TSTT talks security surveillance

Above: Raymond Villafana, Manager of Operations and Special Projects in TSTT’s Government, Security and Directory department. Photo courtesy TSTT.

Closed Circuit TV systems (CCTV), body-worn cameras and smartphones have given people an unprecedented front row seat into episodes of the best and worst of people. At a recent security conference hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce, bmobile shared some of its latest CCTV technology with participants, focusing on how this technology helps to prevent and solve business challenges in a growing multi-million dollar industry.

The high tech security cameras that are in the market today serve as surrogate security personnel but there is a very human element to how they are deployed in businesses. “Building a CCTV solution with bmobile starts with an in depth discussion with the business owner to understand what is the problem they are trying to solve or the risk they are trying to eliminate” says Raymond Villafana , Manager of Operations and Special Projects in TSTT’s Government, Security and Directory department.

bmobile has deployed CCTV solutions in a wide spectrum of commercial environments. “We do not supply one-size-fits-all systems. From government, to oil and gas, manufacturing, National Security and retail, we have to custom design the solution for our customer.”

“After a site visit, we factor in the size of the area to be covered, indoor and outdoor positions, number of cameras needed, movement of people, the physical assets or at-risk activities to be monitored, blind zones, even how much days of storage they wish to backup their video footage. And that is just for starters.”

Villafana said that state of the art CCTV systems can be configured to perfectly suit the unique needs of each customer. “The most visible parts of the system are the cameras but even those can be concealed based on what best serves the security objectives of the customer.” Villafana explained that cameras can come in many different shapes and sizes from almost invisible Pinhole cameras to PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) cameras and they support high definition video quality.

All of the cameras have programmable features that are designed around the customer’s response to the question ‘What do you want to achieve with your CCTV system?’ Villafana explained that CCTV software can be configured for facial recognition, number plate recognition, counting people, tracking motion even detecting items left behind. “The cameras can scan a designated zone and the software can detect if an object has been added or removed from the zone and trigger a message alert for the owner.”

At the T&T Chamber security conference, Villafana said participants were amazed at the motion tracking features that were demonstrated. Bmobile displayed three common types of cameras, the PTZ, Bullet Cameras – so called because of their shape, and Dome cameras.   “Pan Tilt and Zoom (PTZ) cameras are the most versatile type” said Villafana.

Theft of an automobile wing mirror captured on surveillance camera.

He explained that the articulated mechanism makes these cameras ideally suited for areas like carparks and streets where it can have extended, unobstructed sightlines. “These cameras can be remotely controlled to scan a 360 degree view of the area around it. They can be programmed to do this on a scheduled basis called “touring” or it can be programmed to follow any motion detected in at risk spaces.”

One good example of how the camera works was shared on social media last year when someone was seen stealing the wing mirror off of a vehicle at a mall in west Trinidad and the camera tracked the person as they left the carpark, crossed the highway and entered into a waiting car. That person was identified and apprehended within a few days.

Villafana firmly believes that technology is about helping businesses accomplish more and CCTV systems complement a business’s traditional security arrangements. The cameras are always on, vandal proof, have both daytime and low-light capabilities, high definition footage can be stored for weeks or months and be easily retrieved when needed and the software in a CCTV system can trigger alerts to be sent when any pre-programmed event occurs.

“When we look at where we have installed CCTV systems, these businesses see it as an investment in minimizing losses from theft or pilferage and at the same time it is also an investment in safeguarding their customers and employees.”