Closed circuit television is now being used not only for security purposes but to enhance a business’s efficiency by keeping an electronic eye on what staff are doing and how they are doing it.
The use of closed circuit television is widespread in many countries, chiefly for security reasons. However, Safeguard Security chief executive Andrew Mallon believes that, while CCTV is a valuable security tool, it can also be used as a valuable business management tool.
Safeguard Security, which has pioneered the use of technology in Zimbabwe to enhance security, is now offering a comprehensive CCTV monitoring service that embraces both security and business monitoring and analysis.
“This may sound a bit like Big Brother watching you. In a way it is but once employees know that their actions are being monitored, they tend to focus more on their work and to adhere to laid down procedures, resulting in greater efficiency and hence greater business profitability,” said John Woodward, who is directly involved in this operation.
“Clients already making use of this service have found that it increases productivity and enables them to improve procedures. Inefficiencies can be readily identified when day-to-day operations are observed on camera,” he said.
Safeguard is able to monitor live and review video recordings of what is happening at various companies’ business premises, where CCTV cameras are installed and linked to Safeguard’s monitoring centre. An instruction is prepared for each camera to monitor security, health, safety and management efficiency.
During the evening, Safeguard teams review the video footage of what has been happening during the day and prepare a report that is forwarded to the client the following day.
The radio alarm is linked to the cameras and when activated will indicate where the intrusion took place, the reaction crew are also briefed.
Woodward recommends that companies take advantage of the developments in information communication technology and use CCTV systems to the fullest.
Woodward not only believes that CCTV can improve efficiency within his clients’ businesses and has received confirmation of this from clients; he has proved it for himself within his own company.
“At Safeguard we have CCTV installed at all our offices, which we use for our own staff monitoring. We have realised many benefits from this. We also have CCTV cameras fitted in our cash-in-transit vehicles, enabling us to see what is happening both outside and within them,” he said.
He said one of the major benefits of CCTV business monitoring and analysis is behaviour change, as employees who know they are being watched focus more on their work and are deterred from doing non-work related activities.
He suggested that on-board CCTV cameras such as Safeguard has installed in its cash-in-transit vehicles would also be beneficial for haulage companies.
“While the use of CCTV for business monitoring is relatively new in Zimbabwe, it is already proving its worth,” Woodward said.
“The installation of CCTV reduces the number of security guards an organisation needs, resulting in cost savings in the long-term.
“Some hotels have replaced the traditional guards with CCTV systems after realising the benefits that come with them as well as the reduction in security costs in the long term.
“Likewise, companies that have remote sites no longer need to have a security guard manning the site as they can use a CCTV system with a V-Sat satellite link for data transmission,” Woodward added.
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