Best in Class Customer Service

For over 25 years, Pelco has held the title of being No. 1 in customer service for the security solutions industry. To be the best, you have to continually innovate and strive to make impactful changes. To this end, we will be rolling out new initiatives to our current support program over the next few weeks. The goal is to always make it very easy for our customers to reach us, when there is a need for technical support or service.

What can our loyal customers expect?

  • Enhanced technical support language capabilities – now includes English, Spanish and French
  • Significantly reduced wait times for after sales technical support
  • Streamlined logistics at our global service centers for faster turnaround to maximize customer uptime
  • Even faster response times for equipment repairs
  • Increased visibility during the entire support & repair process
  • Implementation of dynamic and live analytics to improve the overall experience

These new initiatives are the latest in Pelco’s plan to offer our customers consistent, reliable solutions and optimal life cycle cost.

This is just the beginning. Our Quality and Support teams are hard at work, optimizing & improving our systems and processes. Your satisfaction is our number one priority, and you can expect nothing but best-in-class customer service from us in everything we do.

Welcome to Security Insights

Thanks for stopping by Pelco’s new Security Insights website, your hub for all things surveillance-related.

I’m the managing editor of the site, and I’ll be behind the scenes getting content from Pelco’s leaders to serve the physical security industry.  The site will feature an abundance of articles, studies and other resources to help inform professionals dealing with many of the challenges in our industry.

We started this website because we are committed to providing information, value and support to all security industry professionals – regardless of whether you’re an integrator, reseller or end user. Our focus for decades has been superior customer service, which includes sharing our industry expertise – whether or not you’re a customer.

This site is available to the security community in response to your challenges, struggles and needs. Over the next several months, we’ll share our thoughts on the future of the industry, Q & As with some of Pelco’s top thought leaders and guides on everything you’d ever wish to know about surveillance and security.

I encourage you to bookmark this site. We’ll be updating content frequently and you’re not going to want to miss anything.

Of course, no one has all the answers. For us to truly be the resource we strive to be, we also welcome contributions from people like you. Email me at scott.wright@pelco.com to apply for becoming a contributor. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Why We Started Security Insights

Every day, security professionals come to our team with a variety of questions and concerns about their needs.

Whether it’s improving bandwidth in a VMS or how the latest technology in security impacts their company, this industry is one that is constantly learning.

One day, I sat with my communications team and wondered: What if we provided answers to the most-asked questions about security technology and the industry on one site? Many companies in the SaaS world have already done this with great success. In fact, several legacy companies like ourselves that we happen to admire have entire in-house journalism teams devoted to creating useful resources.

There is typically an on-board editorial staff in addition to contributions from a variety of thought leaders. This type of structure enables professionals within the industry to get deep insights on industry topics like trends and technology, along with an inside look at the brand’s perspective on a variety of issues.

Being of service to the industry has always been a top priority for Pelco. We want to extend that commitment through this site. The security industry has many complexities, and there is always a need for the kind of information required to solve everyday problems.

That’s why we are taking on this mission. Our objective is to cover a variety of topics that matter to you, our security industry community. We’ll have a range of useful assets that will speak to your needs whether you’re a grizzled security veteran or just starting out. We’re here to help – even if you never become a customer of ours – because that’s who we are.

I’m excited about the launch of this site. I think you’ll find a lot of value in what we offer here. In the meantime, if there’s a certain topic you’d like us to cover, feel free to reach out to our managing editor, Scott Wright here.

Thanks again for visiting Security Insights. We look forward to continuing the conversation.

2016 Accomplishments and a Bright 2017

Looking back on 2016, we had a number of accomplishments and set our course for the New Year with a refocused direction for 2017.

Last year, Pelco has continued to work hard to implement a number of changes – both in the way we conduct business and in the growth and improvement of our products and solutions offerings to better serve our customers. These efforts have strengthened our core competencies, and set the foundation for a very successful 2017.

In 2016, Pelco increased its focus on four core vertical markets: airports and seaports, casinos and gaming, Safe City, and oil and gas applications. We have invested in research and development, focused our sales and marketing strategy, and developed strengthened relationships with key partners to better serve these areas. As a company, we reorganized our renowned support capabilities and dedicated a great deal of personnel time and resources to fully understand the needs of end users in these sectors.

As a solutions provider, we’ve honed in on the specific capabilities that these markets want and need most, and worked with our engineers to develop new products with these capabilities in mind. As a result of all these efforts, we will be unveiling a number of new systems solutions and products that we have either developed organically or integrated from one of our many technological partners.

Going forward in 2017, our focus will be on delivering the best possible comprehensive security solutions – from video surveillance cameras to analytics software to video management and storage systems. Integrations with leading software and hardware partners will also further enhance our offerings. We’ve got it all covered.

Another key element of our extensive foundational work in 2016 was an investment in bolstering our emphasis on quality at every level of product development. We established a four-tiered approach to excellent quality, which is described in these blog posts.

Everyone at Pelco is looking to 2017 as a year of substantial global growth. We look forward to working with our customers, integration partners, consultants and industry leaders to deliver the best possible video surveillance and security solutions in the industry. We are moving ahead by your side!

Megapixels: What’s the Perfect Number?

When customers ask for the ideal number of megapixels in a security camera, there is no single answer.

With all the camera models that are now available, and with all the variety of applications where those cameras may be applied, it’s a matter of matching the application with available imaging solutions on a camera-by-camera basis.

In many cases, customers ask for more megapixels in the hope of getting better image resolution over longer distances. They want to be able to zoom into a point of interest in the distance and have enough pixels to accurately identify people and objects. However, this “more is better” approach to resolution can significantly increase costs for cameras, infrastructure and recording capacity without increasing image quality. In fact, higher megapixel sensors may not perform as well in extreme lighting conditions as high quality 1MP and 2MP cameras. Experienced system designers help define the imaging objectives for each camera location in a system, identify physical and budget limitations, and then apply these factors to determine the megapixel camera resolution and form factor that best meets each camera site’s specific requirements.

It’s all about asking the right questions at the system planning phase. Some typical questions that should be answered before determining which resolution to purchase include:

  • What are you trying to accomplish? Is merely detecting the presence of a person or vehicle sufficient, or do you want to know basic information such as whether an adult or child is present? Do you need to go further and recognize or identify a particular person or license plate?
  • What field of view (FOV) are you trying to cover? Is the camera monitoring a narrow or limited area, or is the camera there for wide-FOV situational awareness?
  • Does a fixed view from this camera meet the need, or does it need to pan/tilt/zoom to change views?
  • At what distance from the camera would like to be able to do these? Are there other possible mounting locations that can be considered?
  • What are the expected operating conditions, including lighting and environmental? Are there options to add additional lighting, for example?
  • What are the bandwidth capacities and limitations of the system infrastructure and how much bandwidth will each camera require at maximum frame rate?

These questions are just a starting point to help pinpoint what’s needed on a camera site-by-site basis. Skilled system designers are aware of these factors, and can help choose the best camera for each location and set of conditions and objectives. While the specifics of each situation will drive the correct answer, the industry does have some general rules of thumb that illustrate the pixel-count challenge.

For example, enhanced low-light performance may be needed to be able to capture acceptable images in low-light environments. Camera with true Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) imaging technology can capture detail from both bright and dark areas in a single scene. When supported by strong low-light and WDR performance, cameras with more megapixels provide the ability to zoom in with greater resolution and detail. Without these extreme lighting (or another modifier for “capabilities”) capabilities, a high pixel count alone will typically not provide the desired image detail, particularly in lower-light and in images with highly contrasted light and dark areas within the same scene.

Another example might be when a designer might say 20 pixels/foot is sufficient for general surveillance applications. That means that after taking into account both the location of the camera, the distance and angles of view, and the resolution of the camera, that 20 pixels will be on the desired target for each 12 inches of target length. At that resolution, users will be able to see basic shapes and colors of cars, people’s clothing and other objects, but will not have enough detail for facial recognition or license plate identification. This is one reason why the objective of system is so important to choosing the correct resolution – 40 pixels/foot is generally the minimum resolution required for facial recognition and license plate identification. To achieve this level requires the camera to have four times the total pixels of the first case, if all other factors are held constant. To read clothing logos or decoration, even higher resolutions would be required.

As imaging technology continues to quickly advance with higher megapixel resolutions and more powerful processing driving enhanced features and capabilities, security professionals will have more options to achieve their imaging objectives. There simply is no simple answer to the question: “How many megapixels is enough?” By working with an experienced system designer, and by having a clear understanding of the surveillance objectives, physical conditions and budget limitations, security professionals can maximize the probability that their investment in a new or enhanced surveillance system will deliver what they want when they need it most.

Choosing the Right VMS: What You Should Know

Choosing the correct video management software (VMS) can be a challenge. With all of the VMS offerings available on the market today, weighing the pros and cons of each tech feature or system architecture can be a daunting task for both integrators and end users. Which functions are right for our team? Who will have access to the platform? Will it integrate seamlessly with other devices? Can it grow with the business?

We offer a few helpful concepts for businesses to consider when selecting the right VMS platform to make the rest of the process as quick and efficient as possible (much like your final choice of VMS will be).

Performance. The single most important factor is performance. All other system capabilities are built from or rely on this. Configuration and management of video from a central location can make all the difference in efficiency, especially if (or when) servers go down, leaving users scrambling to ensure that video data is safely stored. Leading VMS platforms maintain a high level of performance through advanced configuration and accessibility, with comprehensive databases that allow easy access to video and data from multiple systems.

User experience. Not all security teams are created equal, so to compensate for gaps in technical know-how, it is critical to create a seamless user experience. Intuitive platforms that have easy-to-use interfaces with information at an operator’s fingertips allow security teams to make more informed, effective decisions that propel proactive security planning, such as fast, efficient tactical responses. These platforms also reduce training requirements and manual processes, so that end users can safely deliver continuity of their services.

Open platforms. It is virtually impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of a VMS system without stressing the importance of advanced integration capabilities with third-party technology. Security leaders realize even greater capabilities with open platforms that allow other security devices and business systems to easily integrate with video management solutions. These other devices offer a wide range of benefits, including license plate recognition (LPR), video analytics, alarm management, visitor management, access control, mobile access, and lighting and building automation.

Flexibility. Businesses are constantly evolving, moving locations and updating their infrastructure to keep up with supply and demand for video security as much as any other proprietary services they offer. Whether migrating to IP for the first time or looking to boost a current installation, businesses can use advanced VMS systems to bridge the integration gap without abandoning existing infrastructure through enhanced flexibility. These advanced systems even support existing cameras, allowing users to retain costly investments and realize more returns without requiring surveillance triage.

Scalability. Once users have identified the right features for the size and nature of their installation, the last piece of the puzzle is assessing the ease with which the VMS system can accommodate the installation’s rate of expansion. True scalability allows organizations to build a VMS system that meets specific operational and surveillance needs as they grow, and continue without interruption even as security risks increase proportionally to growth.

Want to see this list in a more condensed version? Click here to see our latest infographic.

Protecting Network Security and IP Cameras

Organizations today require a robust network of devices, including cameras, video management systems and integrated third-party systems to build comprehensive solutions that meet their business needs. Video surveillance is an integral piece of this puzzle, making up a significant portion of the data-gathering arm of a security solution. Surveillance cameras on the market today have made a large shift from the analog versions of yesterday and CCTV that we’ve seen in the past, which means IP-networked devices are comprising more and more of these solutions.

According to IHS, security camera shipments are booming, and are set to exceed 100 million units this year. Part of that growth is in IP-enabled devices, which require stronger network security practices. As the number of installed surveillance cameras grows, questions arise as to how secure surveillance technologies and the data these devices generate are from hacking and theft, as well as what the implications of a data breach are for citizens.

Earlier this year, many camera manufacturers watched in horror as live video feeds were broadcast for the entire world to see on the Web after being hacked by a third party. This breach, which was one of the worst in our recent history, called attention to the protocols manufacturers have in place for password protection and encryption practices. Integrators have also addressed these issues by further educating end users on the proper ways to protect their cameras and network-enabled devices, offering a more comprehensive educational process when installing new systems.

However, some camera manufacturers have taken an unprecedented stance of no longer taking responsibility for hacked surveillance cameras, which has raised concerns for many customers. Pelco has introduced policy to engineer cameras and related surveillance technologies, with privacy and security being top of mind. Engineers and product managers take every precaution to prevent known privacy and security risks from occurring by implementing major IP-based protocols aimed at delivering security on network devices such as https, 802.1x, authentication, etc. When new risks arise, Pelco engineers immediately address the situation to eliminate the risk as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

It is critical that today’s camera technology manufacturers provide integrators and end users with the best possible devices that are protected from external cyber risks. As IP cameras continue to operate or store footage on networks, and an increase of Internet of Things (IoT) devices also take up residence on these networks, it’s critical for end users to implement practices and protocols to protect themselves from dangerous cyber threats as they arise.

Mission 500 Community Service Strikes a Chord with Pelco Exec

It can be argued that children are at the heart of many families across the globe, which means support for children and communities in crisis is critical. In late October, Mission 500, a nonprofit organization that works closely with the security industry to provide this kind of support, called on industry professionals to participate in a three-day service project that would help a family in need. Pelco’s VP of Marketing Diane Feliciano answered this call.

Many children and families in our own backyard need our help. A staggering 41.5 percent of Appalachian County residents fall below the poverty line, and while this problem goes largely unnoticed by the rest of the country, there are organizations like Mission 500 that try to do something about it.

Traveling to West Virginia, Feliciano met the recipients of the community effort — a couple with two children who at the time, was living with relatives because they did not have a home of their own. Mission 500 assembled a team with representatives from Pelco, Axis Communications, Bosch and Reed Exhibitions to aid in the complete renovation of a trailer home for the young family. “Although competitors in business, we all banded together as one cohesive team to complete this effort,” Feliciano said.

The service project was spearheaded by Mission 500 and World Vision, a global humanitarian organization that partners with children, families and their communities to tackle poverty and injustice. The team worked for three days with the guidance and help from representatives from World Vision, who oversaw the completion of the project. The entire scope of work was expansive and included renovations to the living area, bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom, and even included the development of a solid front porch for easy and safe access. New smoke and carbon monoxide detectors ensure the continued safety of the family. Feliciano was humbled by the experience, and was able to see the family’s relief that they would have a home before winter set in.

At the core of Pelco’s mission is a sense of giving back to the community, which encompasses the company’s culture of social responsibility. “Pelco feels very strongly about its role in giving back,” Feliciano said. “With that in mind, we intend on continuing to team with Mission 500 to address needs in our local communities so we can engage our employees, who are eager to participate, in these kinds of activities.”

Mission 500 was founded in 2007, with the goal of sponsoring 500 children through World Vision’s child sponsorship program. In a few short years, the organization met this goal, and continues to provide lifesaving assistance for those in need and communities in crisis around the world. For more information on how you can support the Mission 500 organization, visit their Web site.

The Heart of Pelco: Jasminka Strbevski

Each month, we introduce you to the people that make Pelco work: the engineers, customer support staff, sales people, marketing managers, executive leadership and everyone in between. Get to know them a little better, how they like to spend their time, their role at Pelco and why they love what they do. We welcome you into our Pelco family, one person at a time.

This month, meet Jasminka Strbevski, International Account Specialist, based in Pelco’s Clovis, Calif., office:

What is your current role at Pelco? 

I am an International Account Specialist. I handle the United Kingdom, Qatar, Italy, Netherlands, Malta, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, Slovenia and Greece. What I mean by “handle” is that I am responsible for making sure that customers from these countries have their orders in our system and the orders are shipping from the designated distribution centers in a timely manner. Essentially, I’m the communication person between our customers in these regions, and our factory and planning teams. I also assist our customers in the United States and Canada as needed.

What does a typical day look like? 

I arrive at the office at 5 a.m. I arrive early so I can assist my customers overseas through at least half of their workday. This eliminates delay in communications because of the time difference. Being able to have my customers reach out to me for issues, especially if urgent, is one of my No. 1 priorities. No workday is ever the same. Each day poses new challenges but at the end of the day, making sure our customers are taken care of is all that matters.

In your opinion, what is the key to achieving excellence in customer service? 

Passionate people, like those that can be found within Pelco, are paramount to maintaining the amazing relationships you have with your customers. Behind the scenes, there is a lot of work that happens to get an item expedited from the factory and delivered on time, so it’s important to have a team in place that is able to communicate effectively and who share a passion for customer service. At times, we work long hours to make sure documentation is prepared or orders are entered. It is well understood that we need to always be better than our competitors and I feel that providing such a high level of customer service gives us that advantage. The Pelco name is one people associate with being the best and I like to think our internal teams helped build that reputation.

What are your favorite things about your job? 

Working with the people I work with! Whether I am interacting with the people in my Clovis office, my reps or the customers in the countries I support, I always enjoy my encounters and have a tremendous appreciation for these relationships. I have been at Pelco for 11  1/2 years  and can say it feels like being part of one large family.

Favorite things about this industry? 

Seeing the advancements in the technology and the products created. When I visit a city, store, museum or monument and see a Pelco camera, I am filled with pride knowing that I have contributed to getting that “eye in the sky.”

What do you do on your days off? 

In my free time, I like to bake, garden, fish, and enjoy time with my family and friends. I like taking weekend trips to recharge the batteries for the following week.