Subscriber Discussion

Setting Up A Remote Monitoring Control Room

Hi Everyone

I am looking to set up a control room for remote monitoring. I am only just starting to investigate the costs, requirements and feasability.

Can anyone point me in the right direction as far as software is concerned ? I would like this to be scaleable to what would hopefully one day become a big operation. I am wanting to understand how the cameras at the clients are conntected to the control room (not from a connectivity perspective but from a software perspective).

Is there specific control room software and can anyone make any recommendations ?



Do just want to do video or video + intrusion? Are you going to do this for third party clients or is this just for internal use (like for a larger organization)? There's lots of software and options but those two questions significantly impact choice.

Hi John. Thanks for the response.

Video + intrusion for third party clients. We will also do things like remotely opening security gates etc.

I would want to be able to connect to client's existing on-site DVR's and if possible, CCTV systems using the necessary hardware \ software to do the conversion.

We will be using an installer for sites where there is no existing equipment so in those cases we can supply whatever equipment will best work with our control room (recommendations are welcome).

My background is in IT software and networking so I will manage the connectivity between the client sites and the control room.

Hello Jon:

I contacted DICE Corporation, a vendor of video central monitoring station software, for feedback on your question:

"Regarding control room software, it's really a broad topic and we can offer some information that might help. Usually the cameras from the client sites are connected over the internet through a DSL or similar connection from the client's side. We recommend that video transmissions go through a secure VPN tunnel on a separate connection from the business' main internet.

The software must be able to interface with the camera or DVR system, and they all provide varying levels of control. Depending upon what your inquirer wants to do, there are many different kinds and brands of software to manage a control room.

Here are some questions for them to think about:

      1. Remote monitoring - What are you doing with the information? Is this going to be a dispatching system as well?
      2. Is the remote video monitoring going to be tied in with alarm systems, access control or voice-down technology?
      3. What features of the camera system will they be wanting to use through a monitoring product?
      4. Is the platform you're looking at scalable? Does it support multiple camera/DVR systems?
      5. Does it have reporting and management features for getting data to end-users, responders and customers?
      6. Is the system designed to run in a networked/cloud environment, or just a single station?"

If you'd like me to pass on their contact information to you, feel free to email me directly:

Will you need account management software, for account billing purposes?

See the Central Station Alarm Association website. They can be a good resource for information. They also have seminars plus an annual event.

Bold Technologies has central station automation software, relating to your question about software. It can also do social media monitoring, but that may be outside of the scope of monitoring you intend.

Wow, thanks for the detailed responses. Let me try and break it down.

CONNECTIVITY: Dedicated DSL lines over VPN's (unless there is encryption built in somewhere else)

SCALEABILITY: We would want this to be very scalable. Every operation starts small but we would need a few hundred cameras out in the field for this to be a profitable business

MONITORING: Control room agents would monitor the cameras on screens but there would need to be alerts for movements, fires etc. to draw their attention to the issue.

RESPONSE: The agents would then arrange a response such as calling the police, a security agency, a medical team etc.

TIE-INS: We would want to be able to arm\disarm alarms, open gates remotely, open doors remotely, voice down etc

BILLING: We would just use an accounting system

ISSUE TRACKING: We would do this in a CRM system (Microsoft Dynamics CRM)

CLOUD: We are open to using cloud services if they will work with our needs

Some other issues to think about: liability, contracts and insurance. See the website of KIRSCHENBAUM & KIRSCHENBAUM. They have contracts you can purchase that will limit your liability considerably, plus they have articles online and a newsletter you can subscribe to.

Also see this article for a worst-case scenario. Probably doesn't apply to you specifically, but some of the issues in it will in a broader sense at least. Article: Monitoring Missteps Cost Provider $8.6M.

Not trying to scare you, just bring up the important liability issues topic. If you are arming/disarming intrusion alarm systems, then this topic applies.

If you are dispatching police, paramedics and so on, this page is a good reference for topics to be aware of, and happens to include links to information on central station operator training certification. Training and certification can also a liability reducer. From the CSAA website: CSAA Glossary of Term standard.