Broadening Your CCTV Business Beyond Security
Security professionals know how valuable CCTV systems are to their clients. For some firms, profitability hinges on video security alone. For others, it involves a combination of security and non-security applications. This invariably increases sales opportunities and cash flow.
On the non-security side of the business, there are a multitude of opportunities that security firms should take time to look at. In all of these applications, cameras and recording devices play a significant role. A few examples include scientific research, liability protection, traffic control, animal observation, behavior monitoring and market research.
In many cases, these non-security uses involve the utilization of the same video cameras, DVRs and other video equipment that a typical security company installs on a day-to-day basis. Just as well, non-security-related cameras can also be added to an existing video security system to provide value-added benefits to the mix.
Security dealers and integrators can take advantage of non-security CCTV as a horizontal market. Best of all, there won’t likely be a need to go back to school, as most security pros already have the skills and knowledge needed from their regular security work. There are customers out there just waiting for a contractor to come to them offering not only security, but something more.
Horizontal Markets Offer Additional Income Opportunities
Those who develop non-security video sales opportunities are working to create a diversity of income. This is an excellent solution for those who recognize the need to expand their firm’s income potential.
Diversification of income is, in fact, a good thing, and there are a number of horizontal markets that will lend themselves to this effort. Best of all, moving into non-security video is usually easy because most security firms already possess the necessary skill sets to do it.
At the same time, network technology must be mastered if a traditional security firm intends to enter non-security markets. This is because most of these applications focus on the client’s local area network (LAN). The end result is those who know how to sell video in these venues will naturally position themselves at the forefront of their local and regional market.
Some of these markets are obvious while others are downright creative from a marketing standpoint. Of course, there are some security professionals who would argue that their forte is security, so why bother with non-security markets?
Although this may be a valid point in times of plenty, it is short-sighted from a business standpoint. When a company can diversity using existing skill sets, its primary investment is time.
Monitoring Construction Sites and Public Works Projects
An interesting non-security application for video involves the use of cameras on construction sites. Here, video allows stakeholders to view activities on the site in near real-time, as well as prior activity using recorded video.
The community-oriented use of video for public works projects using the Internet is another way to put video to good use. Dan McKimm, president of ProTech Security of North Canton, Ohio, points out this is especially helpful when the public entity involved wants to convert detractors into allies.
“It allows the public to view their tax dollars at work. Because the camera we use [the M10 by Mobotix of Columbia, S.C.] is digital, all we need is a Category-5 cable, power over Ethernet and access to a [client’s] network,” says McKimm. “When these images are used on the Internet, the camera will actually update the pictures seen on the [client’s] Web site automatically.”
For example, McKimm’s company installed the camera outside a public school. This allowed the general public to view progress on a large construction project at a local high school using the Internet and an ordinary browser. It made for good public relations.
According to Greg Coon, service manager with ProTech Security, authorized school officials can also log into the camera to gain access to a variety of features. One of the most obvious is electronic and mechanical pan/tilt/zoom.
“The advantage of the camera [we use] over other IP-based models is this unit contains all the software needed to control what is viewed,” Coon says. “The best part, all you need is an ordinary browser.”
The camera that ProTech used on this public works job contains a high- and low-resolution image sensor for greater flexibility. School staff can select a range of pixels to view. They also can focus in on small areas using a 4x electronic zoom while maintaining a wide-angle view in a second window.
Another benefit associated with this type of camera is the client doesn’t need to buy a separate DVR. This is because Mobotix’s digital camera is capable of storing images.
“Once the ring buffer becomes full, the camera will FTP images to a network storage server,” says McKimm. “These cameras can even tell when a server is not available or when one is out of order. In that case, it will automatically transfer them to an entirely different server on the network.”
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