Articles by Larry Chay
Small business owners work hard. They are often the first ones there in the morning and the last to leave at night. Even then, they likely bring their work home with them. During that time, everything they do is aimed at making their business as successful as possible. Because of this, many business owners don’t take vacations, and if they do, they spend a lot of time worrying about their business while they’re away. In both cases, the potential for burnout is tremendously high. The primary concern for these individuals is loss, whether from theft, waste, vandalism or other causes. Depending on the degree of the loss, it can have a devastating effect on small business. Therefore, professional security solutions must be top of mind for these businesses. Small business owners can take advantage of advanced technology that can help them work smarter, not harder Video surveillance for small businesses One technology that can address loss, the feeling of helplessness that comes from not being on site and more is video surveillance. Sadly, it’s not always on the radar for small business owners, many of whom think video surveillance is very expensive and out of reach. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are high-quality, relatively inexpensive solutions that don’t require much, if any, configuration, allowing an installer to place cameras, run cable, plug cameras into the recorder and use software to get end users up to speed on remote access. Best of all, almost all of these solutions come with a mobile app or other means of accessing video—both live and recorded—remotely from a smartphone or tablet. In a world where our phones have become our lifeline to a lot of information, including email, banking, inventory management and more, a security system simply has to provide this type of access. Given the availability of cost-effective video surveillance solutions and their ease of use, small business owners can take advantage of advanced technology that can help them work smarter, not harder in a few key areas. Video surveillance solutions come with a mobile app for accessing video remotely from a smartphone or tablet Efficient incident monitoring Having a high-quality video surveillance system with proper coverage means that any time an incident or loss occurs, a small business owner can go back and find it on the video and identify exactly what happened. For example, if something goes missing from a retail store, reviewing the video will reveal exactly what happened, when it happened, how it happened and—depending on lighting, camera resolution and field of view—possibly who took it. Video systems can also be valuable from a liability perspective. Slip-and-fall claims are not uncommon, but in many cases they turn out to be false. Thankfully, cameras can provide video that will support or refute a claim. Without video, such incidents could be costly for small businesses. A simple review of recorded videos will solve any mystery and eliminate the potential for a long argument with no evidence Video recording for incident verification Another example would be a customer who claims they were shorted on the change they received from a cashier. Rather than taking the time to count the money in the drawer and reconcile that with receipts, a small business owner could simply review video from a camera placed above the point of sale to determine if the customer’s claim is correct or if they may have been mistaken. This feature can also help alleviate or avoid a potentially awkward or difficult situation when there’s a difference of opinion with a supplier. Say for instance a delivery driver claims he or she brought three cases of product to the back door, but there are only two cases in the stockroom. A simple review of the video that’s been recorded will solve the mystery once and for all and eliminate the potential for a long, drawn-out argument with no evidence one way or the other. Smartphones for remote monitoring It’s natural for small business owners to feel stressed when they’re not at their physical location. After all, they’re the ones who have invested in the business and are responsible for making sure it runs smoothly and profitably from day to day. For small business owners with surveillance systems, vacations can become not only a reality but also the relaxing time they are supposed to be. For small business owners with surveillance systems, vacations can become not only a reality but also the relaxing time Rather than sitting on a beach and worrying about whether the store opened on time or if employees are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, an owner can pull out his or her smartphone, log in to remotely to the video system and know for sure. That peace of mind is invaluable for small business owners. This is also helpful for business owners with multiple locations. Because no one can be in two—or more—places at once, a video surveillance system can provide eyes and in some cases ears at a location, which can be accessed at the click of a button. Video surveillance for training For a small business, it’s imperative that employees follow established policies and that staffing levels are maintained at the most efficient level possible. These are two other areas where video surveillance can help. If a small business owner sees that something isn’t being done properly, whether by a single employee or if the problem is more widespread, he or she can use video for training purposes. They can sit down with the employee or employees to review the video and explain the proper policies and procedures. Conversely, video can be used to demonstrate proper techniques or even to recognise employees for a job well done. From a staffing standpoint, reviewing video could reveal unexpectedly busy or down times Maintaining staffing levels From a staffing standpoint, reviewing video could reveal unexpectedly busy or down times. A business owner can review video from 3 p.m. on a Saturday to see how many customers are in a location and determine the ratio of employees to customers. Looking at a variety of times over a period of weeks or months could help determine optimal staffing levels, which may lead to the decision to increase staffing on Saturday afternoons when a store is busy. This will help improve customer experience and potentially increase sales. Motion detection for accurate access control Cameras can be deployed with motion-detection sensors to alert business owners when someone enters a certain area, whether during or after business hours. In many cases, detected motion can trigger an alert and/or a video clip to be sent to the business owner’s smartphone so they can review and verify whether something is out of the ordinary. These deployments could be set up to monitor a variety of locations, such as an office, safe, doors and other sensitive areas at all times or just during specific hours. If motion is detected during off hours, the business owner can view video and alert police that an unauthorised individual is at their business. Surveillance videos can be used to demonstrate proper techniques or even to recognise employees for a job well done Cybersecure video surveillance systems From a cybersecurity perspective, manufacturers are constantly releasing firmware updates to protect cameras from malware and/or unauthorised intrusion. Once someone has accessed any device, all systems and devices connected to the same network become vulnerable. Updating these devices tends to be an afterthought for small business owners, who may either forget or simply not have the time to do it. So it should come as no surprise that these important updates often go uninstalled. Today’s advanced video systems overcome this obstacle with easy updating, which can be performed by small business owners or installers to ensure constant protection. Other systems are available with auto-updating capabilities, which remove the onus from small business owners completely. Today’s advanced video systems overcome cyberthreats with easy updating Cost-effective surveillance solutions These are just a few of the many benefits video surveillance systems offer small business owners. What’s important to note is that for each to be successful requires having to have the right camera for the right environment. For instance, a camera positioned at the back door of a business has to have wide dynamic range to deal with changing light levels throughout the day. A camera used to monitor transactions must offer high enough resolution to identify bill denominations. Today’s solutions are cost-effective, easy to use and offer the flexibility to monitor operations from anywhere at any time – giving small business owners the power to work smarter, not harder to grow their bottom line.
Axis Communications, a provider of network video, has announced its participation in this year’s Small Business Saturday, taking place on November 25th. Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting local small businesses while strengthening and celebrating communities across the country. Support for small businesses To support Small Business Saturday, Axis will be actively encouraging employees across the U.S. to shop at local small businesses in their communities leading up to and on November 25th. These efforts and stories from existing small business customers will be shared on Axis’ social media accounts to encourage others to do the same. Last year, Axis launched AXIS Companion - a comprehensive ‘out-of-the-box’ network video solution designed to help small businesses address their unique security needs. The affordable solution has expanded to include a new 360-degree camera, which accommodates the varying surveillance system requirements of small businesses. Small Business Saturday’s history “The holiday shopping season is a time to support our communities and the small businesses around us. Axis is proud to be a supporter of Small Business Saturday and is excited to participate for the second consecutive year,” said Larry Chay, Small Business Program Manager, Axis Communications, Inc. “We’re happy to offer small businesses our support, advice and expertise when it comes to securing their space and improving operational efficiencies.” Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kick-off to the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States. In 2016, 112 million shoppers showed their love for their favourite spots, and spent a reported $15.4 billion at small businesses. Culture and community Axis Communications recognises the importance of supporting small businesses, the jobs they help create, and the culture they instill in local communities. According to the U.S. Small Businesses Administration, as of 2015, small businesses nationwide accounted for 65.2% of net new private-sector jobs created and represented 99.7% of firms with paid employees. Merchants and consumers can learn more about Small Business Saturday and how to get involved by visiting ShopSmall.com.