The Benefits of Adding Audio to Your Video Surveillance Solution
Audio solutions can be used for numerous applications; enhancing video surveillance as a deterrent to crime, helping deal with incidents ahead of arrival by first responders, providing guidance and instruction, and effectively adding another ‘sense’ to surveillance.
An effective deterrent to crime
As a deterrent to potential crime, vandalism and anti-social behaviour, live and pre-recorded audio announcements are more effective and efficient than standard sirens. Live call outs are highly effective in monitored surveillance systems, where operators can give detailed instruction based on the specific situation, or issue warnings.
When video surveillance operators identify an individual committing or looking likely to commit a crime, the ability to issue a warning to that specific individual is highly effective. “To the young man in the blue jacket and baseball cap, holding a can of spray paint, be aware that you are on camera and that graffiti is vandalism and illegal…” is likely to stop them in their tracks.
In non-monitored video systems, pre-recorded announcements can act as a far more useful alert than a traditional siren. For instance, when someone breaching a perimeter is automatically detected by video surveillance, whether on purpose or accidentally, pre-recorded audio warnings can demand that they move away, without any intervention from an operator. This can reduce unnecessary guard call-outs, decreasing costs to organizations by saving on wasted man hours, use of resources and the need for as many full-time guards to be on call.
Adding audio’s ability to ‘hear’ to visual surveillance can provide an additional sense and a useful alert to camera operators. The sound of breaking glass or raised, angry voices can give early warning of an incident that can then be dealt with through audio announcements or, if more serious, deployment of security guards or emergency services.
In a parking lot, for instance, the sound of breaking glass can alert operators to thieves, and in the same environment, the use of pre-recorded announcements with greetings or instructions regarding exits and directions can alert everyone that video surveillance is in operation, helping the public feel safe and deterring potential criminals ahead of thefts being committed.
Preventing loss and supporting sales in retail
In the retail sector, similar announcements could be used when, for instance, members of the public have been seen exiting store the wrong way, which often can be a sign of shoplifting. Additionally, smart sensors embedded in cameras can spot a customer dwelling at a display - which might relate to them needing help, or possibly looking for an opportunity to shoplift - triggering a pre-recorded announcement informing them that a store representative will be with them shortly and notifying in-store staff. This increase in the speed and quality of service can make the difference between a lost customer and a valuable sale, and also help with loss prevention, with thieves being alerted that they are being watched.
Immediate proactive reaction to incidents
In situations where citizens might be panicked or unsure what to do – whether in evacuating a building or public area, or at the scene of an accident – pre-recorded and live announcements can deliver clear instructions, bringing calm where there might otherwise be chaos ahead of the arrival of first responders.
With skilled operators, live audio could even potentially be used to issue basic instructions to deal with injuries, reducing the potential or more serious conditions.
An enhancement with exponential benefits
Adding audio to an existing video surveillance solution is a straightforward and cost-effective enhancement, but one which brings benefits that far outweigh the additional investment. The ability to deter numerous types of crime, react faster and more effectively to incidents, increase sales and customer satisfaction, and provide direct instruction, guidance and advice creates more value from a solution than video alone. And with all-in-one speaker systems combining all elements into a single unit, and easy integration with any video management system (VMS), installation is simple.
Isn’t it about time you explored the benefits of sound?