There’s no doubt that the government faces the necessity and responsibility of protecting all of its moving parts: data, information, assets, infrastructure, equipment and the physical well-being of its citizens and employees, or human capital.
However, it is common in this sector in Latin America to come across security systems that don’t function properly, or that quickly become “outdated,” which leads organizations to search for new options to invest in. This situation is never an easy one, considering these expenditures are carried out with public resources.
In many cases, a badly designed monitoring system is what causes poor functionality, low quality, low scalability and persistent product obsoleteness, as equipment constantly needs to be updated. The design stage is a crucial part of installations to ensure a successful project overall.
A good design process considers the global, as well as specific, objectives that the security system has to achieve, and takes the necessary technological integrations into account. It also estimates just how open the system architecture should be, and uses IP network technology for best scalability.
In general, the government sector’s two main concerns in relation to a security system’s implementation are related to the installed capacity for reuse over time, and to scalability. To clarify, this means that the system allows for future expansion in terms of its range of coverage, as well as its functions. And although this calculation is important, it doesn’t guarantee a flawless security system.
The following are the five most important factors that a purchaser in the government sector should consider before installing a useful, reliable, durable, and scalable security system that can ensure a good return on public funded investments.
- Video Image Resolution
There is a widespread idea that the higher resolution a piece of equipment offers, the better it is for video surveillance. This is not always applicable in every situation. For example, in the case of a building’s entryway or access point, it is important to focus with a higher resolution, as the system requires a video quality capable of specific facial recognition.
On the other hand, configuring high resolution on a panoramic camera that provides nothing more than basic, general surveillance would significantly increase the necessary data storage and network bandwidth usage requirements, therefore raising costs. It’s key to measure the importance of resolution on a case by case basis.
- Consulting a Professional Is Always the Best Option
There are system design specialists who work as project managers and exclusively specialize in security. Only a professional can get the design stage of an installation process like this off the ground and running optimally.
- Clear and Well-Written Objectives
It is essential to write down both general and specific objectives in a clear manner, and to do so together with the client’s assisting integration partner. During this phase, it is especially important that the client utilize someone who is capable of defining their objectives, to communicate them properly. This is because the integrator or project manager will turn them into technical specifications that will then determine the system’s usefulness.
- Analog Versus IP Technologies
It’s important to emphasize that high resolution analog cameras do not operate at a high frequency. In addition, they have fewer capabilities, are affected by noises and interferences in their wiring, and perform at a lower level than IP systems of the same resolution. The analog devices also do not allow for video analytics, are difficult to access and to integrate with other systems and are not easily scalable. They are also not designed to automatically connect to the internet and will not be readily available in the market as they head into their end of life.
The future is IP.
Currently, however, IP systems only make up about 20% of the security market in Latin America. This is changing because they are built to automatically connect to the internet, have better features, are less affected by interferences, and last longer. They may initially cost more than analog cameras with the same level of definition, but they are the better choice in terms of duration, accessibility and the availability of sufficient information during a critical moment or event.
- If IP Has Already Been Selected, Keep Its Large Number of Functions in Mind
It’s important to consider the incredible variety of video analytics functionality that IP systems offer.
Analytics – be it in the form of facial recognition, license plate scanning, people counting, emotional and behavioral recognition or intrusion detection – mine security systems data for information that adds value, is quantifiable, measurable, and ready to be shared for relevant decision-making and response. This leads the concept of the security system to change, expand, surpass its limits and become a system full of critical information that can be applied in many ways, from security to operations, transportation, healthcare and marketing.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that even though Latin America’s security problems continue to rise, and criminal methods continue to become more sophisticated, the security industry is working to be on top of the situation, to confront it and act proactively. The incorporation of innovative technology, combined with elements of geolocation and strong communication systems, is without a doubt essential to surveillance operations around the world.
Technology and the means are available. Now, the only thing that remains is to address the topic responsibly and create rigorous plans. It’s worth it, especially since it means protecting resources, information, infrastructure and most importantly life.
About the Author
Juan Martín González is the Commercial Director at Foxsys, a Milestone Partner. He graduated from Uruguay’s Universidad de la República with a degree in electrical engineering, and specializations in automation and embedded system design. In 2010, together with other industry professionals, he founded Foxsys, a company initially focusing on residential automation and security. The company gradually began specializing in electronic security as well, first in the residential realm, and in recent years, in the business sector. Contact him at email: firstname.lastname@example.org.