Tap Into Security Remotely

Advanced surveillance technologies are mission-critical to the global marketplace

Organizations whose operations span cities, countries and even continents face formidable challenges in their efforts to secure people, property and assets. From limited staff and tight budgets to the logistical complexities of monitoring vast, geographically dispersed properties, organizations need advanced surveillance technologies to help monitor their facilities. What is the solution? Remote monitoring is leading the way in video surveillance with its real-time monitoring applications that connect dispersed locations with a central monitoring station to efficiently secure facilities.

Remote Video Monitoring—Definition and Importance

Remote video monitoring uses IP-based networks to transmit audio and video data to a central monitoring station for alarm verification and action. Using remote video monitoring technology, organizations can monitor disparate facilities 24/7, using a computer or, in some cases, cell phones and other handheld devices to access information remotely.

In today’s global economy of increased saturation, stiff competition and decreased profits, security has just as much to do with the bottom line as it does with protecting people, property and assets. Remote video monitoring provides the ability to watch video from multiple sites and focus on key events and alarms, allowing organizations to more efficiently collaborate and dispatch responders to manage security challenges. With remote video monitoring, organizations from retail to banking, hospitals, schools, airports and seaports, to corporate campuses, critical infrastructure and manufacturing facilities, can leverage security infrastructure investments to help streamline operations, safeguard customers and staff, optimize the workforce, investigate fraud, prevent loss, and protect assets, all from a central facility.

Here are some of the key industries leveraging the benefits of remote monitoring capabilities:

Remote Monitoring for Retail Operations

Loss prevention is paramount to a retailer’s bottom line and is a top concern across the industry. Retail operations are vulnerable targets for theft, robbery and organized crime. As competition increases and profit margins slim, closing the gap on theft is mission-critical. Due to size and tendency to boast multiple locations, retail operations are ideal venues for remote video monitoring.

With the addition of an NVR, a retail surveillance system allows broadcast of captured video to a central monitoring facility. This, in turn, allows retailers to monitor a single camera around-the-clock or a group of cameras from any given store. With its customizable rules-based technology, remote monitoring can help reduce shrink, minimize false alarms, safeguard employees and protect assets, all based upon a single store’s configuration and requirements.

In addition to its benefits in preventing theft and shoplifting, remote video monitoring provides 24/7 site monitoring with the use of virtual guard tours. This feature is effective in safeguarding larger retail outlets and warehouses that are targets for after-hours burglary.

Remote monitoring has quickly proven itself as a valuable tool for big-box retail operations, stores with multiple locations and franchises. The advent of this networked technology helps protect the retail industry’s bottom line, enabling stores to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace and allowing staffs to focus on retaining satisfied, loyal customers.

Remote Monitoring for Infrastructure

Enterprise and critical infrastructure organizations of all sizes can benefit from centrally managed video surveillance systems. When security staff are prepared, informed and ready to react to a potential threat, they are positioned to adequately protect the safety, security and operational efficiency of the business.

Deploying remote video monitoring systems is ideal for operations that seek to secure multiple, mission-critical locations and gain the following benefits:

  • Make the most of limited budgets and on-site security staff.
  • Secure geographically dispersed sites, perimeters, and properties that are impracticable or too costly to patrol or monitor locally.
  • Leverage intelligence from an array of disparate security and business systems for greater situational awareness and more proactive, effective security.
  • Rapidly detect potential problems and emergency situations, notify the appropriate agencies and first responders, and initiate policy-based action.
  • Reliably record activity, comply with recording retention requirements, and export recordings for use by other agencies, whether for legal proceedings, or to mitigate liability and risk.

Remote Monitoring for Financial Organizations

Banks and financial organizations around the world face new challenges and obstacles as fraudulent activity continues to evolve. However, security is complex for banks and financial centers, which may operate wide networks of branches and standalone ATM kiosks. Leveraging the power of remote video monitoring can help financial institutions worldwide reduce liability and risk, safeguard assets and comply with regulations— all while ensuring profitability and retaining loyal customers.

In the banking sector, security staffs maintain the responsibility for protecting a large number of small sites. With its vast geographic footprint, the majority of retail bank branch recorded video must be reviewed remotely by investigative teams. This creates a unique challenge for security staff—recording and archiving video on-site while making it accessible for remote viewing and investigative review.

The evolution of analog systems to network-based systems that allow remote monitoring has greatly improved the financial industry’s ability to detect security breaches, deliver video and data across the enterprise and quickly provide outside agencies the information

A Real-Time Look at Remote Monitoring

The Port of Los Angeles encompasses 7,500 acres, features 43 miles of waterfront and 27 cargo terminals. Safeguarding miles of waterfront and multiple land-based facilities can be a daunting task. Prior to 2006, the port operated with a few analog cameras across the expansive grounds.

Leveraging funding from the Port Security Grant Program, officials designed a new security system that would upgrade a disparate system into an integrated solution. After an extensive evaluation process, the organization selected the Nextiva IP video portfolio from Verint Video Intelligence Solutions, including Nextiva Video Management software, integrated analytics, encoders/decoders and wireless devices. In order to implement the new security platform, the port officials worked in phases to deploy first the most important elements.

The video solution integrates with more than 350 third-party cameras to monitor highly critical areas. Captured data is then transmitted to a state-of the-art Threat Detection Center (TDC) for central monitoring. Today, the port secures its expansive waterfront and perimeters by creating custom detection rules with Nextiva Analytics that secure tangible and virtual perimeters or borders.

In 2007-2008, port police implemented geographic information system (GIS) technology in support of its security initiatives. Integrated with video management software and third-party cameras, port officials are able to leverage the enterprise GIS system so that staff in the TDC can pinpoint locations of their first responders in the field while having a complete view of activities.

In the final phase, the port searched for a solution that would support field personnel in responding to real-time emergency situations and provide the right information to the right people at the right time. In 2010, the port deployed a solution that delivers clear transmission of high-quality images to any authorized smartphone or handheld computer. This innovative measure ensured that an officer could view real-time images being shared between the field and the TDC.

For the Port of Los Angeles, central monitoring at the TDC—combined with the use of innovative technology—enhances situational awareness around its properties and transforms what used to be a manual, resource-intensive operation to an efficient, accurate, automated process.

Remote Accessibility

The ubiquity of IP networks combined with advanced security hardware and software deliver the benefits of remote monitoring. The following sections describe the specific requirements that the various components of a remote monitoring system should possess to deliver the corresponding benefits.

Video management software is a key component of any remote monitoring solution. It’s the software that provides the tools to ensure that video is available for viewing, provides event identification and verification, analyzes content, and allows for multi-agency collaboration to expedite investigations. While most organizations can access remote video viewing via standard Web browsers, a comprehensive video management software platform helps ensure maximum system uptime and increased situational awareness.

In any environment, video management software is essential for capturing and viewing video. It can provide authorized users with the ability to monitor and share live and recorded video across networks, geographical boundaries and time zones. And, it can give organizations the flexibility to create a monitoring infrastructure that best suits its needs, whether that is to centralize all monitoring in a single control center or implement cross-site and remote monitoring.

Information Management Solutions

Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) systems capture and fuse information from a variety of security, safety and enterprise systems. These systems enable users to view and analyze information to more quickly and efficiently identify situations and persons of interest and initiate rapid, effective response, often in collaboration with first responders and outside agencies.

Organizations can use PSIM solutions to monitor their security environment, plan and execute efficient responses to events, and review recorded event logs for audit/regulatory compliance and future planning. By consolidating security system planning and monitoring and providing standard operating procedures and reporting, PSIM systems enable organizations to improve the speed, efficiency and intelligence of responses while reducing costs and minimizing compliance risks.

Network Video Recorders

Although IP video software provides live viewing, recording, and retrieval of video, some organizations are turning to more advanced NVR platforms that can offer simultaneous viewing of multiple cameras and multiple recording modes. Versatile network video recorders help capture high-quality video images and interface with a variety of security and business systems. This interoperability provides organizations with a more complete view of remote events and operations and a more efficient, time-saving approach to security and operational efficiency.

Using NVRs to capture camera feeds is not enough. It is important to find complementary video management software that helps centrally configure, view, manage and monitor the functioning of NVRs enterprise wide. By simplifying video system administration and viewing, these software applications can help reinforce operational standards and uniformity in dispersed operations.

IP Cameras

IP cameras provide the visual cues as to what activities are happening in what locations. Being able to pull multiple streams at different frame rates of video helps organizations with increased situational awareness to more promptly and effectively respond to threats. Additionally, comprehensive video management software applications provide automatic camera detection and configuration, centralized administration and management, and automated, system- wide camera health monitoring, diagnostics, and alerts. With a wide array of fixed, PTZ, PTZ dome, vandalproof and outdoor IP camera options available on the market, IP cameras have become a cost-effective option for security systems.

The increased application of remote monitoring technology across enterprise operations is critical to managing and mitigating loss, protecting assets, increasing operational efficiency, detecting threats, and safeguarding people and property. As organizations become more aware of the benefits of remote video monitoring, they will be better positioned to combat threats, theft, error and liability that can span billions of dollars and precious resources.

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Security Today.


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