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Most businesses operating CCTV systems “seeking significant improvements” finds NW Security Group study

07 January 2021

A COMPREHENSIVE study conducted in England by IP video integrator NW Security Group towards the end of last year found that 97% of medium and large-sized businesses want to make significant improvements to their existing CCTV systems. Over one third (36%, in fact) of firms captured in this study would like their CCTV systems to be better integrated with other security-related systems such as access control, fire safety and intruder alarm solutions.

Nearly one-in-five medium and large-sized firms (19% to be exact) want their CCTV systems to find and retrieve footage of any security incidents more easily and on a swifter footing. This group has also expressed dissatisfaction that it’s taking too long to find video following known security incidents.

Almost one-in-ten companies (8%) wish to dramatically reduce the number of false positives that their CCTV systems are flagging, in parallel openly admitting that false alarms are consuming too much of their time.

False event triggers used to be a much bigger problem than they are today. Indeed, NW Security Group thinks it’s good news that 92% of CCTV system managers are happy with the accuracy of event triggers as a direct result of analytics improvements and better configuration of systems.

Frank Crouwel, managing director of NW Security Group, explained: “False positives used to be a massive problem in first generation video analytics software, but it should now be possible to deploy and fine-tune next generation video analytics tools to reduce false positives quite dramatically.”

In parallel, a further 8% of those companies captured by NW Security Group’s market study want their CCTV systems to be upgraded to add intelligent video analytics that better support post-event decision-making.

GDPR compliance demand

Of those individuals interviewed, 5% are concerned that their video systems need to have General Data Protection Regulation compliance baked into them to absolutely ensure that video surveillance data is collected, stored, accessed and processed in the correct fashion. Upwards of one-in-ten (12%) want to improve resilience and back-up systems around surveillance recordings.

NW Security Group has queried why so many companies wish to see full system-level integration between intruder and fire alarm systems with CCTV. The business firmly believes that at least some of this demand emanates without due considering of the real relevance for individual companies’ security needs.

On that note, businesses must work out the real Operational Requirements of each and every camera installed. Then they must base modifications and integrations on what’s really needed in security terms.

Crouwel explained: “Integration should be driven by a genuine Operational Requirement and not solely by the desire to integrate cutting-edge technologies simply for the sake of doing so. If you’re not careful, you can end up with a system which is over-specified and underperforming.”

As far as Crouwel’s concerned, the other factor at work here is vendor hype. “Marketing materials from vendors endlessly promote the twin mantras of innovation and integration,” he observed. “However, the reality on the ground is that making systems work well together is still a difficult task. It can be somewhat challenging to maintain systems over the long-term due to software and firmware updates that are often not synchronised.”

User training requirements

NW Security Group attributes the fact that one-in-five businesses are struggling to access relevant video recordings following incidents to the need for more comprehensive end user training. The company has moved to highlight the importance of user training when new video management systems are being deployed or when new staff are joining.

“Today,” asserted Crouwel, “video management systems’ search capabilities are generally very good at helping the user locate relevant video sequences, but operatives still need to know how to use the on-screen tools to their fullest potential. It’s also worth looking at how much ‘empty data’ you’re collecting. It’s easy enough to set up recording on relevant event triggers using detection analytics, for example, so that only relevant activity is collected. This configuration change often reduces the amount of data captured by over 50%.”

In summary, Crouwel informed Security Matters: “Although the expectations placed on security systems is rising rapidly, our findings show the need to go back to basics. Investment in user training is vital such that all security team members can put video management systems’ increased functionality to work and configure cameras in line with defined Operational Requirements. Both remain important, but are often neglected areas when it comes to optimising CCTV systems.”

*NW Security Group has published an article on Optimising CCTV Systems which can be read online: https://www.networkwebcams.co.uk/blog/2020/12/01/how-to-get-the-best-out-of-your-cctv-system-in-2021/