With the UK in the grip of a major economic downturn, businesses and public services are looking at ways in which they can become more cost effective.
Local papers and trade press are often full of headlines about changes to security budgets, yet many councillors and directors decide that it is a false economy to cut spending on CCTV systems and intruder alarms during tough times.
Instead they look to utilise the latest technology to ensure that they get the most value for money out of their security systems.
The UK has more CCTV cameras per person than anywhere else in the whole of Europe. Video surveillance is extremely popular with people looking to protect themselves and their assets, but the rise of wireless networks and IP-based cameras in the past few years is changing the face of CCTV security.
It may be a few years yet before the full cost-saving advantages of the emerging technology are fully realised, but the benefits of IP solutions over historic analogue systems are already apparent to many money-savvy businesses and organisations.
The key plus points are:
1) With wireless CCTV, the days of massive investment and ever-depreciating assets are over. The latest camera technologies are supplied with enhanced storage and review capabilities, while the systems can be updated via simple firmware upgrades as opposed to hardware changes.
2) The new technology is very easy to set up and deploy - and redeploy. Older analogue cameras often required huge infrastructural changes to a property, but new wireless cameras can be added seamlessly. Furthermore, they can be added to a whole security infrastructure with the minimum of fuss. Great Yarmouth Borough Council recently combined its new wireless CCTV system with public Wi-Fi on the high street to save thousands of pounds.
These savings are not only financial and the increased flexibility of CCTV has greatly benefitted emergency services, allowing them to respond to threats on an ad-hoc basis.
3) CCTV systems can be upgraded to IP-based ones as and when they are needed. Gradually introducing them this way and using a hybrid system for a temporary period can really help manage cash flow. This evolutionary approach to the change will also surprise businesses who may have become used to the high up-front costs associated with analogue systems. Furthermore, there is never any ‘rip out and replace’ wastage required.
4) This is often overlooked, but it is a key component of value for money - IP-based systems are a higher quality product. They produce images of a much higher resolution and can therefore offer up better evidence to law enforcement officers who may be investigating any crimes that have been committed on a group's property. Also as they can easily be integrated with other technologies, it is simple enough to turn a wireless camera into a device that is capable of monitoring other operations. Footfall software is just one example that may become widespread in years to come.