HD Cameras Allow Avigilon To Reduce Solution Costs And Improve Investigations
By Bob Johns, associate editor
Avigilon has once again been rated as one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America, according to Deloitte. I recently spoke with Keith Marrett, Avigilon’s VP of marketing and communications, to discuss how the company approaches video surveillance solutions for the retail environment.
Q: Avigilon has been able to capitalize on recent advancements in HD technology in video surveillance. Anyone who has had a chance to demo the new HD cameras can immediately recognize the benefits of digital vs. analog, but how does is translate into savings?
Marrett: One of the amazing benefits of HD cameras is the ability to cover more area with fewer cameras. Our technology is designed to capitalize on HD advancements from the ground up. When you consider small locations or “Mom & Pop” stores, being able to cover the entire store with two or three cameras can result in huge savings on hardware and installation costs. For big-box retailers, chains, or major users like casinos, the savings is exponentially greater. If you operate 500 stores, if you can eliminate four or five cameras at each location, and actually maintain or increase coverage, the capital expenditure drops significantly. This allows the retailer to shift those funds to other areas of technology that may need upgrading also. These new cameras can cover broader areas while actually having improved clarity even while zooming in. Being able to reduce the camera count has allowed Avigilon to remain competitive when competing for retailers’ business.
Q: Avigilon recently made some changes on the software side. What were those changes, and why did you make them?
Marrett: Consumerization was the key. As consumers have become more familiar with computers in everyday life, they have come to expect certain things, mainly simplicity and easy interfaces. We looked at our software, competitor’s software, and consumer products such as Chrome and Internet Explorer. The simplified user interface seemed to be the common denominator in successful products. We know we are dealing with everyone from a security guard to C-level executives, and each have their own IT abilities. We decided to make our user interface much more simple and easy to use. I want the security guard to be able to view an exception, mark it, and send it to his boss to take a look at within seconds, not clicking here, cutting, pasting, emailing, and waiting for a response. The simpler it is, the more people will use it. So far, the response has been phenomenal. Training time has been cut significantly, getting people going on the system, and able to conduct investigations, in under half an hour.
Q: You mentioned that you made it easy for a security officer or manager to go up-line with an investigation. How is this accomplished, and how does Avigilon do this differently?
Marrett: One major drawback of older systems is the inability to conduct simultaneous investigations. Normally, an investigator would cut and paste a clip to send to someone higher up. This person could view just that clip, and could not manipulate the video. Then the person would have to try to work back from there going through numerous clips. Now, the investigator can tag the video at a certain spot and send an alert to the higher-up. Now for the fun part. Everyone involved in the investigation has access to the same video and can manipulate it in real time. They can zoom, rotate, or do whatever they want all at the same time. It doesn’t matter if they are 500 miles apart. This is extremely beneficial since time is of the essence in most investigations. Being able to view the same video while speaking with other investigators, zoom in on the same areas, and focus on the same incident allows investigations to proceed quickly and with greater accuracy.