The British Institute of Facilities Management published their Research Project “Survey of Facilities Managers’ Responsibilities” revealing that 70% of its members had direct responsibility for security. This function ranked as the fourth most significant activity under Facilities Management control, with the survey identifying total security spending amongst the Institutes members of £550 million.
It is recognised that Facilities Managers play a vital role in the procurement and management of security solutions; however, it is evident that, despite the relative importance of security, many Facilities Managers have little knowledge of the possibilities afforded by electronic security systems and the tangible benefits that exist.
The complexities of such electronic security systems and lack of client knowledge makes those responsible for the selection of suitable contractors and award of such contracts, ideal targets for the unscrupulous elements within the industry. Sharp practice is regrettably rife and whilst one stop shopping often appears an attractive solution, there are inherent dangers in a single contractor becoming responsible for system design, installation, commissioning and maintenance. All too often such service providers see opportunities to over specify and under deliver, in the face of a poorly prepared client.
Experience has shown that remote video surveillance systems can achieve payback of the capital expenditure against manned guarding costs within the first year, delivering savings of up to 80% over five years. With the improved levels of security that such systems offer and the reduced management overhead, clearly there are significant financial savings to be made. Further topical drivers for the implementation of such systems are the working time directive, National insurance increases and regulatory changes all of which are combining to increase the cost of manned guarding still further. None-the-less the above is not a given and it is wise to obtain specialist, independent advice before spending what could be many thousands of pounds.
The concept of remote video surveillance is relatively simple. The client premises are protected by detection devices, which are set to activate when an intruder is present. CCTV cameras are associated with the detection devices, and both cameras and detectors are linked to a transmission system, which is in turn connected by the internet/telephone/mobile phone networks to a central receiving station. Upon activation of a detector, the image from the associated camera is transmitted electronically to the central station.
The central station is able to monitor activity on site with near real time video images. The ability of the central station to visually verify unauthorised activity is of enormous benefit to the police, who are called only to actual incidents as opposed to the “blind” events generated by standard intruder alarm systems. The addition of speak to site audio, giving the central station the ability to warn off potential intruders, provides a deterrent for the majority of incidents.
Whilst not always a panacea to the replacement of manned guards, remote video surveillance has the advantage of being able to monitor the entire site continually. Transmission systems also benefit from hard disk storage of images, which can be accessed remotely by the central station to provide historic information of site activity. Using additional equipment, remote building management is possible, with the central station being able to open gates and barriers, switch on lighting and monitor internal intruder alarms and building management systems.
In some situations, remote video monitoring offers a cost effective, reliable and proven high technology alternative to manned guarding. Flexible, tailor made solutions are available to suit the customer’s requirements.
A quality Remote Monitoring Station should be able to provide:
- Alarm interface monitoring to BS8418 Standard
- Fault escalation to client/maintainer/network provider
- Live time verification and recording of events
- Personal attack assistance
- Remote access control
- Camera patrols
- Remote entry/exit control speech system
- Remote gate/barrier control
- Remote set/unset of system
- Video copy of incidents
- Fire exit monitoring 24/7
If you would like to know more about how Remote Monitoring can help your company please contact us.