PTZ cameras were used predominantly outside the facility. “On the outside of the building you have fluctuation of movement,” said Durden. “Trucks coming in, people coming in. A lot of things are happening there. PTZ seemed to work better. It was economically smart. Instead of two or three cameras, you could use one PTZ and cover the same areas. Cameras can also be preset to focus on those areas I perceive to have potential problems, like monitoring the parking lots, especially after hours.”
Fixed cameras are used inside the warehouse, focused on specific, high-activity or high-interest areas. One such area is the visitor entrance. If an incident were to occur, it may be pertinent to know after the fact who came through the entrance during a specific time frame.
The entire installation took approximately five days and has been operational for about a year. But Durden stresses that it is an ongoing process. As business needs change, so do the requirements for security.
Not Just a Security Tool
The ability to observe what is going on in the warehouse via laptop from anywhere in the world provides an effective management tool. While Durden can watch for various protection concerns remotely during off shifts and weekends, he is quick to point out that the system is not exclusively a security tool. Facilities management uses it to monitor the shipping process and occasionally resolve disputes.
For example, if the warehouse finds a discrepancy in any of its shipments, customers want to know the cause and see the situation quickly rectified. Discrepancies can result from a number of things: a shipment may not actually have arrived, a shipment that arrived may not have been checked off on the manifest, or a shipment arrived, but was misplaced.
While the manifest itself provides one form of documentation, the playback from the video surveillance system can accurately pinpoint what happened. “It’s just another way of checking to ensure accountability,” said Durden. “So it’s not just about security, it’s also about accountability.”
The Milestone system can store images for several months, so past events can be instantly retrieved and displayed with just a few keystrokes. The information may be downloaded to CD if necessary.
Access to the system is limited to those who have legitimate need. If someone requires information regarding a particular incident, those individuals with authorization can review it for them. This is not an issue of trust, but rather a necessary control to ensure the integrity of the data.
Overall, Durden and his management counterparts are pleased with the Milestone system. “Customers benefit because they know their product is in a facility that’s secure, with smart security employees,” said Durden. “We can demonstrate that this technology is cutting edge.”
Eric Harne, CPP, is the principal consultant for Harne and Associates, a firm that specializes in security management communications. He has written extensively on a variety of issues in the security industry. Mr. Harne can be reached at email@example.com.