Video surveillance for small businesses – not just for catching bad guys

One of the best things about working with small businesses is seeing the wide variety of scenarios where technology can be such a help to owners and managers, and then how a simple investment ends up having a myriad of other uses.

One of my favorite examples is that from Elise Ogden and Amy Telzrow, owners of Raw45 Boot Camp, a small fitness studio in Wheaton, Illinois. Days at the gym start early with some employees arriving as already at 4:15 a.m. to prepare for morning classes. Others leave very late at night after cleaning and locking up.

Unfortunately, they had a few situations when employees didn’t feel safe, so Elise and Amy invested in a video surveillance system to address safety concerns. What was initially seen just as a security tool quickly became useful for other things, too. For example, because the video recordings were easy to access from smartphones and tablets, trainers coming in to teach an evening class could quickly review what had been taught in the morning class to ensure consistency for their customers.

What I love about this is – I doubt Elise or Amy would have thought that reviewing video content between classes would have been a compelling reason to buy a video surveillance system. But now that they have it they are able to do what small business owners do best – focus on their passion and innovate in their field of business to get the maximum return on their investment.

More than just a security tool

Axis Communications SMBJeff Marsh who runs Charcoal Grill – a chain of nine restaurants spread across Wisconsin – is one of those business owners that personally checks in on several of his restaurants every day. But he can’t be everywhere all the time. Initially he had a video surveillance system installed for general security. He loves that he can keep an eye on his growing food empire from his iPhone or laptop, being able to check in real time which restaurants are busy and which might need his personal attention.

And just as Elise and Amy discovered, he found the system had unforeseen benefits. On one occasion a customer filed a personal injury lawsuit against Jeff after an alleged slip and fall accident took place in one of his restaurants. By reviewing his video surveillance footage, he was able to prove in court that the incident never even happened. A potentially damaging lawsuit was thrown out and Jeff could get back to making his famous burgers (be careful – they are addictive!)

Most business owners only initially think of video surveillance as a security tool. But, as Jeff, Elise and Amy found there are many ways that it can be used to help manage and grow a small business.

I would love to hear your stories about how you are using video surveillance in your business. Please share in the comments section below. Thanks!

Read more about Axis end-to-end security solutions for small systems.