Surveillance in public spaces and the workplace is more common than ever before. Changes in culture and technology are driving the trend. Surveillance has traditionally been viewed as unnecessarily intrusive, even spying. The "big brother" mentality is giving way to a culture of surveillance tolerance. I wouldn't say most people embrace surveillance but certainly, there has been a move toward acceptance. The change is being driven in part by growing numbers of criminal incidents and terrorist acts caught on camera. Surveillance video evidence disseminated through the media and across the Internet is both useful and fascinating. Whether it's a package thief, gunman, disgruntled employee, vehicle incident or an act of vandalism, the value of surveillance in identifying perpetrators, solving crimes and delivering indisputable evidence is clear.
Additionally, more business owners understand the benefits of surveillance.
- Theft reduction and deterrence
- Compliance with regulatory and company policies
- Liability protection
- Training and performance improvement
Overcoming employee distrust remains a hurdle. Surveillance cameras in common areas, external areas like parking lots, loading docks can be justified for safety and security. Surveillance in private office areas is a more difficult sell and might negatively impact employee morale and productivity.
In public places like shopping malls, restaurants, parks and facilities, surveillance is quite common and generally accepted. Surveillance can be used as an investigative tool after an incident, or as a preventative measure with live monitoring and dispatch of law enforcement or security resources when needed.
Surveillance technology has evolved considerably in the last 10 years. Analog cameras and DVR's are being replaced with network cameras and network video recorders (NVR's), allowing surveillance to be deployed across multiple sites and large areas. More recently, the emergence of Cloud-connected surveillance solutions has taken deployment flexibility and scalability to a new level. Camera technology has improved. The cost for HD network cameras has dropped while features, performance and reliability have improved. Competition in the surveillance equipment and services industry is fierce, contributing to better products and value for surveillance users.
The case for surveillance has never been better. Advances in technology make deployment easier and less costly. Changes in the public attitude have paved the way for robust growth in the surveillance industry. It's time to join the revolution!
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