The growing value of video in cannabis security operations

Oct. 30, 2020
Since compliance requirements vary by state, cannabis businesses must evaluate their individual security needs and processes

If you've been keeping up with news and events over the past two years, you know that the cannabis industry is growing, so to speak. From California to Maine and beyond into Canada, state governments have moved forward with the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis (in fact, now more than 33 total states have approved marijuana for medicinal uses). On its current track, the global market is projected to reach $39.4 billion by 2023.

This market opportunity expands far beyond the companies that directly deal with the cannabis plant, with numerous adjacent businesses lined up to experience benefits. For example, providers of greenhouse equipment and fertilizers stand to benefit from this wave as well. But one area that tops the list of those that will experience growth potential from this market share is the security industry.

Cannabis providers are required to keep operations from seed-to-sale compliant and, therefore, turning to video surveillance to gain greater insight over their actions.

It's Not Only About Security

It's no surprise that video has become a staple of a modern vision of security, compliance, and data management; you'd be hard-pressed to find a public space, government building, or retailer without cameras to support their ongoing business and safety initiatives. An investment in video surveillance is typically a priority for grows and dispensaries to ensure they're meeting various regulatory requirements.

Video surveillance systems have a crucial purpose in the cannabis industry above and beyond product oversight: regulatory compliance at the government level. The cannabis industry must meet stringent regulations around how they manage their operations and compliance reaches into the video surveillance deployments. Requirements vary by geographic region but all outline minimum camera specifications, such as which areas of businesses need to be recorded, and how long data needs to be kept, and even frame rate requirements – among other provisions.

But beyond security and compliance, video can be leveraged to provide long-term value. Advancements in video surveillance systems allow deployments to have far more than just a collection of cameras recording hours of activity and providing 24/7 monitoring. Intelligent video analysis empowers organizations to identify a specific event — or in other words, an anomaly, characteristic, or incident — that is deemed necessary. Rather than searching through hours of non-critical footage, you can use video analytics — powered by artificial intelligence — to pinpoint the event you need to see when you need to view it.

Intelligence Gained Through Video

Video analytics help users gain the most relevant information at any given time. Any moment deemed significant within a designated environment generates data that can then be turned into intelligence, facilitating immediate action and a resolution. For example, if you want to be notified when an individual crosses over a certain threshold of your facility, you can set up line crossing and be alerted when this action occurs.

Analytics is exceptionally paramount in facilities when integrated with seed-to-sale software. When you imagine the overwhelming amount of information obtained from various systems and devices in these environments, tracking everything and staying ahead of the game may feel like a daunting task. But by leveraging video intelligence, management personnel can locate associated video within specific search parameters, such as a plant tag ID, order number or strain, and enable quick and easy identification of the desired data for ensuring compliance or closing investigations. And exceptions from environmental sensors for factors such as humidity, carbon dioxide levels, water flow, and more can be tied in. This data can arm security teams and operations managers with the kind of intelligence they need to quickly make informed decisions.

Going Beyond the Grow House

Video can be a valuable tool outside the growing area as well. An additional element of safety that is incredibly important to consider is the supply chain. Cannabis businesses require secure transportation to move products between growing operations, warehouses, retail locations, and other facilities. So, there’s also an opportunity to incorporate video surveillance to help ensure streamlined transit tracking and monitoring so that operators can keep an eye on transit operations. Since compliance requirements vary by state, cannabis businesses must evaluate their individual security needs and processes and partner with a video surveillance provider to outfit them with the right solution. But deploying an innovative and integrated video system is a great place to start. It can enable cannabis companies to improve response time, ensure the utmost reliability, and secure this valuable product.

About the author: Stuart Rawling is the Vice President of Technology and Customer Engagement for Pelco.