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Are Video Cameras Worth It? - iSAFE Managed IT Service Provider

Are Video Cameras Worth It?

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Some of our customers utilize video camera surveillance in their homes and businesses, but the question I would like to address is whether or not it is worth the expense.  Well it kind of depends on your business type, and revenue, or does it?


First lets talk about price for a moment.  You can pick up an all in one box kit from Sam’s Club for around $400 that is supposed to do HD video and allow for remote access on between 8-16 cameras.  So you get that to your office and you find out that you only get about 6′ of cable for each camera (useless unless you want a lot of different angles on your personal work-space).  Then you have to sign up for DDNS and sometimes another third party service to access remotely.  Finally, you may find that you only have enough storage for about 5 days of true HD video, or that either the cameras, or the DVR are HD, but not both.  So unless you are willing to jump through a bunch of hoops and settle for lower image quality then this is not the way to go.

Industry standards suggest that the average cost of an installed system is around $13K.  We have installed a system that was closer to the $22K mark.  So now we can see why we must first answer the question of “Worth”  or “Value”.  While only you can answer this question, let’s look at some of the things that increase the value of video surveillance in the workplace.

Reducing Theft from the Inside and Out….

This seems like a no-brainer and probably the most widely accepted reason for video cameras in a place of business.  In fact there could be as many as 275 million incidents of retail theft globally each year.  The sad part is that only about 1 in 46 of those incidents end in an arrest.  What’s even more concerning is that 1 in 6 of those arrested (about 1 million total) are employees of the company.

Improve Overall Business Operations…..

A lesser thought of reason, but very important is the added ability to manage and control activities even when away.  Ryan Elmore, Co-owner of Pepper Jack’s in Erie, Col found that his employee’s productivity basically stopped the moment he walked out the door.  He discovered his manager was ducking out of responsibilities and leaving early, employees were giving away free meals to friends, and taking multiple smoking breaks and texting instead of working while he was gone.  He also found that his restaurant was overstaffed.  By adjusting work schedules, he cut his labor costs by 5 percent, and decreased food costs by 3 percent.

Boost Productivity and Profits….

Bloomberg Business reports that video surveillance of employees allows manager to spend less time monitoring and more time in other more productive ways.   Bloomberg did a study of 392 restaurants and found that where video surveillance was in force there was a 22 percent drop in theft, and a 7 percent increase in profits.  The study concluded that employees stepped up their productivity as a result of the cameras being in place.

Curb Sexual Harassment Issues in the Workplace….

Wouldn’t it be great if it was no longer an issue of, “he said, she said.”  Well especially when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace.  Cameras in this situation can protect your employees from both real and alleged harassment allegations.  They can also be used to form a case in the event that their is a real issue to be addressed.

Other benefits include….

Reduce Incidents of Workplace Violence

Defend against frivolous lawsuits.


We think every business should have some type of video surveillance in place.  The higher the definition, and the longer the storage retention, the better.  Of course you can’t get a really high end system for $400, but if a $20,000 system saved you $800,000 in lawsuits, theft, and productivity while increasing your profits by 8%, I think it would pay for itself in no time at all.

(And by the way, most of our installs are under $10K for a 16 camera system).


Should I Use Surveillance in My Business?


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