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Monitoring and security, expanding services

Monitoreo y seguridad, servicios en expansión

Together with a group of experts we analyze the present of this industry and its main strengths.

by Security Sales

The monitoring industry is responsible for receiving, reviewing, managing and operating correctly the information provided by the different electronic security technologies, in addition to the efforts of physical security.

In previous articles we already talked more specifically about technologies such as video analytics and access control, but it is inevitable to bring these topics back to discussion, only now we will analyze them from the opinions of experts who are immersed in the subject of monitoring and surveillance.

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For this article we have the participation of Daniel Banda, CEO of SoftGuard; Mr. Joel Camacho, from SISSA Monitoring, and Giovanni Gutiérrez, Account Executive of Agent Video Intelligence.

In principle, our guests shared their vision of the monitoring sector in Latin America and the impact of the pandemic. For example, Daniel Banda commented in this regard that "the last decade has witnessed an important expansion of security and surveillance services in Latin America, we know that in the activity of monitoring and surveillance in Latin America technological disruption prevails, where the market changes rapidly, so we can observe that companies in general are growing in technologies focused on facial recognition, use of mobile applications and contact-less tools to safeguard and protect people's lives."

For his part, Eng. Joel Camacho stressed that the growth of the monitoring and surveillance sector in Latin America has been constant and has been derived from technological advances and the operational demand of different industries and citizens.

"During the last decades, the link between video surveillance systems and infrastructure and public security has deepened in unthinkable dimensions. Security policies have systematically incorporated all kinds of solutions based on cameras, monitoring centers and many other technologies aimed at crime prevention, such as those focused on tracking events and collecting data, which, beyond working in parallel to CCTV monitoring systems, have complemented them; such is the case with panic buttons, smart cards, GPS devices, biometric identification documents, mobile phones, the internet and social networks."

However, Giovanni Gutiérrez, on this subject, has a vision that contrasts a little from the previous ones: "Latin America has minimal growth in the private sector. But it has remained constant. The pandemic has caused growth to shift to the government sector and reduced private sector investment in this area. Most of the new projects come from governments across LATAM."

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An ideal project where monitoring and video surveillance converge
Our guests highlighted some aspects about what a project ideal should look like, what technologies it should have and what concepts it should use to meet the goals for which it was intended.

Giovanni says that "the ideal project where monitoring and video surveillance converge is one in which we want to enhance and reduce the human component of monitoring and video surveillance."

Daniel Banda recognizes the prominence that monitoring and video surveillance has reached in cities, especially in pandemic, and highlights the implementation of technologies as a fundamental part of that growth.

"The installation of cameras for temperature surveying in all types of projects was one of the most requested services, both in the public and private sectors. But video surveillance without an active and efficient monitoring service fails to solve the whole problem. In the case of government users, empowering the citizen with an app like SmartPanics of the SoftGuard Safe Municipality program that allows the reporting of all types of emergencies by incorporating the precise location on the map of the person, and adding the images and photos that the same person sends along with the alarm report, has been the differential value for many municipalities to implement technology designed for the neighbor, obtaining consequently the collaborative participation towards the safety of their own community".

For his part, Joel describes below his recommendations on this specific point highlighting the importance of a complete and integrative system by different solutions.

"Among the state-of-the-art technologies that must be implemented in these monitoring rooms are fire detection systems, access control systems, environmental audio systems, videowalls, videoconferencing systems, CCTV systems, air conditioning systems, solar panels, UPS, emergency plants, land systems, computer equipment and, in order to control the main variables of these systems, an integration platform. In this way it is intended that each monitor can receive or send information to any destination efficiently. Therefore, the monitoring rooms will have all the technological and comfort tools necessary to achieve optimal operational results on a daily basis."

Analytics in monitoring services
Our three invited experts agree on the importance of this technology for the ideal operation of an optimal monitoring service.

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Joel, from SISSA, stressed that "video analytics optimizes the actions carried out by a video surveillance system and a control center, thanks to the fact that its algorithms obtain intelligent information from the images captured, making it possible to make decisions about the actions to be applied in case of any anomalous circumstance. In other words, video analytics allows surveillance systems to reach a much higher level of efficiency."

Dani Banda of SoftGuard said: "Within electronic security, video analytics is very important and we see that it has been evolving steadily over the last decade. In Latin America, the monitoring and security services companies that have implemented it have been able to operate more efficiently and respond to alerts with optimal analysis and greater accuracy than those that have not implemented it. Therefore, they raised the level of quality of the service provided and expanded their business volumes."

Giovanni, from Agent VI, highlights the return on investment generated by the use of analytics: "Analytics increase the return on investment by effectively using the video captured by the video surveillance system. It can spend thousands of hours faster than a human. It can also deliver valuable information to other parts of an organization to provide a multi-purpose system."

False alarms
We consulted the guests on this point and mentioned if the issue of false alarms is still "a stone in the shoe" for the monitoring niche. Experts recognize that this problem will continue to occur, but that the goal is to reduce it to minimum possibilities, for example with human intervention that remains key in the processes of receiving and dispatching signals in an alarm receiving center, as Dani Banda commented.

"Analytics have steadily improved and reduced the number of false alarms. So while it may still be a stone in the shoe because no one can have 100% accuracy, the size of the stone is definitely tolerable to the point that it can still reach its destination," said Giovanni Gutierrez.

Meanwhile, Joel shares some recommendations to reduce the chances of false alarms: "The consequence of a false alarm is the activation of reaction protocols to security forces, starting with the operators or monitors of the control and command center. However, we can avoid or reduce false alarms by performing the following actions:
1- Calibrate the detectors or analytical well so that they do not give false positives.
2- Secure the access points, preventing open door detectors from being activated if they are opened by external factors.
3- New employees have to know the security system: how it is operated, how it is disconnected and where the sensors are located.
4- Perform good maintenance and replace equipment that is malfunctioning.

The human factor in the monitoring service
It is no secret that new technologies, in many sectors, are displacing the trade that people previously executed. In the case of monitoring services, it seems that it is another industry that will possibly reduce its staff to implement technological solutions that execute more work.

This is how Eng. Joel, from SISSA Monitoring, visualizes it: "Just as computers and other machinery made us reflect on a leisure society, the current technological advances in monitoring announce the continuous decrease in the need for labor. While automation, mechanization, robotization, and computerization are processes that are typically associated with progress, they are also directly related to reduced employment. However, while many continue to anticipate alarming scenarios for the labor market, technological progress has generated great contributions in new and diverse areas, improving and strengthening operational productivity."

For his part, Giovanni Gutiérrez, from Agent VI, highlights the importance of the human being in the effectiveness of a monitoring service. "Human operators are the key component of analytics. They are the ones who can determine what to do with the information provided by analytics. It would be very difficult to eliminate the human component, because they are the ones who know what to do with that information to make it more beneficial in monitoring and video surveillance. There are more positive implications than negative ones."

And finally, Dani Banda, CEO of SoftGuard, rescues the value of the human in monitoring projects: "The question that underlies this phenomenon is whether technological innovations are a source of exclusion for workers or if, on the contrary, they open new employment opportunities. In physical security services (guards) the cost of supervision can be reduced, which in most companies can be brought almost to zero by implementing mobile technology, as in the case of the Vigicontrol App for the control of rounds and online auditing. In this case, humans would not be replaced by technology but they are given a technological tool to make their work more efficient and the lending company receives great savings in operating and resource costs."

Key aspects to successfully develop a monitoring project
Our guests shared a series of recommendations for integrators that they suggest be taken into account in the elaboration of a monitoring and surveillance project.

- Joel Camacho, SISSA Monitoring: "There are multiple aspects to consider to successfully develop a monitoring project, so it is necessary to ask the following questions as part of the planning process: How many cameras should be installed and what type should they be? Where will the cameras be located? How much specialized monitoring staff is required? Will critical infrastructure, HVAC, UPS and/or emergency plants be installed? What will I monitor? What alternative security systems will be implemented to strengthen? Will there be furniture and commissioning?

In addition, it is important to finish with an accurate risk analysis and a maintenance plan that includes all the components and defines the necessary assistance to ensure the optimal functioning of the solution 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Daniel Banda, SoftGuard: "Without a doubt, the key aspect revolves around protecting the person before the assets. Projects are and will be successful as long as the greatest object of protection is the lives of individuals in all types and sizes of public or private communities."

Giovanni Gutierrez, Agent IV: "The most important thing to keep in mind is to price projects correctly so that they are competitive and profitable at the same time."

Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Author: Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Jefe Editorial en Latin Press, Inc,.
Comunicador Social y Periodista con experiencia de más de 16 años en medios de comunicación. Apasionado por la tecnología y por esta industria. dchaverra@latinpressinc.com

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