The Good Kind of Big Brother – Visual Surveillance for Public and Business Security

Visual surveillance is a controversial subject, especially when it is related to the number of CCTV units located in an area such as a city centre or town square, with the public under the perception that it is just the council’s way of keeping an eye on them. As will all controversial subjects, however, there are two sides to the argument and in a business and personal security sense there are a number of different benefits to using surveillance systems to keep an eye out.



CCTV might not be new anymore, but in an age where equipment and assets are more expensive than ever, access to video analytics and surveillance systems are just as important to a company as their resources. If you’re going to be spending hundreds of thousands on top-of-the-range equipment, you want to ensure that you’re doing everything within your powers to deter thieves and held the police to track them down if they do manage to get into the premises.


Large businesses are particularly vulnerable, especially during busy periods in the day such as lunchtimes and the points where shifts crossover. With so many different people and vehicles going in and out, it’s hard work to keep an eye on who should be on the premises legitimately – unless you have a restricted method of access of course – but if people are wanting to get on the premises they will always try and find a way, especially if they’re determined enough. As such, it’s going to be difficult for the security staff and those in the control room to keep an eye on all of the monitors. However, a surveillance system with video analytics can alert security staff to any incidents or threats as they arise so that they can respond straight away or alert the police to what’s going on.


In the sense of public security, it shouldn’t necessarily be seen as people checking up on you, waiting to pounce the moment you do something that they can use against you. It should be seen as protection against a series of risks and threats and even as evidence that can be used in your favour should you have to try and defend yourself. One such example is in reference to public transport when barriers at rail crossings might be stuck with cars passing over the tracks and a train on the way. Using the video analytics, operators can alert the emergency services and the train operators to try and prevent a serious accident from occurring.


Another example is when crowds are forming at large events such as sports matches or festivals. A lot of the crowd might be trying to reach the venue by taking the same route and if this narrows it could result in what is known as ‘bottlenecking’ which can be dangerous if the agitated crowds start to push each other. By using the surveillance software they can alert the police or stewards at the venue to try and encourage the crowd to break off and take a different approach to the venue.


Surveillance systems aren’t all in place for the authorities to clamp down on what they deem to be suspicious activity, making sure that we can’t have any fun in our daily lives. It’s there to try and keep areas safe for everybody concerned and in a business, transport and security sense, it has proven to be particularly beneficial.



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