What you need to keep in mind when installing CCTV for purposes other than security

Systems control - CCTV for other purposes

I recently wrote a blog on the possibility of remote facilities management being another use for CCTV. But it got me thinking – what other issues should we consider when we start using CCTV for reasons other than security?

Of course, we’re not installers here at Farsight. We leave that bit down to you! But we do know what helps us monitor CCTV used in capacities outside of the standard security quota.

Hopefully this blog will be a handy resource if you ever come round to installing CCTV for reasons other security. We love the list of examples provided in Mike Constants’ book The Principles & Practice of CCTV:

  • Monitoring traffic on a bridge.
  • Recording the inside of a baking oven to find the cause of problems.
  • A temporary system to carry out a traffic survey in a town centre.
  • Time lapse recording for the animation of plasticine puppets.
  • Used by the stage manager of a show to see obscured parts of a set.
  • The well-publicised use at football stadiums.
  • Hidden in buses to control vandalism.
  • Recording the birth of a gorilla at a zoo.
  • Making a wildlife program using a large model helicopter.
  • Reproducing the infrared vision of a goldfish!
  • Aerial photography from a hot air balloon.
  • Production control in a factory.

That’s a pretty impressive list of uses for CCTV. Add to that list the growing trend for using CCTV as a tool to help aid management of sites and facilities remotely and there are a lot of extra bits and pieces for installers to be keeping in mind.

Here are a few tips, which when kept in mind really help us later down the line:

1. Keep in mind the objectives

Simple objectives such as “I want to protect my site from intruders” are easy to refer to when completing an installation. Undoubtedly you’ve probably installed hundreds security systems on that basis.

But when the objectives are little more ‘out of the norm’ it’s just a crucial that they stay at the forefront of your mind. For example, perhaps an end-user specifically wants CCTV installed to provide visual verification of a fire (read more about CCTV for fire protection here). In this instance it’s important that the system is geared towards fire detection – consider whether smoke will be identifiable with the specific cameras you’ve chosen and whether high-risk areas are covered.

Remember to communicate this specific objective to the remote monitoring station – they may think that intelligent video analytics is advisable because it allows them to trace the spread of a fire. They may also think it’s a necessity to install remote building control too, so they control the building to minimise the spread of the fire (such as activating sprinklers, or ensuring fire doors are shut).

2. Remember the regulations

Whenever CCTV is being used – whether it’s as wearable tech, personal CCTV, for corporate sites or residential areas – there are still a set of guidelines that you’ll need to comply with. You’ll know how the regulations correspond to using CCTV for intruder protection, but remember that they apply to using CCTV for other purposes too.

In fact, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner has recently released a self-assessment tool to help organisations double check they’re fully complying with regulations. Read it here.

3. Swat up on what equipment is right

PSi Magazine recently published an article: CCTV combats false injury claims. It’s an interesting read that covers Hadrian Technology completing an installation geared specifically towards law suits against a retail distribution centre whilst keeping in mind their need to avoid building works and serious disruption.

A big part of the installation was the technology chosen, specifically to help achieve the objectives. Although perhaps the installation wasn’t that different from the standard security focussed CCTV installation, the important point is that the way they geared it towards the objectives meant they potentially made the business their money back within six months.

4. Keep the remote monitoring station in mind

I’ve already mentioned how key it is to ensure the remote monitoring station is fully aware of the objectives for the installation. But when you’re designing and implementing the system, try and consider how the installation will work for the remote monitoring and alarm receiving station too.

Consider if the lighting is sufficient for the remote monitoring station to achieve the objectives? If video analytics be introduced? Perhaps even the need for integrated systems that go beyond CCTV?

Of course, once an installation is completed there will still need to be ongoing maintenance. So in the future there will probably be a different set of maintenance needs too. But perhaps that’s a different blog post all together!

Have you ever installed a CCTV system for purposes other than straightforward security? It would be great to hear about a few more examples!