Closed circuit television has now become the norm for most hotels, pubs, bars and casinos, not to mention shopping centres and retail outlets.
Such systems have already long been accepted as providing visual security for banks, ATMs, petrol stations and car parks but the accommodation industry is now becoming more reliant on it. This use of surveillance cameras provides a necessary bird’s eye view of customers and staff, protecting businesses, patrons and productivity.
Why use CCTV?
While the reasons for installing CCTV vary between venues, there is no denying that the benefits far outweigh not having surveillance in place. There will always be a few that question the privacy issues, but surveillance in public areas and entrance and exit areas is almost a given for most people today. While cameras and monitors don’t actually provide physical protection unless there is someone on the other end watching the live footage who can direct someone to the scene in case of an emergency, these cameras and monitors do provide a sense of security or peace of mind for people by just knowing that the area has surveillance.
Today we are faced with so many potential situations such as the threat of vandalism and property damage, crime, staff theft, the issue of monitoring staff performance and protection against lawsuits to name a few, and this is where the benefits of having surveillance in place really start to kick in.
Specialist companies can help businesses find their way through the minefield of choices available when it comes to CCTV. These companies are specialists in designing and implementing network infrastructure. Many of these companies have built a solid reputation as total in-house providers, with strong professional teams of project managers, security specialists, cable technicians, computer network engineers, electricians, software developers and experienced consultants to provide training and back-up support.
So where are CCTV cameras most effective?
“Anywhere people can be exposed to danger or temptation, there is a good reason to put in a CCTV camera,” says Costas Georgiou of the Australian-based company Connect IT. He suggests entrances, exits, laneways, stairwells, lifts, car parks, blind spots and high-risk work spaces are all popular choices for surveillance cameras, especially areas such as the kitchen or money- handling areas. Reception areas are also one of the most popular spots for surveillance as they are high traffic areas, where people are always coming and going, and a surveillance camera will often deter loitering and illegal activity.
“There are so many different surveillance options, and systems are normally customised for clients whether they want protection from burglary, theft and shoplifting, work cover claims, fire, or for medical and personal emergencies,” Mr Georgiou says.
Is there a preferred CCTV system and if so, why?
Costas says that in their business there is no particular preferred system over any others, as each system is customised for every venue and business, and can range from budget packages to full IP-based systems. Licensed security system installers will normally carry out security risk surveys at each client’s property, helping them identify areas of concern, which in turn helps identify the best system for them. They will normally do a walk-through of the premises with the client, discussing the wants and needs of the client, and then provide recommendations on the systems most suited to the client’s needs.
Costas says each and every client is different, with many clients wanting to focus on reception areas and surveillance of the tills, while others are more concerned with monitoring staff and their job performance.
“Overall, the CCTV security systems used by hotels and resorts don’t vary too much from those used in airports and major shopping centres. They are all technically the same, the only difference is how the system is configured,” Costas says.
The features are also an important element, and most clients want their CCTV system to be vandal-proof, weather-proof, have infra-red and remote access. Clients also want to easily access data and be able to burn it on to DVD quickly, unlike the old system that used cassette tapes. ‘”Businesses are much more techno-savvy these days and want their systems to be quicker and more effective, and they want to be able to access it from their laptops and mobile phones,” Costas says. “This works well for retail owners and managers, as they can keep an eye on their business and the productivity of staff remotely. Productivity is usually increased when staff know they are being watched. Cameras and monitors can also be a good deterrent against theft, as it means someone is always watching.”
Security specialists can help techno-savvy businesses with setting up multi-web enabled surveillance solutions, which gives bosses, managers and business owners the technology to access their company’s surveillance cameras from anywhere in the world, just by a click of a button and access to the internet.
The use of CCTV security is also important today for businesses to protect themselves against lawsuits, work cover claims and to ensure better insurance premiums. Hotels and other accommodation facilities have so many areas to monitor and large staff numbers, that they need to be able to provide security and protection for staff and guests, and CCTV certainly helps with this.
But how does one choose the best system when there are so many on the market and they are all being upgraded all the time?
What are the benefits in using a CCTV specialist?
Buying through a reputable installer is definitely the best option, as these security specialists are up-to-date with all the new technologies and improvements, and can advise on the most suitable and most cost-effective option.
“With digital technology as it is today, cabling infrastructure is being designed to handle the constant advancements so businesses don’t have to upgrade too often,” Costas says.
“Surveillance cameras are becoming the norm now and the public is more accepting of them, even in homes as it gives people a sense of security.
However, the larger more intricate systems used by big businesses such as hotels, resorts, airports, shopping centres and the like, certainly need to be installed by a professional who can not only make sure a business is using the most suitable surveillance system for their needs, but who can also train them up in how to use the system they have in place.”