Tangible Value Add

Competition is fierce. Manufacturers and integrators are constantly striving to increase revenue, attract new clients and improve customer loyalty. One of the easiest ways to do this is to offer unique after-sale services, such as video enhancement. The best part is that you don't need to purchase any up-front capital equipment, attend training, or even touch the client's equipment to make this service work for you and your customer.

Video enhancement turns hard-to-see video into something valuable to management, insurance companies and law enforcement. Small details become clearer and resolution noticeably improves. The point is, however, that clients are rarely aware that this service exists or what it costs. By adding video enhancement to your services, you can gain a unique advantage over your competition.

If you are a systems integrator, there are no changes in the way you design the client's video surveillance solution to get to this point. However, on their quote you might include one free video enhancement, valid for as long as you remain their security provider. Alternatively, you could include a free enhancement with your premium service contract. Your quote now offers a valuable security service that sets you apart from everyone else. I have personally used this tactic with great sales success.

If a crime or accident occurs at your client's business, they simply save the relevant video file. You can either perform the enhancement in-house or forward that file on to a professional lab.

Once you upload (or mail) the file to the lab, they will reply with a free enhanced image from that video so you can make an informed purchase decision.

What results should you and your client expect? Television programs tend to depict unrealistic results, but in most instances you can expect a doubling of resolution/clarity. Typically, this means that if you can almost make out one character of a car's license plate, the lab will likely recover the entire plate for positive identification purposes. If you think you can recognize the suspect's face, after enhancement it should become definitive.

The enhancement lab will also correct poor lighting, eliminate video noise and extract important still shots. If the captured video is out of focus, that too will be corrected during the enhancement process. If the recording includes audio, that will also be significantly improved.

Today's video enhancement technologies can isolate moving objects from the background and track faces for easy highlighting or blurring. In the future, video filters will be able to identify people by their unique physical features, behavior and even their stride.

A professional video enhancement only costs a few hundred dollars and there are no up-front costs since you only purchase the service at the time it is needed. You can also take advantage of significant discounts by purchasing a block of pre-paid enhancements for later use. If having access to enhancement services would help your business, the next step is to decide who will be your provider.

Since most enhancement labs cater to huge geographical areas, they typically avoid the subjective services (transcription, narration, re-creation, etc.) that may require regional court testimony. However, they are likely to offer authentication and tamper detection since those tests can be statistically quantified.

The most qualified companies will list audio/video enhancement as their primary function, provide free evaluations and use flat rate fees. Their rates will not be affected by the recording equipment used or the type of files provided, even when those files require a proprietary player.

The goal is to offer a very real benefit that generates a significant improvement in your sales and customer loyalty. Video enhancement is a unique, easy and low cost tool to increase your bottom line. For more information, search the Internet or visit http://www.ForensicProtection.com.

Doug Carner CPP/CHS-III, is the president of Forensic Protection Inc., Van Nuys, Calif.