Live Video Monitoring Usage Statistics

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 19, 2015

What percentage of video surveillance users have humans (guards, operators, monitors) watching live video? What schedules do they use? And what verticals most commonly have live monitoring?

IPVM conducted a survey of 120+ integrators to determine answers to these questions inside.

Key Findings

Here are the key findings from the results:

  • 1 out of 3 non-residential video surveillance users has some form of ongoing live monitoring.
  • However, more than half of integrators have less than 20% of their customers using live monitoring. By contrast, a small number of integrators specialize in larger customers that almost always have live monitoring.
  • Live monitoring schedules were split among 3 common types: 24/7, business hours, and after business hours.
  • Most cameras are not watched even when someone is watching, given the far greater camera number of cameras compared to those watching.
  • Many watchers have other responsibilities beyond watching cameras, which detract from live monitoring.
  • The common claim that less 1% of all surveillance video is watched live is supported by these results, once factoring in scheduling and watcher limits (e.g., 33% have live monitoring, but many only monitor part time, plus most only watch just a fraction of cameras recorded and generally do not watch constantly)

Verticals for Live Monitoring

The most common verticals where live monitoring was done 24/7 was government related (military, prison, city, police), higher education and hospitals. By contrast, corporate sites and retail more commonly were monitored during business hours only while those with high-value outdoor assets, like car dealership and industrial sites were more typically only monitored after hours, when no one was on premises.

Limits on Camera Live Monitored

Even for the 1/3rd of users who have some form of ongoing live monitoring, rarely is it 24/7 and almost never is someone even attempting to watch all cameras. For example, integrators noted:

  • "Cameras are all monitored 24X7. In saying that, not all cameras are constantly monitored by operators. Perimeter cameras and low risk cameras are monitored using guard tours. All the cameras are recorded constantly."
  • "Staff in supermarkets monitor when they suspect a shoplifter is in the supermarket"
  • "Command Center has access to all 2,300 cameras but just spot checks. Maybe 16 at a time."
  • "Command Centers view and record between 75 to 500 cameras 24/7 Multiple viewing clients with large LED viewing Screens. Operators responsible for viewing specific cameras and areas depending on time of day and situation priorities."
  • "24/7 on a rotation. I've found this to more effective than simple 24/7 viewing."
  • "quasi-24/7 monitoring (where an attendant has other duties including the monitoring of cameras, such as an entry/exit guard who might be distracted from viewing the cameras to perform other tasks."
  • "One manufacturing plant does live monitoring, but only if a zone is triggered, then they log in to view live."
  • "CStore, education and industrial customers may have a screen up showing the cameras, but seldom people looking at them."

99%+ Not Watched

Though a third of professional end users have some form of live monitoring, this number alone overstates how commonly an individual camera is watched.

The three key limiting factors were:

  • Not watching all cameras: Most systems that have live monitoring are larger ones with hundreds or thousands of cameras. Those applications rarely even try to display all cameras, typically only putting the highest traffic or highest risk cameras on screen.
  • Watching too many cameras to be effective: Even for those that try to watch many cameras, this is often done via 9 or 16 cameras on a single monitor, which makes it quite hard for an operator to see / recognize all activities across those cameras.
  • Not watching any during certain time periods: Finally, many organizations that do live monitoring only do it for roughly half the day.

The net/net is then that less than 1% of all cameras are ever really monitored live. We arrive at that by taking the 1/3rd overall live monitoring rate, factor out the times when no video is being monitored, factor out the cameras that are not being watched at all and recognizing when too many cameras are being shown to effectively allow an operator to monitor each individual camera.

Comments (6): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Bosch G-Series Intrusion Tested on Jul 26, 2017
Bosch is one of the biggest names in intrusion, and the company's G-Series panels are their most advanced commercial and high-security panels. But...
Competing Against Convergint on Jul 24, 2017
No integrator is more aggressively expanding than Convergint Technologies. Owned and funded by private equity firm KRG, Convergint has acquired...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Manufacturer Favorability Guide on Jul 19, 2017
This 120 page PDF guide may be downloaded inside by all IPVM members. It includes our 20 manufacturer favorability rankings and 20 manufacturer...
$8 Billion Utility Georgia Power Enters Surveillance Business Offering Avigilon And Genetec on Jul 19, 2017
Utilities are typically considered major customers of surveillance integrators but one utility, Georgia Power, with $8+ billion in annual revenue...
Alarm.com Tested on Jul 13, 2017
Alarm.com has become the dominant force in smart home / remote service platform, with ~70% market share, combining their own traditional offering...
Genetec Mission Control Tested on Jul 13, 2017
Genetec continues to move up market with their Mission Control, "Decision Support System", bringing PSIM-like procedures and incident management to...
Hikvision Distributor Says Hikvision "Top Rated Yet Most Hated" on Jul 12, 2017
The CEO of 2M Solutions, a distributor selling Hikvision cameras under their own as well as Hikvision's brand has publicly declared Hikvision to be...
Convergint Total Recall CrimeEye Product Profile on Jul 11, 2017
Deploying video surveillance in metropolitan areas often brings challenges, including lack of infrastructure or excessive costs to extend...
Security Trade Magazine Readership Statistics on Jul 10, 2017
150 IPVM members reported how many and what security trade magazines they read, both in print and online. Here are the key findings: Most do...

Most Recent Industry Reports

$28M Drone Detection Startup Examined (Dedrone) on Jul 25, 2017
Dedrone has received ~$28M in funding to build what they call an "automatic anti-drone solution", a system to detect drones, and then automatically...
Dahua Suffers Second Major Vulnerability, Silent on Jul 25, 2017
Less than 3 months ago, Dahua received DHS ICS-CERT's worst score of 10.0 for their backdoor. Now, Dahua has received another 10.0 score for a new...
Hikvision H.265+ Bullet Tested (2035) on Jul 24, 2017
Continuing our tests of Hikvision's new low cost Value Plus line, we bought and tested the 3MP DS-2CD2035FWD-I, now including H.265+. We shot the...
Sports Stadium Security Design Recommendations on Jul 24, 2017
Sports stadiums pose many challenges for designing security systems. The facilities vary from being mostly vacant, to packed with tens of thousands...
Competing Against Convergint on Jul 24, 2017
No integrator is more aggressively expanding than Convergint Technologies. Owned and funded by private equity firm KRG, Convergint has acquired...
Security Robots Are Just Entertainment on Jul 21, 2017
Great entertainment, no real security value.  That is the happy (or sad) state of security robots in 2017. Knightscope robot's drowning, the...
Wireless Burglar Alarm Sensors Guide on Jul 21, 2017
Wireless sensors for burglar alarm sensors are an increasingly common option for the historical labor intensive wired alarm systems. However,...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Hikvision Launching Deep Learning Recorders on Jul 20, 2017
Hikvision has become a common choice for super low cost NVRs. Now, Hikvision is aiming to move up market, with deep learning NVRs that claim far...
PR Campaign Exploiting Manufacturer Cybersecurity on Jul 20, 2017
Manufacturers increasingly have a bulls-eye on their back. As cyber security solutions providers grow, they realize a great way to get publicity...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact