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Watch It: How to Do Video Surveillance for a Higher ROI

Watch It: How to Do Video
Surveillance for a Higher ROI

Brought to you by the Cisco Innovators Program [LINK:]

Video surveillance does keep an eye on things. But what is its return on investment (ROI) at your business?

The technology that you use determines the value you can get. Video surveillance can do any of the following:

  1. Detect illegal or problem behaviors that may otherwise go unseen or unrecorded. Passive monitoring of hidden threats can be done using either traditional closed-circuit television (CCTV) or increasingly popular digital (IP) video surveillance.
  2. Increase employee safety and productivity. Unlike CCTV, IP video can be watched from anywhere. Wherever employees are working, they can use IP surveillance technology to see when a client arrives in the lobby [LINK] or a truck approaches the loading dock, saving time and even head count. Staff can also conveniently monitor how an employee uses a tool or attends to a patient, enabling modifications that reduce risk and liability.
  3. Deliver leading-edge customer service. Using IP surveillance, a manager can see - or show a customer - the status of the customer's order as it's being worked on [LINK].
  4. Perform business analysis to increase revenues and profits. New IP video monitoring system (VMS) softwarecan track customer behaviors. It can report how many customers come through the door at what times, trace the routes taken through a store, and - by integrating with point-of-sale (POS) systems - record what customers buy. 

IP video technology clearly offers more ROI than CCTV does. How does it do it?

How IP Surveillance Technology Works

IP cameras run on your existing business network for data and the Internet; just plug them in. Unlike CCTV systems, there is no need to buy - and have someone manage - a separate network. In fact, Cisco® Small Business IP video surveillance solutions fully integrate with other Cisco Small Business network solutions, and camera prices start at just a few hundred dollars.

You can easily keep an eye on your business from anywhere, using a PC or 3G mobile phone to view IP video in real time over the Internet.
To monitor multiple cameras from a central location, you need only a PC with a dedicated video graphics card and a VMS application (which may cost up to $1500 extra). Cisco Small Business cameras come with an intuitive VMS free of charge (the Cisco SWVMS16) that will configure up to 16 cameras and control their basic features.

Installing IP cameras is simple. Just mount a camera at the indoor or outdoor location you want, power it from an outlet or Power over Ethernet, and connect it with an Ethernet cable (or through your wireless LAN) to a port on your network switch or router. For remote video viewing, reserve an extra 40 percent or more bandwidth on the port. Configuration is easiest when you use an intuitive VMS application.

You can protect your video like you do other business data. Network-attached storage and automatic backup [LINK] are good ways to begin; you may also want to use security technologies such as HTTPS, VPNs, 802.1X access control, and encryption to control access to archived or streaming video images.


Focus on the Business Prize

Will IP video surveillance be in your 2011 budget? To invest in video surveillance that delivers a high ROI, consider the following:

  1. IP cameras [LINK] that produce quality images in a range of lighting conditions, and detect motion.
  2. IP cameras [LINK] that pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ); compress video in MPEG-4 format for streaming over the Internet and in MJPEG format for storage; or provide audio input and output, and I/O ports to set external alarms or lights.
  3. Advanced VMS software with video analytics that can save you security service fees for alarms and responses, save you time with powerful video search capabilities, and integrate business analytics and POS systems. Cisco Advanced Video Monitoring System (AVMS) software [LINK:] performs all of these functions for 4 to 64 cameras; the license is an affordable one-time purchase.

Zooming in on the bottom line, what are ways that IP surveillance will improve your business?

Next Steps

Find a Cisco Certified Partner [LINK:]that can help you design or configure video surveillance for your business.

Discover how you can use Cisco Small Business video surveillance [LINK:]to help your business become more secure and profitable, and learn how to buy online.

Join the Cisco Innovators Program [LINK:] to continue receiving small business-related articles, videos and offers. Already a member? Refer a friend [LINK:]

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