Watch Your Customer’s Back With Remote Video
Leaps in technology and affordability associated with video, networking and mobile devices have greatly expanded the feasibility, demand and opportunities of remotely viewed surveillance video. Learn the steps to bring your clients the solutions they need to more effectively manage safety and operations.
How can you help your customers defy the laws of physics and be in two places at once? With simple remote video solutions. These video surveillance applications can make your customers’ business operations more efficient and perhaps streamline maintenance responses. ©iStockphoto.com/Lise Gagne
Remote viewing isn’t new. It has been around since the 1970s when the government funded the $20 million “StarGate” project to research paranormal powers for viewing objects that could not be seen with “normal” technology.
Fast-forward 25 years and paranormal becomes normal when companies like IQinVision and Axis Communications make IP video appliances a reality and pioneer commercially viable products. Add LAN and WLAN connectivity and the only limitations were your engineering capabilities and the imagination of your sales team. Welcome to the world of “many-to-many” video applications.
Today, the interesting technologies that do video content analysis (VCA) are fun but require several more levels of technological and business application knowledge to apply effectively. So let’s leave them be for this article and focus on the basics of what remote viewing represents for you, the installing security integrator, and your clients.
Help Clients Cover More Ground
Simple remote video applications can make your customer’s business operations more efficient and perhaps streamline maintenance responses. These are two good reasons to think about remote video viewing solutions. The trends that support this assertion are:
- Video technology, appliances and applications have improved dramatically the past eight years.
- Communication technology, reliability, lower data costs have driven adoption rates.
- Mobile video and communication technologies delivered on smartphones is driving accessibility of video data in new and more flexible ways.
Understanding a few basic principles will clarify how these three factors have converged to make remote viewing of video practical and mainstream for businesses. The first step is to define why your customer would want to remotely view video. Here are a few reasons:
- How much “unproductive” time does your customer spend a day away from their business?
- Is customer service a concern when the owner is not on the premises?
- How is training provided for employees and how is it audited for compliance?
- Compliance to safety regulations and training should be periodically monitored.
So how can you help your customers defy the laws of physics and be in two places at once? With simple remote video solutions. This is perfectly legitimate if their normal routine of business includes lots of driving around to check on remote facilities, stores, people or processes. Gas isn’t cheap and neither is their time. The logical answer to pragmatic travel routines is using remote video to confirm you must travel due to an event or exception. It will also help to plan the right response or bring the right tools and people with you.
If ‘Push’ Comes to Shove, Try the ‘Pull’ Approach
Remote video viewing can be delivered in two basic ways.
The first solution is the more expensive option. Video “push” is when an intelligent video platform — either camera, video recorder or network appliance (the operative word being network, not analog) —automatically sends or “pushes” video to different assigned IP addresses based on a set of predetermined rules that you establish during the customer configuration phase.
An example might be, “send me a picture and site address if the light level drops below a certain threshold around an outside ATM.” This could be very handy in California where noncompliance carries fines, and lawsuits carry bigger material losses. Who would be on the “push” list? Start with your maintenance response team or perhaps a third-party service team. Then include a supervisor to audit compliance and costs that would result from a service call.
The bottom line is you are addressing a business operational situation and mitigating exposure to liability in new, more cost-effective ways.
The second option is the least expensive approach and a great way to “introduce” customers to the value of remote video viewing. The video “pull” is certainly more common with the obvious example being youtube.com that we all visit for information and entertainment purposes. In a video “pull” environment we can demand and view video streams based on our computer or smartphone processing power, bandwidth and communication speeds. As a very general rule, “pull” video takes more time, is simpler, cheaper and less sophisticated than “push” video.
Extending your customer’s security and business management reach with remote view video solutions can be a smart move. The vast majority of current video installations are “darkroom” systems that are not actively being monitored in real-time. That requires dedicated personnel that most medium to lower risk facilities simply cannot afford. The systems are used to investigate details of an event after the fact. Being able to “pull” video from these systems remotely in real-time can save time and significantly improve decision making, training and safety compliance.
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