Unleash the full potential of your surveillance system

Fredrik Rylander

An increasing number of businesses are discovering the benefits of adding network audio to their IP video surveillance systems. The reason? You will get peace of mind, knowing that you have got a system that can stop incidents before they lead to expensive downtime and other trouble.

Unplanned downtime. It is a nightmare for most businesses. And it’s not just that your operation comes to a potentially very costly standstill. The expenses may add up from other sources, which is undoubtedly true if the downtime is down to break-ins, theft, or vandalism.

For example, a construction site that suffers a break-in where intruders drive off with a container full of tools is stricken in several ways. Depending on the size of the project, there may be tools worth around 100,000 euros. If these tools get stolen during the weekend, you have got maybe 50 workers arriving on Monday morning who can’t do their work.

It can quickly become incredibly expensive. On top of having downtime at your site and workers who you need to send home, you have to put in the time and effort to acquire new tools. If you need specialized tools, it may take several days to get new ones. Then there are the insurance costs. And if the project gets delayed, you may be looking at considerable fees for not finishing the project on time.

These are some examples of how hard it can hit you. Depending on your industry and application, the pitfalls of break-ins may vary. Read on to find out how you can avoid them.

Optimizing your surveillance system

There are some traditional pro-active solutions, such as guards, dogs, and alarms, to meet this challenge. Camera surveillance is a definitive step up. This technology has come a long way from analog CCTV (close-circuit television) to today’s state-of-the-art IP-based network cameras with video analytics.

The technology now offers superior real-time monitoring and after-the-fact forensics as well as a wide range of add-on functionalities. But it limits the surveillance to watching. More and more business owners are discovering how they can optimize their IP-based surveillance systems by adding network loudspeakers at their premises.

So, why should you add network audio?

Why voice messages work

Stop unwanted activity with network audio speakersOne apparent reason is that it can help you stop unwanted activity as network audio speakers can communicate with the rest of the IP surveillance system.

For example, if you have IP cameras fitted with motion detection, an alarm is triggered when someone crosses a predetermined border. The alert can either be sent to a security operations center, where an operator can respond immediately and intervene remotely to deter incidents. The alarm can also activate a pre-recorded voice message in the network speaker itself, which is then broadcasted at the site.

Other examples of when the analytics could trigger an alarm are if someone is loitering within a clearly defined zone, or if someone is lying down on the ground for a prolonged period.

A potent security tool

One of Axis’ customers is Securitas Direct Sverige, a full-service security company that installs complete surveillance systems as well as provides intrusion alarms and services.

Using IP camera surveillance with network audio connected to their 24/7/365 security center, they have significantly reduced the number of incidents at their customers’ sites.

Below, Anna Holm, Marketing Manager with Securitas Direct Sverige, talks about the benefits of adding network audio to your IP camera surveillance.

“Today, Securitas Direct Sverige’s IP camera-based installations increasingly include network audio. The operators at our security center use live video footage in combination with live audio messages. It is a powerful tool in deterring intruders,” she says.

The personal message from the operator has a stronger effect on intruders than a camera with a pre-recorded voice message, even though this may be enough in specific applications. A message, such as “You in the grey hoodie and blue sneakers, you are not allowed to be here. Guards are on the way!” usually hits home.

Securitas Direct Sverige’s security center handles numerous interventions each day. With the help of live voice messages, they have reduced the number of incidents at their customers’ sites significantly.

Most businesses can benefit

“Depending on the necessity of the customer, we customize an action plan that sets what should occur in case of an incident,” Holm explains. “This includes calling the customer, sending a guard, and informing the police. Depending on the customer’s needs, the security operator can automatically broadcast a message, telling trespassers to leave the premises. In other cases, it may be relevant to be silent and monitor the incident, and to inform the police. If they are accessible and close by, they can arrest the intruder on site.”

“We see a growing demand for integrating audio in surveillance systems. It comes down to peace of mind for the customers”

Holm says that most sectors and locations can benefit from a solution that combines a security center with IP cameras and audio. For example, it’s useful in businesses that truly depend on their tools and machines for their operation, and where an intrusion could have a tremendous impact on the operation.

Some examples are construction companies, recycling plants, and farms. But it can also be useful in, for example, retail applications and to improve safety and security in cities.

Many installation and operation benefits

So, you can see that network audio can be a beneficial solution if you want to improve security. Even better, integrating audio in IP surveillance systems is straight-forward. You’ve already got the cabling, and since most of Axis’ equipment is based on open technology, it is easy to integrate with existing systems. Even if another supplier has provided your VMS (video management software) and IP cameras.

Another benefit is the possibility to tailor-make surveillance systems to individual end-user needs. If your requirements change, you can easily add more cameras or speakers, change their placement, or what kind of video analytics to use in the cameras.

Providing end-user peace of mind

Two-three years ago, network audio had something of a breakthrough, and an increasing number of customers are now looking to update their network surveillance systems. Anna Holm and Securitas Direct Sverige can see this clearly.

She says, “We talk to many satisfied customers, where our service, combined with audio, helped deter intruders. Word gets around, and we see a growing demand for integrating audio in surveillance systems. It comes down to peace of mind for the customers, knowing that they’ve got a state-of-the-art solution that will reduce the risks of, for instance, break-ins and the subsequent costs.”

Network audio the perfect addition