5 ways to enhance the use of CCTV in the workplace

Having a CCTV system in the workplace can deliver a multitude of benefits, from deterring break-ins to helping staff feel more confident going about their jobs and enhancing Health and Safety practices. However, getting the most out of a CCTV system requires more than just installing cameras. 

In today’s modern world, there is more to a sophisticated CCTV system than just cameras. Are you getting the most out of your system and integrations? Are all stakeholders getting the security reassure they need that their buildings, assets and people are safe?

Here’s how the effectiveness of CCTV in the workplace can be enhanced:

1. Remote monitoring

Gone are the days where operators would need to sit in front of the CCTV control station to view CCTV footage. Remote CCTV monitoring gives business owners the peace of mind that their site is being monitored 24/7 by security experts.

A monitored system means you can respond to security threats in real-time and potentially prevent an incident from occurring. If an intruder or other unusual activity is detected by the CCTV system, an alarm is sent to the remote monitoring station. Operators are then able to respond right away and take immediate action if necessary. They will notify the police and the key holder for the building. 

An audio warning can be issued to let the intruder know they are being monitored and recorded. If the premises are still at risk, the operators can update the police.

Thanks to advancements in technology, it is even possible to stay connected to monitor CCTV through your smartphone. CCTV monitoring software allows authorised users to receive notifications on their smartphones whenever certain incidents occur, including movement within a defined area if motion detectors or smart video analytics have been included in the installation. All the footage recorded is uploaded to and accessible from the cloud, so it can be viewed from anywhere at any time. 

Remote monitoring can save businesses thousands of pounds in potential losses from theft or other criminal activity. It helps to provide building operators and business owners with the peace of mind that their premises are secure 24/7.

2. Video analytics

Video analytics can improve the overall effectiveness of a CCTV system. It is a powerful means of identifying and detecting intruders, tracking people or objects, and issuing an alarm on types of behaviours. For example, it can detect if an individual is loitering near the entrance of the building, an indication that a break-in is about to happen. 

Video streams are monitored in near real-time and an alert is automatically created, signalling to operators that a security breach may be about to occur. Operators can then continue to track and monitor movement, for example, by using a pan, tilt and zoom camera to follow an intruder as they move around (many modern cameras are able to do this automatically thereby keeping the intruder in the field of view).

There are two common types of video analytics. Both attempt to determine if an unwanted or suspicious behaviour is occurring in the field of view of the camera:

  • Fixed algorithm analytics - These systems are designed to look for a specific behaviour, such as crossing a line, moving in the wrong direction down a corridor, leaving an object, picking up an object, or loitering.
  • Artificial intelligence learning algorithms - After connecting to a camera for several weeks, these systems will learn what a ‘normal image’ for the camera is at all hours of the day and night, and will start to issue alerts and alarms on behaviour that is not consistent with what it has seen before during that time on that day of the week.

Video analytics can also be used for analysing historical data to identify any specific incidents or patterns. 

3. Facial recognition technology

The use of modern CCTV technology extends beyond video surveillance. Integrated facial recognition systems can be used to automatically regulate entry to a building or protected areas within the building. They can even function as a time recording system for businesses needing to know when their employees have ‘clocked on’ and ‘clocked off’.

4. Systems integration

The list of applications a CCTV system can be installed with are almost endless, including access control, point of sale software and intrusion detection, to name a few.  

For example, integrating CCTV with access control at speed lanes offers added security for a building. Video analytics can also be put in place so that if any movement is detected across the walls on either side of the lanes, it signals a discreet alarm back to reception for further investigation. If an incident occurs, camera footage can be used to identify the intruder and aid in any investigations.

5. Regular maintenance

CCTV systems should be regularly maintained to ensure they are working as they should be. When it comes to maintaining the CCTV cameras themselves, things to look out for include: 

  • Is anything obscuring the field of view of the lens?
  • Is there a build-up of dust or dirt that could be prohibiting performance? This is a common issue in city and town centre environments where airborne pollution settles on the lens or dome of the camera.
  • Is the lens focused and fully functioning?
  • Is the camera firmly attached to the wall or post?
  • Is the motion detection working?

As well as the cameras, it is important to check out all the elements of the CCTV system including monitors, switches and local recording equipment - along with any remote communication facilities such as an IP network and broadband connection.

The quality of the image on the monitor must be clear and the brightness and contrast settings adjusted correctly.

The use of CCTV in the workplace can help protect a building from intruders and criminal damage that can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage, threaten the safety of occupants and potentially cause reputational damage to the company.

To enhance the effectiveness of the CCTV system, it’s important to consider remote monitoring and video analytics, so that you can be alerted of any suspicious activity in real-time. The use of facial recognition technology and integrating with other systems including access control can also provide you with enhanced protection. Finally, it is important to ensure all cameras are regularly maintained so that they are fit for purpose and compliant.

Guide to Office Fit-Out

Dan Bradding
Written by Dan Bradding

Dan is a systems integration specialist and Director at Ace Fire and Security.