The effective protection of property, land, equipment and other high-value assets against the threat of vandalism and theft is a significant undertaking, and one that specialist security companies provide with good results – but, this is a costly and labour-intensive business, especially when larger areas need to be monitored.
The “status quo” of site security and its downfalls
Real time video surveillance has generally been provided with the use of CCTV systems, which consist of static cameras and a device to view the cameras’ footage. In terms of video transmission, there are three main technologies:
- Wired CCTV: The camera transmits its footage to a fixed monitor via a cable – the cheapest and most common form of CCTV, but is also a completely static solution
- Wireless CCTV: The camera transmits its footage to a laptop or mobile device via wireless technology – offers better mobility when compared to a wired device, but is only as reliable as your WIFI connection
- IP (Internet Protocol) CCTV: Similar in functionality to wireless CCTV systems, but the camera transmits its footage via a robust (hopefully) internet connection, allowing the footage to be monitored completely remotely, ie. in a control room
Whilst these systems are clearly effective in a range of scenarios, the static nature of the cameras themselves mean that a number of them need to be installed in strategically placed locations to get the necessary coverage. This is especially true on sites that cover a large area, with lots of potential access/exit points for an intruder. This leads to high initial setup costs and maintenance requirements. Whilst this might be good news for a CCTV installation company, it’s not great news for the end client who – as a result – might decide to enforce insufficient security measures, or worse still, no measures at all!
Traditional CCTV systems are also not the most practical solution for sites in remote, rural locations where internet connectivity can be a challenge.
Mobile patrols are often provided by specialist security companies as a supplementary service to a CCTV system, or where the site doesn’t lend itself to the installation of traditional CCTV systems.
They involve the deployment of accredited security officers to patrol their clients’ “at risk” sites. In general, this is an effective service for filling any gaps in the security workflow and is also a really good deterrent. However, security companies know only too well just how expensive it is to provide manned security – this is especially true when patrolling large areas, such as construction sites, where there could be a requirement for multiple officers to be on site at any one time. It also presents a human risk factor, insomuch that security officers could find themselves face-to-face with an intruder.
How drones are being used by security companies
The advantages of drones over traditional CCTV?
Mobility and maneuverability
Unlike traditional CCTV systems, drones, by their very nature, are extremely mobile and maneuverable pieces of kit, allowing them to capture footage from almost infinite vantage points. This is particularly useful to security companies as it allows them to capture high-quality footage across the entire site and are not restricted by fixed CCTV camera locations. Drones can also capture footage from much higher than most CCTV camera locations, which gives an unbeatable perspective of the site and what’s happening on it.
Impossible for intruders to plan against
Another advantage of the mobility of drones is the surprise element. We know that professional thieves will usually carry out a period of observation on their target sites to try and identify what security measures are in place. Clearly, a drone doesn’t have a fixed position, so is impossible for them to feature in the intruder’s detection avoidance plans.
Aiding in identification and prosecution
As a result of the drone’s maneuverability and exceptional camera technology, the operator is able to accurately position the drone and take high-resolution video and still images of the perpetrator at work, which could be particularly useful to the Police with identification and eventual prosecution.
Using drones for night patrols is not a problem either. Today’s equipment now offers fully integrated, dual-function cameras to record both visual footage (up to 4K definition) and thermal footage, allowing you to detect specific heat signatures on night patrols – for example, the presence of an intruder within the site boundary. Furthermore, some of today’s drones can also be fitted with a spotlight and/or loud speaker, so the drone operator is able to notify the intruder that their crime is being recorded.
The advantages of drones over mobile patrols?
More effective utilisation of security staff
Drones have the ability to monitor and detect anomalies over large areas in a fraction of the time it would take security officers on foot. In turn, this means that security companies can reduce the number of officers they need to deploy to site, meaning they have free capacity to take on more work with other clients.
Better service and price position
Fewer security officers on site certainly doesn’t mean a lesser service for the client – quite the opposite in fact! However, what it does do is reduce the price that you’ll be asking your client to pay to keep their facilities safe and secure against the threat of vandalism and theft. As a result, security companies who offer drone patrols have a very significant advantage over their competition and will win more contracts as a result.
Patrol more frequently
The fact that a drone can provide the status of an entire site in minutes rather than hours means that patrols can be conducted with much greater frequency. Ultimately, this means that the window of opportunity for intruders can be virtually removed all together.
How can your security company start using drones?
The process of implementing drones is actually much more straightforward that you might imagine, as long as you carry out the right steps, in the right order.
At RAWview, we specialise in the development and roll out of companies’ own drone operations, and we have all of the elements you need under one roof. From the supply of the necessary equipment, through to industry-leading flight training and accreditation to operate safely and within the rules.
If you’ve been considering drones for your security company, or if this article has suddenly “switched on a light”, we’d love to hear from you – simply get in touch by clicking here.