Security is an important part of any business, but perhaps nowhere more so than in the cannabis industry.
This tightly regulated industry is required by law in many U.S. states to install security cameras and network video recorders (NVRs) to comply with regulations on the sale of the product.
If you own or operate a cannabis business, or you’re starting one up, you’re probably in the market for some physical security equipment.
But shopping for video surveillance isn’t as simple as just ordering a camera and DVR online. Although widely available on the Internet, do-it-yourself (DIY) surveillance products may not deliver the kind of functionality required for cannabis cultivators and dispensaries.
There are some distinct differences between DIY products and enterprise video surveillance – differences that go beyond just price point.
If you’re in the cannabis industry and you need to purchase video surveillance, here are three important reasons why you’ll want to choose a manufacturer that specializes in enterprise video systems.
1) IP video surveillance can be complicated
IP video surveillance – where video is delivered over the Internet – is required for cannabis businesses in some states. IP video surveillance is very different than analog video surveillance and requires knowledge of networking, camera bitrates and resolution, video compression, image complexities and storage capacities.
Depending on the state in which you operate, you may be required to capture video resolutions of at least 720p at 15 frames per second or higher. Other system specifications (dealing with power supplies, off-site video storage and more) may be included in your state’s regulations. Not having a solid understanding of how to configure your cameras and recorders to comply with these specifications can lead to system failure.
In the video surveillance industry, the major manufacturers sell their products through an integration partner network for this reason – because it takes a trained professional to properly install this equipment. In fact, reputable video manufacturers require technicians to take specialized training courses prior to installing their product.
2) A highly reliable system is worth every penny
Many cameras and DVRs available online aren’t built for 24/7 surveillance, which is required for cannabis businesses in states like Colorado, Washington State and California. Many of these products are items you might install at your home, and they are not designed to deliver the kind of reliability, or the high storage capacities, a business needs when it comes to video surveillance.
Enterprise video systems, however, were made for around the clock recording. Purpose-built NVRs include features that ensure maximum system uptime. These recorders have internal battery backups that guarantee a systematic shutdown in the event of an unexpected power loss. Hybrid NVRs can support both IP and analog cameras, and offer ample storage capacity so you can archive video for several months. (In some regions cannabis businesses must keep video for 90 days).
Further, enterprise systems offer video management software than can help you log all user activity, and notify you if a camera goes offline, or if your NVR’s hard drive fails.
If you go the DIY route and your camera or DVR fails, you may not know it until you go to pull video and find it’s not there.
3) Enterprise video functions can make your life a lot easier
Many professional-grade video systems can save you a lot of hassle because of their advanced functionality. For example, in states like Colorado where cannabis businesses must use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for seed-to-sale tracking, an enterprise video system can help you visually monitor the movement of your plants. Video surveillance can be integrated with RFID data so you can easily search your video for the last location of plants.
These types of video systems can also integrate with your point-of-sale (POS) data, to help you rapidly locate suspicious transactions, as well as other business analytics that can help you better understand customer behavior and ultimately improve service.
While it’s tempting to try to save a few dollars with discounted cameras and recorders, you risk wasting your money on substandard products, and possibly even losing your cannabis business license if you fail to comply with your state’s regulations.
An enterprise video surveillance system is going to cost you a bit more, but you’re going to get a high-quality, reliable system that you know is going to deliver. You’ll also get trained experts to install the system to comply with your state’s regulations, and support you down the road should you have any questions or need further assistance.
If you’re ready to explore an enterprise video surveillance solution for your cannabis business, contact us.