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CCTV – Frequently Asked Questions

Managing the safety and security of your facilities and the people that use them can be a complex task. However, the latest CCTV technologies can help provide round-the-clock monitoring with real-time data capture and playback options.

Here, Lynden Jones our Managing Director, explains everything you need to know about CCTV and how it can help you safeguard your people and assets effectively.

People think CCTV is all about crime prevention, but it’s much more than this isn’t it?

It’s true that crime prevention is one of the main drivers for companies to invest in CCTV, but there are plenty of other reasons why you might employ the technology. These range from the safety of your employees, clients and visitors, through keeping an eye on health and safety such as on manufacturing plants, to protecting your stock.

What are the top reasons companies adopt CCTV?

Safety is a big priority for a lot of companies and CCTV is a very useful tool to have. For instance, university campuses like to deploy it to keep students safe as they cross the site, particularly at night. Universities can have upwards of 700 cameras to survey a 60+ acre site. The goal is to provide 90%+ coverage to significantly improve the ‘eyes and ears’ of the security team and the overall confidence students have in safety. We worked with Aston University to do just that, using over 550 cameras across their campus

Similarly, hospitals such as Kidderminster Hospital have CCTV in place to ensure staff safety or for exceptional circumstances where prisoner patients are admitted for example.

Then there are more industrial uses. Manufacturers use cameras to maintain high levels of health and safety by ensuring machinery isn’t causing a risk, and that operators working on their own are safe.

It’s also useful for managing people flows. We work with a number of private and public companies that use it in their foyers to help manage who is coming in and out of their buildings, including The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT). In the same way, they use it on gates to manage what vehicles are entering and leaving their site. This can also be useful if there is an incident because management teams can track back and piece together a train of events to establish what happened and prevent it from happening again.

We’ve also worked with companies that need to keep products safe. Persimmon Homes produces material that is stored outside, so their own factory is likely to be targeted by criminals or opportunists. Using a thermal imaging curtain around the site, system alerts are sent to the management teams and remote monitoring partner when there is unusual activity and the curtain is breached. It also monitors trucks coming in and going off-site.

Are different CCTV technologies better suited to different scenarios?

Yes definitely. If you have a main back and front door then static cameras that trap the comings and goings are ideal. These tend to be suited to situations where you won’t have a security team monitoring the activity. In these cases, an IT manager or system owner is alerted that something has happened, and they can review or remotely access the system to see what has caused the flag.

However, if you have a more complex site to manage, like a shopping centre or university campus for example, then you will want cameras that an operations team can pan, tilt and zoom in real-time. It allows a security team to focus on activity and prevent incidents or intervene as they happen.

Finally, thermal imaging cameras are very useful if you have a site where there may be night-time activity. We talked about the use of thermal cameras to create a perimeter that when crossed triggers an alert, when they are combined with static cameras you can build a more complete record of what is happening at various points on the site to ensure maximum surveillance.

If you would like more information on different camera types, view our CCTV Buyers Guide.

What are the considerations I need to be aware of when adopting CCTV solutions?

We encourage our clients to consider how they keep their CCTV solutions resilient and free from downtime, so the option of a closed network system is available. That way, if there is a wider network outage, such as the main company network being down, the cameras aren’t affected. This sort of measure, coupled with our NSI Gold Accreditation, ensures that all security systems we install are to the highest NCP104 standard.

How can CCTV be integrated with an existing security system?

Yes, a CCTV can be integrated with existing security systems but can all be installed in conjunction with other IT systems such as access control.

A lot of our clients do introduce access control at the same time. It’s useful to see the records of who has swiped a badge in and out of a building when there is an incident – you can match the badge to the person identified on the camera, or not as the case may be.

We also have instances where cameras and door sensors are linked. For instance, if the sensor on the door of a cashier’s office was triggered a camera would automatically pan and zoom to ensure that door is always monitored in the event of motion.

Are CCTV systems complicated to install / upgrade?

They don’t need to be at all. Some systems due to their size or age can be a large project to upgrade but if planned properly this does not have to mean complicated. With the right project management team, you can have a seamless installation. A staged approach is always best as the site in most cases needs to continue to operate regardless of the change. Working from the most vulnerable and sensitive areas down to the common and well-covered areas is a good start.

A good tip when looking for a CCTV provider is to check their previous works and their installation standards, but also their approach to planning and fitting. They should fully document how they will take on the transition and maintenance thereafter.

Why should I upgrade from an analogue CCTV system?

If the system is analogue then it is probably of an age where a natural upgrade is needed. Quality, efficiency, reliability and sustainability are the common reasons. Many businesses will choose to upgrade to IP-based CCTV to get much better resolution so things are easy to spot as well as better compression rates so you can store more images and built-in analytics with features such as people counting.

Do you need to be aware of any specific legislation when adopting a CCTV solution?

If you are filming using a CCTV system then people need to be aware of it so make sure your business complies with all aspects of the law, and that you inform the Information Commissioner’s Office. GDPR is another important consideration, especially when it comes to the length of file storage and retrieval within 30 days if someone requests to see it. Our specialist team can advise you on legal CCTV compliance, as well as the most suitable solutions for your organisation and its unique security needs.

Do I need a CCTV survey?

A CCTV survey is a site visit carried out by a professional security systems provider to get an in-depth understanding of the business requirements, objectives and identify potential challenges. We recommend anyone looking to deploy a new CCTV system or upgrade their current security measures to commission a site survey to ensure your business is protected. Here at TouchStar, we have over 30 years of real-life experience in installing, supporting and maintaining CCTV systems and we can help your business by tailoring our solutions to your needs.