How Do End Users Monitor Surveillance?

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Aug 13, 2012

How actively are surveillance systems monitored? Do end users prefer to passively use surveillance for recording activity, or do they actively monitor surveillance video so they can respond in real time? We asked a group of globally distributed end users how they use their system.

Overview

The question we posed to end users was: "How do you typically monitor your surveillance cameras?", and answers offered:

  • We have a dedicated security operator/team: Realtime Monitoring
  • We look in to the cameras only when needed: Forensic Review
  • Other: Mix of Both

The charts below take two slices of our results based on system size. We contrast the 'mega' end users with many cameras versus 'smaller', more typical deployments, with less than 100 cameras.

 

 

Confirmed Assumptions

These results should not be surprising given that organization with larger systems are presumed to have larger operating budgets and greater monitoring resources. Large surveillance systems are freqently accompanied by dedicated staff that actively monitor them. However, as the camera counts trend smaller, so does the propensity to monitor video surveillance in real time. We suspect that for end user deployments with 20 cameras or less, this trend would continue with nearly all responses indicating they view video forensically only.

Detailed Breakdown

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Digging into the detailed answers showed plenty of common ground between these two groups. In most cases, the criteria given explaining responses were similar regardless of system size. In the section below we group these answers into the common themes:

Lack of Resources: Despite the fact that system size plays a marked role in how systems are actually used, size does not affect how systems are desired to be used. The majority of answers choosing 'Forensic Review' or 'Mix of Both' specifically mentioned the lack the resources to actively monitor but would if they could afford it. The detailed answers in this category make this constraint plainly obvious:

  • "We couldn't justify the cost of paying somebody to sit and view cameras all day."
  • "We don't have the funds for someone to constantly monitor it."
  • "Due to staffing levels, I can not afford to dedicate one officer to monitor surveillance."
  • "Staffing is clearly an issue."
  • "Cannot afford to post men only to monitor."
  • "We don't have the manpower to watch the system live"
  • "I have 1012 cameras. I have one student employee for 20 hours a week and myself."

Clearly, most end users feel the greatest value of surveillance is achieved when operators are actively and constantly reviewed. If possible, end users would choose to have an active response to events as they occur rather than passively or forensically review recorded video.

Regulations: Many end users that actively monitor systems, especially those in the larger "more than 500 cameras" group, are required to do so by overarching regulations or legislation. Several answers made no comment on their preference to actively monitor or forensically review video, only that they are driven to do so without other options:

  • "must have it due to business requirements and certain regulations"
  • "We operate at a tribal casino of sufficient size to require a live staff."
  • "Gaming requires it"
  • "Required by MICS and law. Class III gaming facilities must have Surveillance observers watching cameras 7/24/365."

Monitoring by Committee: To a lesser extent, end users split monitoring duties between security and some other department. These answers also indicated that surveillance is not always relegated to only 'security' duty, but also sometimes provides 'operations' or 'facilities' with surveillance ability as well.

  • "We use both models based on volume of activity and risk level of location."
  • "IT compliments Public Safety and provides assistance with investigations"
  • "We have some staff that when time permits, looks at video. IT maintains."
  • "Security Team views sometimes, Process Operations at other times."
  • "Proactive monitoring as far as possible. Also reactive team to remove and process incident footage."
  • "Facilities group and Dispatch proactively monitor."
  • "The mix of both allows us the versatility to address a wide variety of business needs while keeping costs low."

Interestingly, this 'mixed user' model was cited more frequently in larger systems. Larger systems correspond to larger labor pools, and even if security lacks man hours to contribute to active monitoring, other departments may contribute labor to the effort. Another characteristic of smaller camera deployments are their tendency to deploy cameras only in 'security critical' areas, while larger systems are more likely to be scaled in supporting other departments.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Camera Course Winter 2020 on Jan 10, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
Casino Surveillance Pro Interview: James Lathrop on Feb 15, 2019
James Lathrop [link no longer available] has been working in casinos for almost 25 years. During that time, he says he has held "just about every...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
City Physical Security Manager Interview on Mar 14, 2019
This physical security pro is the Physical Security Manager for the City of Calgary. He is a criminologist by training with an ASIS CPP credential....
Casino Security Consultant Carl Lindgren Interview on Mar 26, 2019
For more than 20 years, Carl Lindgren [link no longer available] worked as a casino surveillance pro, while being active (and sometimes outspoken)...
Verkada Wins $783,000 Memphis Deal on Apr 29, 2019
The US city, most famous in video surveillance for standardizing on Hikvision, has issued an RFQ for 962 Verkada cameras due Wednesday, May 1,...
Mining Company Security Manager Interview on May 10, 2019
First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) is a global enterprise with offices on 4 continents and operations in 7 countries with exploratory operations...
Milestone "GDPR-ready" Certification Claim Critiqued on Aug 12, 2019
Milestone is touting that its latest XProtect VMS is "GDPR-ready" with a 'European Privacy Seal'. However, our investigation raises significant...
Video Surveillance 101 Course Opened on Dec 12, 2019
IPVM is adding a Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the most important terms,...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis and Genetec Drop IFSEC 2020 on Jan 23, 2020
Two of the best-known video surveillance manufacturers are dropping IFSEC International 2020, joining Milestone who dropped IFSEC in 2019. The...
Multipoint Door Lock Tutorial on Jan 23, 2020
Despite widespread use, locked doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and thousands can be misspent on locks that leave doors quite...
Avigilon Shifts Cloud Strategy - Merges Blue and ACC on Jan 23, 2020
Avigilon is shifting its cloud strategy, phasing out its Blue web-managed surveillance platform as a stand-alone brand and merging it with its ACC...
Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer. Verkada is taking it to the next level - paying $100 referrals fees simply...
Camera Analytics Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 22, 2020
Analytics are hot again, thanks to a slew of AI-powered cameras, but whose analytics really work? And how do these new smart cameras compare to top...
Intersec 2020 Final Show Report on Jan 21, 2020
IPVM spent all 3 days at the Intersec 2020 show interviewing various companies and finding key trends. We cover: Middle East Enterprise...
Vehicle & Long Range Access Reader Tutorial on Jan 21, 2020
One of the classic challenges for access control are parking lots and garages, where the user's credential is far from the reader. With modern...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2020 on Jan 20, 2020
The past 2 years of US bans and sanctions have shaken the video surveillance industry but what impact would this have on integrators' favorite...
"Severely Impacted" Mercury Security 2020 Leap Year Firmware Issue on Jan 17, 2020
One of the largest access controller manufacturers has a big problem: February 29th. Mercury Security, owned by HID, is alerting partners of the...