyes. Likewise, some retailers use cameras to track how many customers are coming in and leaving at particular times; these analytics give them better ideas about when to bring in more staff based on traffic. They are even integrating video into point-of-sale systems. The metrics generated by video plus software analyzing tools are only going to get more advanced.
3. Audio enhancement
We have seen some instances where an audio system, in concert with a video system, can make schools safer. Some classrooms are using audio enhancement systems - microphones - to make sure the teacher’s voice is clearly heard even in the back of the room. These microphones also have an emergency button if a dangerous situation arises. Say, for example, a fight breaks out in the classroom. The teacher can hit the emergency button, triggering two things. First, the front office is alerted to the conflict. Second, with some systems it can trigger a video camera to turn on and record everything in the classroom.
4. Video as a learning tool
We have installed a video system at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth associated with their healthcare training and education. They have cameras in the exam rooms so teachers can review the students recorded health care visits, to coaching and help students learn in real world situations.
Finally, by putting video surveillance on the network and having software monitoring your surveillance system, our team at Marco can be more proactive about your video surveillance system. We are now working on a tool that lets us know right away when a camera, server or NVR at a client site is down. Our support team gets an email from the network about the outage, and we often know before the client that a surveillance system needs some attention.