One common non-security use of a security surveillance system is the sharing of cameras and video feed to monitor production and machinery in order to ensure equipment is running smoothly and/or for safety reasons. With a traditional analogue system, it was very difficult to create subsystems or to view cameras remotely.
Thus, in the analogue world, you would often see separate systems within the same facility being used for different purposes. With IP camera systems, it is now much easier to distribute and segment the video across the network to many viewers for various applications. The cameras can, for example, be virtually partitioned so that the production team has access only to the camera feeds specific to their application or location, and the security team has access to all cameras.
Sharing cameras also gives a person the ability to take a secured video feed and convert it so that it can be broadcast on the Internet. I have seen this type of feature used for city-traffic cameras, to show a beach or port’s weather conditions or to show off a company’s facilities from their website.
In similar respects, many video management systems (VMS) and IP cameras also offer bi-directional audio. Common security uses are IP intercom, pre-recorded warning messages and the recording of police interviews.
Lately, I have seen security software used for teleconferencing and remote learning/teaching. When I started in the security industry, people approached me for teleconferencing application. Concerned that security products would not meet the requirements of teleconferencing, I was hesitant to offer solutions — that was, until I received a demo of a teleconferencing system and realized that some systems designed primarily for security applications deliver the same, if not better, audio-enabled video. Since that time, I have seen several clients add one or two cameras to their security systems for the purpose of teleconferencing.
The list of non-security applications is endless and so are their benefits to end-users. Introducing non-security applications can be a clever way for the security department to add cameras to its system at no cost to its department, or as a split cost. In some cases, it could also allow for huge cost-savings since end-users need to invest only in one system and physical server for multiple applications. Additionally, in some instances, end-users can justify costs and obtain additional funding for more surveillance investments because of these non-security applications. And for the integrator, this just means there are more reasons to start talking about these other surveillance applications.
These are just a few different non-security uses for products primarily used for security. There are certainly many others, and creative integrators can think outside the box to expand their business, without having to learn about new products — just new applications.
Steve Bocking can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org