CCTV systems in hotels: what the digital future holds

The future in video surveillance in hotels is already here. Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) IP-cameras in the hotel bar, megapixel cameras at reception monitoring cash tills, and HDTV network cameras covering the main entrance are the trends in the industry. 

Virtual security walks with an iPad or smart phone are replacing analogue camera systems and conventional security procedures. With IP technology any camera can be monitored remotely from anywhere on the network.

Turning a passive recording CCTV system into an active monitoring station

Smart digital technology can support hotel security operations in different ways. Built-in video motion detection and alarm management increase the level of security. The sheer quantity of the recorded material means all of it cannot be watched or reviewed. A new approach is required to cope with the future challenges.

Technology has developed to where the system can now decide on its own when to send video sequences and alerts to an iPad. This is a great help, particular for night shifts. Audio detection and active tampering alarm systems, from AXIS for example, can be an interesting add-on feature.

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In this period of transition from analogue to IP-technology, some leading system providers offer hybrid technology where an existing camera system can still be used until it has to be replaced. The life span of modern CCTV-systems is usually 5 years and should not be over-stretched. In hotels CCTV-systems are often used for a longer period of time. 8 -10 years old camera systems are still in place and sometimes not even recording anymore. The use of dummy cameras is still quit popular too.

How this new technology supports hotel operations

The following scenario should sound familiar. It is late at night and the security guard is on duty in the lobby. He gets called away to keep an eye on the loading bay during laundry delivery. With new technology he can do both. The guard can also watch other areas remotely. With an iPad or a smart phone he is able to watch both exits at the same time and he can act, if required. This saves money in the long run, and allows hotels to be more flexible.

Another example that has been proven to be successful is the use of virtual surveillance during physical security walks. Guards cannot be everywhere all the time. This makes them and the security concept vulnerable. Now, while the security guard is on his security walk, the system will inform him when someone has opened an emergency exit door somewhere else in the building, for instance. A motion detector built into the camera detects when a door is opened or shut. Systems that allow the guard or the Duty Manager to remotely monitor key areas especially at night will help the hotel reach a high level of security.

In the case of an armed robbery, the security guard who is patrolling in a different part of the building at the time can be alarm alerted when the receptionist activates the panic button. The panic button can also be linked to the local camera on the front desk, which is transmitting a live-picture to his mobile device. Immediate intervention can then be executed and no valuable time will be wasted. It also helps the guard to keep an appropriate distance from the robber and to warn others to avoid the crime scene.

Connecting all systems is a smart solution. It is cost efficient and the best investment strategy.

Remote video solution

Intelligent cloud-based systems are the latest developments in the security industry. Remote Video Solutions is a real-time prevention approach. The software automatically identifies intruders and transmits video sequences to a control room at a security provider. The guard on the other end can monitor the event and alert the intervention team or the hotel management on-site. The guard can talk to the intruder through a PA-system and tell him that he is watched and that the police are already on their way. When budgets are tight and guarding is essential, then this is a cost effective option. Securitas, a leading security provider, is offering this innovative service in a full-service package.

For example, an intruder can be watched from the control room while trying to break into an luxury? car in a hotel garage that is not patrolled at night. With remote video solutions, the damage can be reduced to a minimum when guards are not on-site.

Unlock hidden potential in your business

It is just a matter of time until the new IP technology is used for marketing research in hotels. The retail industry has already discovered this new marketing instrument. CCTV cameras are able to count people going in and out and other cameras record certain movements within the store to find out which products get most of the attention. The collected data helps retailers to maximise sales and reduce costs at the same time. Hotels will benefit from this technology in the future to maximise sales in food & beverage outlets. The new IP-technology can help you unlock hidden potential business opportunities.

Creating great guest experiences

There is more you can do with IP-Cameras. For example, iPads have revolutionised our life in the last few years. In some hotels iPads are already integrated at reception and inform guests about the daily weather report or are used to receive feedback about the overnight stay. iPads are used as menu cards in some gourmet restaurants already. The iPad’s are linked to a live-camera in the kitchen. Guests can watch live how their meal is cooked.

The vision from experts

Some CCTV cameras are already identifying explosive substances and weapons at certain critical infrastructures. Looking a bit further ahead, we can expect this technology will be used in hotels as demand makes it more affordable. What sounds like a science fiction today will soon become reality.

High-grade infrared security cameras will boost the security ?level ??in each hotel

property. These cutting edge state of the art digital infrared thermal imaging cameras can provide the most helpful security footage in the darkest corners?.

Covert surveillance is the future in counter terrorism. Connected with an advanced face recognition system CCTV cameras will help us do the job of profilers and play a crucial part in hotel security when a high level of security is required. They will be used as a pre-warning system that will alert security teams. The captured images can be shared with local law-enforcement in real-time for further investigation.

About the author

Founder and Managing Director of Sky Touch Consulting, Stefan Vito Hiller, has over 20 years experience in the hotel industry including five years experience in the security field. He has worked for leading hotel brands in Munich, Frankfurt, Bremen, Berlin, Cork, Edinburgh and Doha in the Middle East.

When working for a leading global security company in Germany, Stefan developed their hotel and tourism security segment. In this position, he conducted overt and covert security audits, provided security training and developed innovative security solutions.

Stefan now consults to hotels to implement innovative and affordable strategies to raise their level of security to meet growing global demands.

Tags: CCTV, Security, webcams


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