How surveillance can deliver improved threat detection and new levels of predictive maintenance support.
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Increasing customer demands, tight budgets, and new market entrants, aligned with new forms of technology, have prompted the energy and utilities sector to start taking digitization seriously, both from an operational and customer-facing perspective.
However, achieving new levels of system unification has presented the sector with a stumbling block – particularly for large-scale, mature utilities businesses with widespread physical infrastructure.
It is here that surveillance technology has the greatest potential. More specifically, it is where integrated surveillance command and control solutions can play a pivotal role.
Electricity, gas, and water are essential to national infrastructure. This critical service requirement – coupled with the fact that utilities sites are often remote, incorporate hazardous zones, and are highly secure – means the sector has historically been a heavy user and adopter of surveillance technology.
To date, however, the remit of surveillance in the sector has predominantly been focused towards security applications – cameras capturing physical breaches – and integrations rarely going beyond access control or perimeter security.
Aligned with the growing emphasis on digitization, however, surveillance monitoring and control technology is also now being perceived and adopted in a different capacity – as a unifier of all data.
Perhaps the biggest advantage that this approach affords energy and utilities businesses is that it enables data to be collated and understood as a whole. Utilities companies using these solutions can detect potential threats more quickly, and with greater accuracy, due to data from multiple sources providing a wider context.
Open architecture surveillance command and control solutions enable cameras, intruder alarms, fire/smoke detection, access control, critical asset tracking, process control, communications, and building management systems to be viewed, managed, and acted upon from a single user interface, encompassing one or multiple geographic locations.
For a sector with disparate legacy systems and a high physical asset base, this is a significant step forward in itself, as it immediately offers resource efficiency benefits – managing one system is quicker and simpler than managing several.
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