CCTV Security Reaches the Cloud

The surveillance market can be afflicted with “highway hypnosis” thanks to its nature of staring at multiple screens for hours. DCRM solved this with CheckVideo’s cloud-based monitoring.

Landlords at this 10-unit low-income housing complex in Chelsea, Mass., are able to charge $25 more per month for each unit since implementing cloud-based surveillance.

Photos & Slideshow

Jason Knott · October 18, 2012

Similar to a driver getting “highway hypnosis” on long, endless roads there is a common occurrence in the remote CCTV surveillance world. Central station monitoring agents stare endlessly at static images of hallways, parking lots and empty buildings in an attempt to witness and stop illicit activity in real time. Often, they are looking at multiple monitors, each with one to 16 images. Needless to say, criminal activity is often missed, no matter how good the guard is at his job.

Moreover, video surveillance has been somewhat plagued by the slowness of obtaining video image evidence from an on-site DVR. When an unseen crime is later discovered, the video evidence can only be obtained by examining recorded images from the DVR during the timeframe in which the crime was thought to have occurred. That can take hours. Imagine if that happens while a family is on vacation for two weeks. That’s a lot of video to pore over, even if it is time-lapse.

These are just two reasons adoption of remote video monitoring has been slow, not to mention equipment and installation costs. Of course, the whole reason off-site video monitoring even exists is to save the client the cost of hiring an on-site security guard. But if the remote surveillance is faulty, what good is it?

Enter the future of remote video surveillance: where locations are equipped with cameras with video analytics to activate recording only when motion occurs, where IP-networked wireless (and hardwired) cameras can be quickly installed and communicate via Wi-Fi, and where no on-site DVR is installed but instead all recording is done via the cloud. But it’s not the future, it’s today.

Using this new technology, three Boston-area multi-dwelling unit (MDU) housing complexes have been able to eliminate guards, save on installation costs, offer real-time protection using loudspeakers to scare off potential bad guys, and have access to review recorded images for evidence and analysis much faster.

Security Helps 10-Unit MDU Landlord Raise Rent

Chelsea is an old Boston neighborhood that is past its prime. The area, near Boston’s Logan International Airport, is a mix of multi-story urban housing and small retail.

Tina Simolaris and Dave Dearborn of integrator DCRM believe cloud-based surveillance can be more efficient and cost effective.

When Dave Dearborn and Tina Simolaris of DCRM in Princeton, Mass., were brought in to consult on a 10-unit, three-story low-income apartment complex, the situation was dire. Behind the building there was “drug dealing, prostitution and all sorts of illegal activity is going on,” says Dearborn. Some of it was associated with tenants in the building directly behind the back alley, he says. Elsewhere, historically people would come up to the front door at all hours of the day and night and smoke.

That activity is why the small building had several security cameras, but even that was not a remedy.

“Previously we would do random guard tours remotely, but that’s a random event. More often than not, we had to rely on someone calling us, then we contacted the central station so they could chase them away over the loudspeaker or contact the police for dispatch,” says Dearborn. Often, the timing of the response was so slow that police weren’t even able to be dispatched, he admits.

The building has been secured with 10 cameras for the past three years, but in late 2011 DCRM layered in a cloud-based monitoring system from CheckVideo along with four analytical cameras.

“The property managers couldn’t afford to deploy a full 16-camera analytical system here and make the numbers work. It’s just tough,” says Dearborn. Using the four cameras connected to the cloud, the central station operator only sees images on his monitor when the analytics are activated, such as motion in a certain portion of the screen. The central station operator is using CheckVideo’s Professional Service that “watches” video 24/7 for events and sends real-time alerts to notify authorities of an incident.

The result is not only shorter response times and the ability to stop crimes in progress using voice warnings, but also efficient storage of the images so they can be accessed quickly for evidential purposes. CheckVideo stores the images on the cloud, while DCRM also gets a copy of all the recorded images to keep at its Princeton location.

  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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  Article Topics

Security · News · CCTV · Cloud · All Topics
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