Leveraging Security as a Business Efficiency Tool

Advancements in video analytics and systems integration are helping end users achieve newfound applications for their security systems, yielding a greater ROI for the entire organization. Find out how data gathered from security technologies is providing operational improvements across a spectrum of industries.

Technology is evolving in ways that could not have been anticipated. Less than seven years ago, who would have thought that a cellphone would go from having the singular purpose of making and receiving calls to being used for everything from filming videos to mobile banking? Today’s smartphone is a visible and easily understandable example of how technology is advancing and how people can leverage technology to cross over into entirely new areas of activity.

Traditional security technology is also crossing over into new applications. For integrators, understanding these applications is the first step to creating new business opportunities. Security technology is specifically designed to constantly monitor and collect information about the environment it protects and the people within it. Whether it’s through video surveillance, video analytics (VA) applications, access control or physical security information management (PSIM) systems that fuse data from many security systems, a massive amount of data — Big Data — is captured and recorded.

Big Data can be invaluable to an organization. For example, more than just knowing when and where a person or persons entered a given location, the data can provide details such as how long they stayed in each area and what they did while there. Beyond enabling better security, this kind of intelligence can empower organizations to make better decisions, operate more efficiently and positively impact the bottom line.

Let’s take an up-close look at some of the vertical markets where traditional security technologies are being combined with the likes of VA and PSIM to achieve operational improvements across the organization.

PSIM in Public Transportation

As early adopters of security technology, the public transportation sector has been using captured video surveillance footage in a variety of ways through the years. With onboard video, a public transport operator can check a driver’s safety adherence. Even legal departments have reaped the benefits by successfully disputing fraudulent claims with recorded, timestamped video, averting potentially massive payouts.

These are early examples of how security technology has provided operational benefits. Now with the emergence of PSIM solutions, public transportation is again innovating new operational uses of security technology.

Given the amount of information a deployed PSIM can capture, almost limitless possibilities have emerged with new applications being developed by systems integrators, vendors and end users alike. Considering all of the aspects that PSIM can do — integrating different systems, correlating alerts and incidents, creating a complete picture of an environment, providing a platform to consistently manage events and record their resolution — cross-departmental uses are inevitable. For example, public transport operators have begun leveraging PSIM to improve customer satisfaction in an increasingly competitive market.

In the case of a Russian high-speed train operator, its PSIM solution is used to monitor all aspects of operations in real-time, including passenger service. By integrating a video analytics-based crowd detection application, the PSIM system lets operators know when there is excessive congestion at any of their service or access points. This allows the operator to address the situation immediately and provide a better travel experience, an important differentiator in a highly competitive market.

The same operator is also using PSIM to facilitate a range of operational improvements by tracking and documenting maintenance issues, regulatory compliance violations and incidents that require assistance from external agencies.Video analytics (VA) applications are being used in the retail industry to analyze shoppers’ behavior toward specific displays. A retailer can determine where shoppers are congregating (or not) and how much time they are spending in each area. Photo: ©istockphoto.com

Airports Boost Revenues With Security Technology

Another example of how PSIM is being leveraged outside its primary scope comes from a driverless sky train operator in a large international airport. While the operator also uses the PSIM system for security, the primary purpose of the system is to ensure that any technical, mechanical or operational incidents are identified and resolved in the shortest time possible.

Timely response is critical because the operator is bound to a service level agreement that stipulates very high levels of availability and substantial fines are imposed if the service levels are not met. Using the PSIM solution, the operator is able to respond faster to incidents, minimizing downtime and financial exposure.

Airports are another environment where security technology is used for operational, commercial and service improvements. Many airports now generate the majority of their income from commercial activities. Given this and the fact that travelers have more choice than ever as to which airport they travel to and from, the ability to provide consistently positive customer experiences has become a competitive advantage.

Research has shown that a relaxed, happy traveler with ample time will spend more money while waiting for their flight. This better travel experience starts with the time it takes for a traveler to check in and go through all of the required procedures. With video analytics that identify long queue formations, airlines are able to open new service lines when needed. Overcrowding can be avoided or quickly disbursed with the help of crowd-formation detection VA applications.

These applications don’t just address service issues as they happen. Over time, airports and airlines can analyze this information to optimize staffing, making it more efficient and cost effective while improving the passenger’s experience.

In commercial areas, airports can also use heat maps to determine where people tend to congregate. In turn, those responsible can demonstrate to occupants or potential ones, where the prime locations are and even charge premium lease rates accordingly. Variations of these applications can be used in similar environments such as stadiums and large entertainment venues, where customer satisfaction and efficient operations are required.

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