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  • 10 security management insights for the leisure and hospitality industries

  • 2016-08-25
IFSEC Global spoke to two security experts about the challenges and opportunities involved in running a security operation in the leisure and hospitality industries.

The 10 insights below come from Mat Thirtein, security consultant at ICU Security Group/SARC Virtual Guarding, and Keith Drummond, senior director of sales (Americas) for IDIS.

  1. Wise to harness legacy infrastructure in hotel IP deployment

Mat Thirtein: It’s worth noting that deploying an IP-based video solution in a hotel environment almost always involves adopting existing infrastructure and harnessing clients’ existing networks, except in a new-build situation. Otherwise, deployments can become cost-prohibitive.


  2. Inadequate legacy equipment versus complicated, expensive upgrades

Keith Drummond: Older and more established hotels, motels and meeting and conference centres all too frequently have legacy or budget camera installations reflecting either the age of the facility itself or budgetary restrictions.

While understandable, and hardly unusual, these can pose substantial challenges in conditions that are quite common to the hospitality environment, including darkness and low-light situations, unpredictable traffic patterns and the ebbing and flowing of crowds within fields of view.

Leisure environments often have crowd control requirements and an associated need for full-spectrum situational awareness

Such systems are challenged with providing appropriately detailed coverage in a mix of long corridors and hallways and expansive open spaces (lobbies, meeting rooms, parking lots, and garages).

The limitations of legacy and lowest-cost systems can be made painfully apparent in a critical moment, but the sheer size, scale and scope of the surveillance requirement in many hospitality environments can make the decision to upgrade complicated and cost-prohibitive to many.

  3. Behavioural rules preferred to rules-based VCA

MT: Hospitality and leisure environments are very busy with a high percentage of motion in many areas. This makes leveraging video content analytics more difficult. In these cases, behavioural (neural network based) rules tend to work better than rules-based VCA in areas with high foot traffic.

  4. Full-spectrum situational awareness

KD: In the leisure sector, similar factors – ageing security infrastructure, especially – can create similar challenges, with additional security and surveillance requirements. A comprehensive surveillance solution must facilitate useful business intelligence and agile operational support.

And beyond hotels and even conference centres, leisure environments often have crowd control requirements and an associated need for full-spectrum situational awareness.

  5. Enhancing business and operational intelligence

KD: The current and aggressively emergent opportunities in these sectors lie within the upgrading of legacy and inferior systems to high quality, high definition, high functionality offerings that leverage the latest in surveillance technology, including more megapixels, higher definition, 4K and the leveraging of advances such as H.265 to double either image quality or recording time, depending on requirements.

These and other technological advantages offered by latest-technology surveillance (such as advances in the agility and accuracy of point-and-zoom functionality) can facilitate real time enhancement of situational awareness, quicken response times, and capture valuable detail that can enhance everything from monitoring and tracking, to evidence collection, to advanced analytic capabilities that enhance business and operational intelligence.

t can be quite difficult to locate and track specific subjects in archived video when security guards are dressed identically


  6. Concrete business metrics

MT: Real opportunities exist in hospitality to provide advanced investigation and observation reporting services that provide concrete business metrics in areas that were traditionally very difficult to extract quantifiable stats from.

  7. Uniform factor

MT: When investigating incidents involving team members in a hospitality or leisure environment, the ‘uniform factor’ can present a challenge.  Both a literal and metaphorical consideration, it can be quite difficult to locate and track specific subjects in archived video when employees are dressed identically.

Employees wearing a uniform, especially those who share additional physical characteristics, pose specific challenges in surveillance environments without sufficient video quality and detail to positively differentiate.

  8. Union pushback

MT: Various dynamics that are relatively unique to a hospitality environment can also affect something as simple as camera placement. Pushback from unions is not unheard of when it comes to placing cameras in employee common areas, including areas that can be essential to gaining a full picture of employee behaviours and compliance, as well as situational awareness.

Working with a union to resolve such concerns is an additional layer that is not as common when crafting and installing security systems in other work environments.

Leasing equipment to clients as part of a specialized monitoring programme rather than selling the equipment outright gives value-adds for client and recurring revenue ops for providers


  9. Value-adds and recurring revenue

MT: A vendor can set themselves apart with creative payment systems, which stay under the radar in OPEX models rather than hitting CAPEX budgets.

Leasing equipment to clients as part of a specialized monitoring programme rather than selling the equipment outright gives value-adds for client and recurring revenue ops for providers.

  10. Going beyond traditional models

KD: To win in these sectors requires going beyond traditional models and thinking regarding video surveillance and understanding the value of facilitating enhanced business and operational intelligence in addition to first-class safety and security.

Those that can deliver highest-quality, world-class technology, and remain fully cognisant of budget considerations (particularly by providing a low total costs of ownership without sacrificing quality) will be the breakout stars as more advanced (and, at times, more expensive) solutions become the standard.

Companies that do this with creative and considerate pricing structures, such as those that eliminate recurring licensing fees to keep overall costs down, will, in turn, meet both the budgetary and technological requirements of the moment, and grow accordingly.