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Why hire CCTV Consultants?

If you can afford for your CCTV to let you down just when you need it to deliver, fine, don’t waste more money hiring a consultant who’s capable of making sure it’s working properly. However, should that thought cause you sleepless nights the next five minutes reading are definitely right up your street. 

So how will hiring a consultant change things for the better? Well, let’s remind ourselves of some very common issues.

How often are CCTV pictures found to be poor or useless? Often a CCTV specialist’s customers have a naïve expectation borne of watching tv drama like ‘Spooks’ and ‘CSI’ that poor pictures can be enhanced enough to be useful. The vast majority can’t, so ‘those responsible’ may become the focus of their disappointment. Sub-standard pictures result from badly adjusted lenses, poor lighting, inadequate recording equipment, etc. Unrealistic design briefs, inexpertly compiled technical specs or shoddy installation and maintenance are often to blame.

Simon Lambert trapped inside a monitor

To avoid these pitfalls you need a competent expert on your side. You can still play the Lone Ranger and claim the glory if you’re brave enough, but you’ll be glad that a Technical Tonto is also there to quietly save you from hidden quicksands.

But, I hear you end-users cry, our CCTV company provide that expertise as part of their service. Think. If your installer/maintainer is so reliable then how come they let you suffer the aforementioned embarrassments? After years conducting training courses I’d estimate that 95% of engineers coming into the classroom simply don’t understand how to set up your CCTV properly. This would be less of a worry regarding your paper towel dispensers, for instance. But this is security, so we should all be very concerned at this sorry state of affairs.

People are often oblivious to their problems. An independent expert can unearth all sorts of important issues that have gone unnoticed and threaten to deliver you a nasty surprise one day. CCTV is undeniably technical involving electronics, physics, operational and legal issues. Systems are expensive to establish and run so the cost of this ‘insurance policy’ will be small beer in comparison, and a very wise investment. Indeed, it can more than pay for itself by saving the costs of unnecessary replacements and upgrades touted by partisan salesmen. Does their product do what the glossy leaflet promises? Very often not, but only impartial CCTV consultants skilled and properly equipped to test it will uncover this and present you the real figures before you decide to part with real money. These are very rare creatures, so look carefully.

Beyond taking all these tasks off your plate, and carrying the can for them, there are other advantages. It’s strange but true; things you’ve told your organization for years but get consistently ignored are somehow heeded when the consultant arrives and says the same things. Albeit galling; now your message gets through. Result.

So, how do you choose the right consultant? Type “CCTV consultant” into Google and all sorts will come up. Those listed range from science graduates to ex-police/military. Clearly their individual experiences may suit different assignments. Unashamed ‘techies’ good at hunting salesmen’s snake-oil and the engineers’ shortcomings have trained differently from ‘non-technical’ people who are more used to writing Codes of Practice or team management. Be aware that when they are vying to win business even consultants can be prone to claiming glory for projects to which they made a limited contribution at best. Caveat emptor.

So, can having the guts to hire a good consultant fix your CCTV’s shortcomings? Highly likely, if you heed their good advice. If ignored and trouble ensues please don’t make them scapegoats. Worryingly, some bodies shun “consultants” on the basis of one unsatisfactory case. Isn’t that simply cutting off their nose to spite their face? Now you know how to sleep soundly.

Until next time; stay focused.

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