Video surveillance is one of the fastest growing areas for IT resellers, presenting them with lower complexity and higher quality security opportunities than ever before. Infact, according to a report from IHS, the IP Video Surveillance market is now growing at around 19.3% a year.
With a growing market and a whole host of different IP Surveillance solutions available it is important that IT resellers don’t loose sight of the woods from the trees and ensure that customers receive the appropriate levels of support and consultancy.
To help you ensure that you and your customers get the most from the technology, here are our top 7 tips for Video Surveillance success:
1. Establish customer expectations – Video Surveillance can be used for a whole host of scenarios, whether it be detection, prevention, deterrent or response. So it is very important to ascertain customers’ requirements early on. Do they want to monitor a large area? Do they want to detect individuals approaching a building or is it to observe the actions of a group? Will the images obtained help customers (or the police) identify an unfamiliar individual?
2. Understand the area to be surveyed – Are customers looking to set up cameras indoors, outdoors or both? You should always ask for a floor plan and detailed layout of the area to be monitored. Then you can establish with the customer what is most important (eg. Entry and exit points, specific equipment, high-value goods, etc)
Equally as important is establishing if there will be any obstacles to monitoring a specific area whether it is walls, pillars or light sources. Don’t forget about temporary obstructions too. Trees which may obscure a view 6-9 months a year, while vehicles in loading bays can also be a major obstruction.
At the same time it is important to make sure that customers understand where they can’t monitor (e.g. toilets, changing rooms, other people’s property).
3. Ensure the camera set up is as clear as night and day – It may be an obvious question but make sure to ask your customers what time of the day they are planning to use IP Video Surveillance. If at night (or in a low light environment) cameras will need to be infrared, especially if they are needed for identification and recognition purposes. Where lighting is being used in conjunction with surveillance it should be positioned above rather than below the area within the camera’s field of view to ensure the best performance.
4. Agree image quality requirements early on – Image quality is a very debatable and emotive subject. In the main because it is an individual’s perception so it is very hard to quantify. However there are four areas to consider when looking at the surveillance images being displayed:
Clarity – is the picture sharp enough and is there distortion?
Detail – is there enough to identify objects?
Colour – is it natural?
Artefacts – are there elements in the image that should not be there and are they obtrusive?
5. Know your cameras inside and out – Today there are hundreds of different camera types, all of which are suited to a whole host of environments and scenarios.
Does the customer require an internal or external camera? Does it need to be vandalproof?
Will an all-in-one camera be the most cost effective solution?
If choosing a PTZ camera is there a manned guard onsite to monitor the footage?
Will your proposed solution fit with the aesthetics of the property?
By asking these questions you can quickly establish the Video Surveillance solution that best meets your customer’s needs and budget.
6. Audit the network infrastructure – One of the joys of Video Surveillance technology is that it makes it extremely easy to add cameras to an IP network. So it is important that you establish whether a customer’s existing network infrastructure is sufficient as well as the total bandwidth requirement. Will it require an upgrade or does a new network need to be implemented? If looking to deploy wireless cameras, how good is the wireless coverage?
7. Find out what customers want to do with the camera footage – Does the customer want to view or store the footage? If recording the footage, how long do customers want to save the footage? Do they require backup? If so does it need to be on-site or off-site? All of these are important considerations, but also could provide you with additional opportunities to sell network storage solutions to your customers.