So, you just bought a state-of-the-art video system for your building or organization – now what?

Today, many organizations invest substantial time and resources in the acquisition of state-of-the-art video surveillance systems.

But they fall short of getting the most effective return on their investment by failing to have a plan for the operation and maintenance of these tools.

Many of the systems installed today are IP-based digital video surveillance systems, and offer a variety of remote connections and analytics to improve the overall effectiveness of the system. Maintenance, cleaning and inspections are the most overlooked element in the purchasing decision.

Here are a few tips to help you make sure that your video system pays off to its full potential.

  1. Outdoor cameras require at least two annual cleanings and inspections. This will dramatically improve the image quality and help extend the life of the camera. Indoor cameras also require cleaning and inspections.

  3. Verify the recording function at least once per week. Add a reminder to check on the camera system recording ability every week. Search and export recorded video as a way to keep familiar with the system. It’s always better to find out that something is wrong with the system before a major incident occurs… and you find you have no useable video.

  5. Training on the system operation and design effectiveness should be addressed once per year. Facilities change – new signage, renovations and tree growth are just a few of the common elements that can affect your system. Taking the time to review the overall system once a year is a great way to ensure your security investment is working for your application.

  7. Verify video retention/storage effectiveness. Video technology now allows systems to record on motion detection (changes in the pixels being recorded) and certain areas can be “masked out” – allowing the exclusion of a moving shrub or tree, for example, while still recording important images. Integrators offer fancy tools to help calculate video retention; however, there is no substitute for actual conditions at your facility. Make a point of checking on the video history to see how much video you are actually retaining. You may find that you are in a position to increase the recording frame rate and improve quality without increasing hard drive capacity.

  9. Post signage. This small investment in professional signage can help to mitigate risk and confirm you are using video surveillance. Visible signage indicating your use of a video system is a first line of deterrence and helps enforce your property boundaries.

  11. Service support is crucial to any mission critical system. Having on-call technical assistance to assist with technical “how-to” questions or dispatch a technician when required is essential.

  13. Consider comprehensive maintenance coverage that can include cleanings, inspections and extended warranty coverage. Many service level agreements can also include emergency response, loaner gear and availability of replacement parts.

Video surveillance systems offer significant benefits and in many cases, offer a substantial return on investment, mitigate risks and improve safety and security for visitors, employees and building owners. It’s usually a large, but extremely important investment – so make sure that you are using your system wisely.