This is a question that some of our clients have asked themselves when looking at installing cameras at their construction site. Let me offer you some thoughts.
Monitoring equipment for construction needs to be heavy-duty and provide image with high quality. Besides cameras that are housed in weatherproof, heated enclosures, high-quality lenses, other equipment is needed such as encoders, antennas, and networking gear for internet connectivity are also needed.
The question you need to ask yourself is: do I have the need to own this equipment? Or do I simply need the service that this equipment can provide?
Some companies providing camera services to construction projects sell camera packages and mail them to clients. Others, like Remontech, will own the equipment and simply provide the monitoring service.
Depending on the particularities of your project, you might be considering whether or not it makes financial sense to purchase an equipment package. Here are some things to consider when making that decision:
How long is your project?
Paying a monthly fee for years may have you consider purchasing the equipment. We have done this in the past for clients: we sold them the equipment and charged a simple monitoring fee for the recording and editing of the video.
Do you have the in-house expertise to install and maintain the equipment?
Maintaining equipment on construction sites takes a bit of work. Whether or not you have personnel to man and monitor the operation of the equipment is really important. Another thing to consider is the fact that knowledge of cameras and video over IP may not be an easy to find skill. That is why I’m in Labrador City today, 2000 kilometres away from home to oversee the installation of a camera system for a client.
How many projects do you intend to monitor in the future?
It may influence your decision to own the equipment if you foresee using it in multiple projects over a long period of time. Again, this decision must be weighed against the other items on this list.
Quality of equipment and compatibility change over time
Remember those expensive portable DVD players that were all the rage just a few years ago? Me neither. Technolgogy is moving forward fast, and you may not want to invest thousands of dollars on equipment that may be obsolete in a few years. By hiring the services and not owning the equipment, you transfer this risk to the provider.
Will you have time to manage and ensure that the equipment will be running throughout the duration of the project?
I’ve seen it many times: a construction camera will be installed at the beginning of a project only to stop working after a few weeks or months. Usually when people in charge of the construction take upon themselves to manage construction cameras, they won’t find the time to troubleshoot them when things stop working. After all, they are busy building their project (as they should be). Hiring and outsourcing the monitoring service puts that burden on guys like me and it gives you somebody to yell at when you try to look at your camera feed on your iPad and it is down.
I hope this will give you some ideas of things to consider when making the decision to purchase cameras and other equipment as opposed to hiring monitoring services. If you have any questions or would like my opinion on your particular situation, drop me a line.