When a business operates out of a single location, a hands-on manager can usually keep track of everything. However, as a business grows, it becomes harder and harder to know exactly what is happening. That’s why large businesses rely on live video surveillance to monitor what is happening at all of their locations.
Live video surveillance is a way to monitor your business remotely in real time. Remote guarding is sometimes used to describe the use of video surveillance equipment to replace live security guards or enhance their ability to patrol large premises. In either case, using your security system to replace live guards can save a lot of money.
In addition, surveillance cameras never sleep, cannot be intimidated, provide objective evidence when an incident occurs, and can monitor your entire premises at once.
While many people think there is strictly a security benefit, as your business grows, live video surveillance can help you keep track of every aspect of your business. Indeed, while the improved security alone justifies the price of live video surveillance, the benefits go well beyond just better security.
9 live video surveillance benefits
As mentioned above, being able to monitor your business in real time has both security and non-security benefits. Here are nine benefits of live video surveillance:
- Identify retraining needs
- Respond to issues in real time
- Remote monitoring
- Better asset protection/loss prevention
- Add context to business metrics
- Reduced labor expenses and hiring needs
- Better security
- Alarm verification
- Better customer service
Note that these benefits often open up great synergies. For example, identifying retaining needs can directly improve your loss prevention strategy.
Identify retraining needs
Employees often find themselves in need of retraining. This can be due to individual needs or mistakes made during initial training. Whether malicious or because of training shortcomings, the results are the same for the business: reduced profitability from lost productivity.
Two common retraining needs often appear:
- Time theft: Time theft is when employees are being paid to work but are doing something else instead. This can be simple productivity issues such as employees using their mobile phones during work hours. However, it can also be more serious, for example coworkers manipulating the punch clock to bill overtime hours when they are already at home (sometimes called “buddy punching”).
- Discount abuse: Discount abuse is when employees use discounts incorrectly. This can sometimes be malicious, for example someone using their employee discount to reduce the prices for friends and family. Often, though, it is an employee improperly stacking discounts, for example those meant for seniors and veterans, due to a training deficit. In either case, it costs the company money.
Volunteers of America-Michigan has identified several retraining issues using the Solink platform. Live video surveillance has helped them find instances of employees not doing what they are supposed to without ever needing to step foot in the affected stores.
Respond to issues in real time
Issues tend to compound until they are solved. This means a small problem in the morning can lead to your business not meeting its goal. One of the biggest benefits of live video surveillance is that you can identify and solve minor issues before they compound.
Threshold Notifications allows businesses to set limits on the metrics important to them: speed of service, hourly revenue, average transaction discount, or anything else you can track. Then you can get a proactive notification any time your core metrics are outside of your comfort zone.
Video remote monitoring gives you the ability to audit your stores for company policy compliance without visiting in person. While on-premises audits are not going away—and they shouldn’t—for locations in remote areas or those with known issues that need to be checked up on more regularly, live video surveillance can make it possible to give them the care they need while saving time.
Better asset protection/loss prevention
When discussing asset protection/loss prevention (AP/LP), it’s important to separate the internal and external threats. Both are major issues, but they often use different tactics and therefore require different strategies to prevent.
Internal theft is when people inside an organization steal from it, while external theft is when those outside the organization do.
Here’s a helpful chart:
Solink has several features that makes it easier to identify and investigate external theft. Motion search allows you to scan hours of footage in minutes. Skilled AP/LP professionals can make this process even faster by scanning motion events at 8 or 16 times speed.
Then, when a shoplifting incident is found, Camera Linking makes it possible to track a suspect as they move around the building. Finally, you can share evidence directly in the Solink platform with internal stakeholders and law enforcement by email.
For internal theft, motion search is still a valuable tool, but there are others that can prove even more beneficial. Solink connects to many other systems to pair data with matching video footage, including the point of sale (POS).
POS monitoring gives you the ability to quickly filter all of your transactions by type, size, date, employee number, products, or any other keywords. You can quickly find all of your high-risk transactions (voids, no-sale till opens, cash returns, etc.) and then review the paired video to confirm they are legitimate.
Add context to business metrics
As mentioned above, POS monitoring can be used to mitigate the risk of employee theft. That’s just one of the ways it can provide context to your metrics. Let’s look at a simple example.
You run a quick service restaurant (QSR) and do 40% of your business through the drive thru. You can typically service 75 cars per hour and set up your Threshold Notifications to alert you when you dip below 60 cars per hour.
You receive an alert that your speed of service is below 60 cars per hour. What happened?
- Is demand lower than usual?
- Is the staff working more slowly than usual?
- Is some key equipment broken?
- Is inclement weather causing driving issues?
The only way to know exactly what is going on—and therefore what you need to do to rectify the situation—is to watch the real-time security footage. Live video surveillance gives you the needed context to not just know about a problem but how to solve it.
Reduced labor expenses and hiring needs
Live video surveillance can reduce labor expenses in several ways. Most directly, the remote guarding function can replace live 24/7 on-site security guards. However, even when a full-time salary isn’t being removed from the books, video surveillance systems can be used to improve productivity.
As mentioned above, AP/LP audits can be shifted to virtual walkthroughs so a single loss prevention professional can review multiple locations at once. This can slow down the rate at which you need to hire people into your asset protection department.
Solink is a complete video management system (VMS). With all of the included tools, you can now search for theft or other security incidents, save the videos, organize all the evidence gathered for an event, and share it internally and with law enforcement in one platform.
Solink Video Alarms Monitoring Service is another way to better protect your business with live video surveillance. Unlike traditional panel alarms, video alarms can monitor entire areas of your business for improved detection. You can also turn them on and off one zone at a time, meaning your store can be open for business while the loading dock is secured.
In a recent independent comparison of Solink Video Alarms and traditional panel alarms, video alarms led to multiple arrests while traditional alarms led to zero apprehensions.
Alarm verification gives trained professionals the ability to review in real time what is happening on a site before deciding whether an emergency response is warranted. Then, when law enforcement is required, the video feed is shared with the dispatcher to ensure prompt and appropriate response.
However, the value of alarm verification goes beyond better security. Verified alarms also save you money. Many police forces no longer respond to unverified alarms, and in cities where they still do, false alarm fines are increasing.
In the same head-to-head comparison mentioned above, Solink Video Alarms led to a 100% decrease in false alarm fines across multiple restaurant locations.
Better customer service
Employees should be engaging with every visitor as they enter your business and regularly thereafter. This is an effective sales tactic that will help increase your revenue. It’ll also reduce external theft because patrons of your business will feel like they are being watched. Live video surveillance can help monitor how your staff is interacting with guests so you can make sure they are following directives on customer service standards.
11 live video surveillance examples
Live video surveillance is being utilized in many industries. Whether you are looking for better security, higher revenue, or better customer service, monitoring your locations in real time will help you achieve your goals.
Here are 11 industries where live video surveillance is making a difference:
- Office building
- Shopping center
- Apartment building
- Distribution center
- Construction site
Here are some examples of live video surveillance helping all of these business types.
Office buildings are often filled with expensive equipment, from computers and laptops to printers and industry-specific hardware. However, live video surveillance often brings about the greatest benefit outside.
The sprawling parking lots surrounding some office buildings can be major sources of liability. Smash-and-grab thefts from cars, fender benders, and violence can all lead to legal liability for the owner and/or occupant of the office building.
When it comes to protecting the valuables inside of an office, outdoor cameras can help here too. With video alarms, you can catch people trying to break-in to your building before they even gain entry.
Shopping centers, both malls and other plazas, have overlapping security responsibilities. Individual stores monitor their own property, but the property managers need to protect their assets as well.
This overlap is most visible at the storefronts. While the security gates, windows, and doors might belong to the property management firm, the individual stores suffer the consequence of lost revenue if something happens.
Live video surveillance can reduce the likelihood of damage and vandalism by providing a strong deterrent and proactive alerts when people are nearby when businesses are closed.
Multi-family live video surveillance is often about maintaining a certain level of security, or even improving it, while reducing costs. Especially in areas with rent controls, it can be difficult to increase rent on current tenants, which means profitability can require cost savings.
Installing cameras gives property owners an added layer of security without the need for hiring more security guards or signing an expensive outside security agreement for (usually too infrequent) security drive bys.
When powered by cloud video surveillance, real-time monitoring of entrances and exits, hallways, and parking lots can prevent vandalism and keep tenants safe from violence.
Self-storage facilities have a lot of liabilities due to human visitors and the storage of private possessions. One unique concern, however, is renters living in their units. Self-storages are not up to the legal standards for residencies, and turning a blind eye to people living in their self-storage unit could lead to a lot of legal trouble.
Live video surveillance can help alert the proprietors to the possibility that someone is living in their self-storage unit. For example, motion search can be used to find unusual traffic outside of normal operating hours.
Cars are expensive assets, for both businesses and individuals, and a simple scratch can be thousands of dollars to repair. This represents a big expense for an automotive company, whether it’s their car or that of a customer that is damaged.
Car dealerships need to protect their biggest assets from theft and vandalism while keeping them out in the open. Live video surveillance can help do this without building walls around their cars.
Garages are often blamed for dents and scratches. Some customers try to maliciously pass this off on mechanics. More often than not, however, the customer is mistaken. They spend extra time inspecting their car after having their winter tires put on or getting an oil change and notice damage for the first time. These fraudulent claims can be combated with the help of video surveillance.
In these cases, being able to look up the video footage paired to the customer gives the business the evidence they need to show the customer that the damage was not done on premises.
Workplace accidents are a common occurrence in warehouses, especially when health and safety policies are not being followed. Some employees when feeling pressure to maintain a high level of productivity will cut corners, leading to an unsafe work environment.
The right warehouse security system with live video surveillance capabilities can help ensure that all safety policies are being followed. These same policies, for example forklift speed limits, ladder safety procedures being followed, and proper inventory stacking, also protect merchandise from being damaged.
As for theft, employee theft is the most likely as these are private buildings not open to customers. However, this is not the only possible source of internal theft. The shipping and receiving dock is a hotspot for theft in distribution centers.
Delivery drivers need to remain in designated locations and all shipping manifests double checked to confirm that no inventory is missing from orders. Warehouse live video surveillance systems can help distribution centers confirm this is happening in real time.
The benefits of live video surveillance for logistics companies extend beyond the walls of the warehouse. At busy locations, outdoor cameras can make sure that all trucks are approaching and exiting the shipping and receiving docks safely and on time.
Real-time security monitoring is usually a requirement for cannabis businesses. While this might be the reason most dispensaries and cultivators install live video surveillance, it can do a lot more for a cannabis business than fulfill a regulatory requirement.
One interesting use case is heat maps. Canada Buds uses Solink for better merchandising in their cannabis dispensaries. By seeing how customers move through their location, they can place the appropriate products in the right locations to increase sales.
It can be hard to monitor everything happening in multiple restaurant locations. Inventory theft, discount abuse, and other forms of employee theft are commonplace. Some locations can also face violence. Upset customers can be verbally and physically abusive to staff. Late night locations can even experience different groups of customers becoming combative towards each other.
Another less considered issue that can be solved by live video surveillance in your restaurant is speed of service. When your restaurant relies on rush hours to make its daily revenue target, any decrease in speed of service can have an outsized effect on your bottom line.
Getting an extra two cars per hour through your drive thru during peak hours can add thousands of dollars to your gross margins per year. Monitoring your drive thru speed of service in real time allows you to proactively solve issues before they get out of control.
The potential for health and safety violations, especially anything that could affect food safety, requires constant vigilance. Making sure fresh ingredients are placed in the walk-in immediately and that stock is rotated can be confirmed using live video surveillance.
Furthermore, boxes on the floor, improper securing of the cardboard compactor, and blocked emergency exits can all be prevented by using your video surveillance system to perform remote audits.
Retail shops face many of the same issues as other businesses. Internal theft, shoplifting, damaged merchandise, and health and safety violations are all common issues in retail.
Monitoring your point of sale (POS) in real time can help reduce internal theft. Video surveillance can also be used to monitor compliance with company policy regarding health and safety regulations, inventory management, and when receiving new merchandise.
While all of these represent good loss prevention strategies, they miss one issue that could prove even more costly: slip-and-falls. Customer injuries can cost a retail location a lot of money. In the worst cases, it can hurt the reputation of the business as well.
Volunteers of America-Michigan uses Solink to monitor for conditions that could lead to slip-and-fall injuries across all of their locations. When the weather report calls for snow or rain, they quickly check the front entrance areas of all of their locations to make sure wet floor signs are being used. Live video surveillance gives them the ability to protect all of their retail locations from this safety concern in a couple minutes.
Manufacturing facilities often have natural hazards for workers. If health and safety is not the top priority of everyone in the building, they can quickly become dangerous places to work. Live video surveillance is deployed in factories primarily to make sure everyone is safe.
Lean manufacturing has placed a focus on efficiency and productivity in factories. The dependency of one process on another with limited on-site inventory can mean that a slow down in one factory zone can quickly spread to the rest of a facility.
Industrial live video surveillance can help spot productivity issues before they cascade through your manufacturing plant.
Construction sites are dangerous, especially at night when proper lighting is not available to uncover all the hidden hazards. Unfortunately, vandals, thieves, and others looking to commit crimes sneak into construction sites at night.
Despite their bad intentions, the liability for any injuries often still falls on the company operating the site. Construction sites then face the cost of replacing stolen and damaged equipment as well as the liability of any injuries and the potential mounting costs of work stoppages.
Live video surveillance can keep these sites secured with video alarms. Since many construction sites aren’t protected by a roof and four walls, traditional panel alarms can’t keep people out. With video alarms, the operators of construction sites have real-time access to motion alerts. They can then confirm whether someone has trespassed on their work site and request police dispatch when necessary.
Solink is the best live video surveillance service
Solink provides a customizable cloud-first video analytics platform. Loss prevention, productivity and training, health and safety, security, and customer service can all be monitored with live video surveillance.
To see how Solink can help you monitor all of your locations, sign up for a demo today.
Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.