Report: 68 percent want to use security cameras for operational improvement

Top ways companies want to use video are to increase sales, employee productivity, liability protection
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas—More than two-thirds of companies plan to use video surveillance security systems for operations improvement as well as security in the future, according to a new report released June 25.

That finding of the report, sponsored by cloud-based VMS provider Eagle Eye Networks and conducted by an independent research firm LaunchM, was “amazing and astounding,” said Eagle Eye President and CEO Dean Drako.

“They want to know, ‘How do I use [surveillance cameras] for more than forensic security?’ We were very impressed by that quantity,” Drako said.

Leveraging security cameras was a motivator for Drako to start his own company, knowing cameras “could do so much more,” he said. Still, he was surprised to see that 68 percent of the 250 to 500 professionals who participated in blind, anonymous online surveys from late 2013 to through April 2014 also had that in mind. “I didn’t have any idea.”

Participants’ job functions included management, IT, general security and operations.  Ten percent of respondents were resellers or installers.

The number of respondents who said that after their next upgrade they planned to use their video surveillance systems for business operations improvement was more than twice the number who planned to continue using their systems only for protection, according to the report.

The two top areas for expanding camera use were “improving sales or customer service,” 51 percent, and “managing general employee productivity,” 44 percent. Other reasons were “analyzing customer behavior/patterns, 32 percent; “reducing injury risk,” 30 percent; and “get compliance with process or work hours,” 17 percent. Respondents were allowed to select two choices.

Using cameras for more than just security is not a new idea, but it has been cumbersome to do so in the past, Drako said.

“There has always been a strong desire to use it, but it was too hard. I was talking to someone last week, and they have a whole set of cameras to do security, but they’re basically installing a new set of cameras to do [customer] traffic patterns. That’s just silly,” he said.

That potential customer didn’t know there could be a system that could do both, he said. “It’s about taking video out of the back room and putting it into your back pocket.”

That should be a wake-up call for the physical security industry, Drako said. “There’s a real opportunity here. There’s a need for understanding of cameras and their maintenance, care and feeding and making it all work. Physical security teams have that understanding.”

Of the 250 respondents in the report’s cloud video surveillance surveys, 44 percent they said wanted to deploy a mix of both on-premise and cloud recording. “They want flexibility,” Drako said. They don’t want to be constrained.”

Thirty-five percent favored on-premise recording only, and 21 percent preferred cloud only.

Survey findings also show that integrators need to become more comfortable with IP cameras, he said. “They need to get more on the bandwagon … and become experts in that area” rather than outsource it, he said.

Surveys also focused on IT teams’ role in video surveillance, with 58 percent of those professionals saying they were involved in some way, including selection, installation and support, storage and video data analytics.