Plato said “the beginning is the most important part of the work” and getting the most value from your IP video surveillance deployment starts with a clear understanding of your organization’s surveillance goals. This requires planning and the involvement of those members of your team that will play a role in the project and everyone of your staff member that will benefit from the IPVS deployment. This white paper outlines a simple three step process that should be followed in order to establish your goals for the video surveillance project; these steps are:

1. The Kickoff Meeting – or the opening meeting
2. The Questionnaire Phase
3. Summarizing the Results

To be sure, the success of your IP video surveillance deployment requires solid execution by your IPVS vendor across all project phases. Your vendor must ensure that your site survey and system design are prepared by experienced professionals, that your configuration incorporates ‘best of breed’ IP video surveillance products, that best practices are used during the installation phase and that project documentation and training are carefully prepared so that your team will be able to extract the most value from your new IPVS system; however, long before your vendor launches the site survey or system design phases, you and your organization should have a good idea of your goals for the video surveillance project.

Step One – The Kickoff Meeting

Gather the team members that will play a role in the video surveillance project or could benefit from its deployment and explain the circumstances that led to the launch of this initiative. Describe the process that will used for establishing project goals – (1) the kickoff meeting and its purpose, (2) the questionnaire that will follow and (3) a final opportunity to influence the direction of the project during the summary meeting.

During this kickoff meeting, invite all comments, ideas, and concerns about the project. It is important to create an environment where people share freely because the information gathered in this initial meeting (for and against) will allow you to identify critical needs, address all concerns ‘early on’, provide information of great value during the next phase – preparation of the questionnaire.

Step Two – The Questionnaire

What follows is an example of a questionnaire that Layer3 prepared for one of its customers in Southern California – we are using a fictitious name ‘Prestige Resort’ for the purposes of this white paper.

“Team, As discussed during our Kickoff meeting, we are asking that you take the time to answer a few simple questions about the video surveillance needs at Prestige Resort. The information you provide in this questionnaire, once ratified in the Summary meeting, will be turned-over to our video surveillance vendor who will in turn develop an outline of issues to be explored during the site survey phase and eventually during the system design phase.

Getting on the right frame of mind

Although typically associated with security, video surveillance systems have many uses that go well beyond risk mitigation. A more useful way to think about cameras, is to think in terms of information gathering devices; and of course, information in the hands of astute professionals can deliver GREAT VALUE in areas such as….

  • Operations: length of the line at the reception desk; inventory levels in stock room
  • Marketing: size of the crowd in the bar during happy hour
  • Safety: vehicles blocking fire lanes
  • Manpower Utilization: reassign someone to a more challenging role when that individual is charged with supervising an activity that could be monitored remotely with a camera
  • And of course, security and risk management…

The List of Monitored Areas

Now that we have a common framework for video surveillance, create a list of those areas (rooms or outside spaces or resort activity, let’s call these ‘the monitored areas’) where video surveillance could be beneficial for any of the reasons outlined above. Give each ‘monitored area’ a descriptive name and proceed to create a list of these. Include as many idea as possible at this time; this phase is supposed to be about ‘brainstorming’ – later, we can eliminate certain ideas based on budgetary constraints or other limitations.

Consider the following:

  • Think about areas that have cameras today and areas that do not
  • Areas near the administration building and remote areas
  • Think about situations where the camera could offer more than one benefit; example: monitor length of line at front desk PLUS capture the face of the perpetrator in the event the person manning the front desk was ‘held up’.

Once you have compiled your List of Monitored Areas (Exhibit A), fill out the short questionnaire (Exhibit B) for each monitored area you have identified; simply make as many copies of the ‘Questionnaire Form’ (see below) as you have items in your List of Monitored Areas.

Your supervisor will provide instructions on the process you will follow to submit your work (Exhibits A and B).

Step 3 – Summarizing the Results

For the third and final goal setting step, call a meeting where you summarize or have your IPVS vendor summarize the questionnaire results and present these results to your team. During the meeting, give everyone an opportunity to comment on the results and point out issues that may have been omitted or, in their view, portrayed incorrectly. This meeting represents the final opportunity to obtain team alignment before the project goals are cast in stone.

Once this meeting is over, put the finishing touches on the questionnaire results adjusting, if necessary, for the items discussed during the summary meeting. Congratulations! You have now created a document outlining your goals for the IP Video Surveillance project and in doing so, you have taken an important step towards a successful IPVS deployment.