Building a world-class video surveillance system requires careful planning and foresight to meet the needs of the end user. Yet, delivering on those needs poses significant challenges as there are multiple considerations to be addressed.
Every detail from the number of pixels, level of automation and staffing all must be discussed before planning the system itself. In addition, all parties must be careful to avoid common pitfalls that can lead to the failure of a project.
Here are three problems that often occur while planning a surveillance system.
Site references – Be careful in placing too much value in requesting references for end-users that are in the same industry as the site being considered. While references are certainly important, understand that reference sites of a similar size and with similar needs are more important than sites in the same industry. Just because a manufacturer or integrator has had a few successes in the same industry does not mean that they’ll do a great job.
Conversely, just because they don’t have references in your industry doesn’t mean they won’t be a great partner and provide a superior solution. Look for an integrator and manufacturer that take the time to understand the application and its assets and limitations, who communicate a thorough understanding, and have a history of working together to provide a solution that meets the end-user’s needs.
Manufacturers who are willing to meet frequently with the integrator and the end-user from the system design phase to RFQ through post-installation, and who have sufficient resources to back up that willingness, are the ones that should be the most strongly considered.
Example video from other sites – Along with reference requests comes putting too much weight on “application video” or video provided by manufacturers from similar sites. Understand that most end-users don’t want to provide video from their sites for use outside their four walls.
So it’s not that manufacturers don’t want that library of videos, it’s that it’s generally inaccessible to them. Additionally, there are many variables that determine what makes video “look good,” so just because it looks good in the cherry-picked examples provided by a given manufacturer, that in no way guarantees that the next project will have the same results. Asking for demonstrations at the site being considered is the best way to experience firsthand what type of video quality can be expected.
Unneeded tech and useless specs – Does the system actually need IPv6 or is it in the spec because an over-anxious architect wanted to cover the bases? Does every camera need to have cutting-edge low-light performance or are some of them mounted in areas that have 24/7 illumination?
Does the spec call for 60 days of storage retention, but the customer only needs 30? Does the site really need high-resolution cameras at every spot or are some of them mounted in areas where lower resolution cameras will do the job? Specifying what’s needed is very important, but avoiding ‘over specifying’ is just as important.
Every customer wants a perfect system, and they should get it. The challenge is to understand what is needed, what the challenges are, and what problems the customer is trying to solve. Achieving this, and responding with a system that meets those needs, is what separates success from disappointment.
By avoiding the pitfalls that often occur when planning a surveillance system, you can ensure a smooth implementation while giving customers the perfect solution they deserve.