Regularly, people talk about the projected ROI of a new / planned system (see our guide) but rarely do you see real studies of the actual ROI from a deployed production system.
In a recent discussion, a consultant asked us to cover this. Here's what he said:
"I would love to see some impartial studies based on scientific data that show the effectiveness (or non-effectiveness) of video surveillance systems in various types of environments. There are lots of commonly-held beliefs and folklore about the deterrent value of video surveillance, but little actual factual data to back it up."
Expanding in a follow up with some specific points:
"Things that I think would be desirable in any type of study include:
- Accurate data gathering system in place, such as security incident reports or police crime reports.
- Metrics are quantifiable rather than subjective. ("25 losses per month before we installed the system, 5 losses per month after we installed the system..." vs "gee, things seem a lot better..."
- Relatively high-frequency events are used as data points (10 to 15 car prowls per month occurring in parking lots vs 1 rape that occurred in parking lot since it was built 15 years ago.)
- Solution being analyzed can be isolated (if cameras, better lighting, and increased security patrols were all added at the same time, who can say which measure is responsible for reduction in crime?)
- Data and conclusions are subject to peer review.
- Person(s) conducting study have no stake in its outcome.
With regards to the last point, I have found that end-users who have spent a boatload of their company's money on a security solution are sometimes not the best source of objective information. If the system is a failure, they are often reluctant to admit it as they feel that they are at least partially responsible for the outcome. A few brave souls will step up to the plate and tell you the truth, but in many cases, the end-user tries to paint a unrealistically flattering picture to hide his system's shortcomings."
I think IPVM needs to go out, find end users and do this from scratch. Short of that, I am not optimistic about finding real analysis. Thoughts?