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Branching Out: End-to-End Intelligent Video Surveillance for Banks

Filed under: Banking

Special thanks to Kevin Sheridan, General Manager of Convergint Technologies Cincinnati, for sharing his security expertise in this guest blog post. For 14 years, Kevin has been helping financial institutions enhance the security of their branch and corporate locations by focusing on financial clients and their unique security needs.  In the last ten years, his team has completed more than 9,500 security projects for more than 800 financial institutions.

As a global, service-based systems integrator, Convergint Technologies works with leading banks and credit unions to address their security and business challenges.

We’re always striving to deliver the most value to our customers, and we’re committed to helping them understand how technology can help not only improve safety and security, but solve operational and compliance issues as well.

That’s why, when Convergint talks about video surveillance to our financial industry customers, we’re keen to point out the added value that intelligent video solutions can bring.

The term “intelligent video” refers to the combination of surveillance video with data (for example, transaction data) and analytics, which can help detect the movement of people and objects, as well as events like alarms. When all of this is combined in the right software, you get a very robust security solution that can alert you to suspicious activity and also deliver business intelligence – metrics that can be used to improve many different areas of your bank.

At Convergint we believe most financial institutions are interested in using video surveillance to collect business intelligence, but where there’s less agreement, and even some confusion, is how that information can be applied in a real-world context.

What are the practical uses for video-based business intelligence in a bank? And how can a bank or credit union actually improve security, operations, and productivity with these types of solutions?

To answer that question, let’s look at some different areas within a bank and consider how integrated video, data, and analytics can be applied in each scenario to provide more value for the customer:

Vaults – Although fewer banks are using vaults to store cash, vaults are still highly sensitive areas that require strong security. Many bank vaults contain safe deposit boxes with high value items. By tying video to a vault’s physical intrusion detection system, security teams can capture a visual image every time the vault is opened. This type of integration actually “tags” the video at the exact moment the alarm is triggered, keeping a visual record of every alarm.

People counting analytics can also be deployed around the vault to monitor foot traffic. With March Networks Searchlight for Banking, you can see weekly trends of people counting data and learn if traffic is increasing or decreasing in this area. This information is useful for detecting unusual movement near the vault, but also for measuring how frequently the vault is actually used.

Coupon Rooms – Typically located adjacent to the vault, coupon rooms allow bank customers to privately view the contents of their safe deposit boxes. While these rooms tend not to have security cameras in order to give customers privacy, cameras placed just outside coupon rooms are useful for monitoring traffic in and out of these areas. Here again, people-counting analytics could be deployed with video to measure how frequently these rooms are being used.

Teller areas – As many banks transform their physical branch layouts, they are closely examining teller interactions with customers. By integrating teller transaction data with video, and using dwell time and queue length monitoring analytics, banks can monitor all teller transactions to see which types are most in-demand, which are the most time-consuming, and which employees are conducting the most or least transactions, and then compare that to other locations. Looking at transaction data alone doesn’t always tell the whole story. Video provides additional context for banks, who may want to investigate slow service, or the circumstances around a particular transaction.

This type of data can help banks make strategic decisions about service realignment, branch layout, and staffing levels.

Combining transaction data with video can also be a powerful fraud-fighting tool. This type of integration allows banks to investigate every transaction across their organization, and search by card, account number, or transaction type, to match transactions with video. Banks can also set “rules” so their video system can alert them to unusual activity. For example, if the same employee is routinely conducting high-dollar transactions, it may be worth investigating further.

Back Office Workrooms – Security is essential in bank workrooms, where cash is counted and transactions are processed on an ongoing basis. Security in these areas must not only protect bank assets, but also protect employees and ensure compliance with corporate policies and procedures.

In addition to security cameras, people-counting and dwell-time analytics can be deployed in a back office workroom to monitor traffic in and out of the room and measure how long employees remain in the workroom. If an average nighttime cash count takes 20 minutes, and you suddenly see a spike to 35 minutes, something could be wrong. Intelligent video can alert you to these types of scenarios.

It can also provide another layer of security around workroom safes. Similar to security around a vault, video analytics can be tied to a safe’s alarm system so that video is captured every time someone opens the safe.

Regularly viewing video snapshots from the workroom can also help you monitor compliance with dual control procedures and any other security protocols your bank has in place. March Networks’ Searchlight software has an Operations Audit tool, which delivers regular thumbnail images – snapshots taken from the same cameras every 30 minutes to four hours – so you can easily scan activity and quickly address any concerns.

ATM vestibules and drive-thru ATMs – ATM vestibules and drive-thru ATMs are challenging areas to secure because they are often used outside regular banking hours. They can be targets for vandals and criminals looking to install malware or skimming devices.

By integrating ATM transaction data with your video, and deploying presence detection analytics on your ATM cameras, you can learn when someone is lingering at the ATM but not conducting a transaction. This could be a sign of a criminal attempting to install a skimming device. This type of alert is crucial in detecting skimming, but also other ATM threats such as jackpotting, where malware forces the ATM to spit out cash, and “rat trap” attacks, where thieves use glue strips to trap cash before it is dispensed from the machine.

Some clients also use camera tampering analytics on cameras overlooking ATMs, so they’ll be alerted to anyone trying to block or turn off the cameras.

As you can see, intelligent video can have very practical applications for bank security teams, as well as other departments like operations, marketing, and compliance. It can deliver both real-time alerts about suspicious activity and longer-term historical data that can help your bank better plan for the future.

The key to successfully leveraging intelligent video is having a plan, knowing what data you want to collect and why. Having an experienced systems integrator that can pull together your existing IT systems, and supply the right hardware, software, and technical expertise, is also critical.

If you have questions about intelligent video, or want to learn more about Convergint Technologies’ financial security solutions, drop us a note below:

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