Theft on construction sites is an ongoing problem that racks up expenses in the billions of dollars. This probably comes as no surprise and is not news. Because of this, walking away from the jobsite most likely causes an uneasy feeling of having to leave hundreds of thousands - probably closer to millions - of dollars unmanned in an open and accessible area. By utilizing new technologies that monitor the construction site and reduce access to the valuable resources, leaving the site is becoming a bit more reassuring.
Cameras are emerging as a valuable tool for remotely viewing the jobsite and tracking the progress of production. Though as technology has advanced, so have the applications of these devices. Instead of being used as a monitoring tool, cameras are being implemented to deter and reduce theft.
One emerging security solution comes from ConstructionCam.com of Crown Point, Indiana. The jobsite video monitoring, archiving, time-lapse videos, and security company offers self-contained trailers that hold a 30-foot mast with a camera mounted on it. The cameras are full-motion and "live" vs. a still image or single angle camera. The user is able to pan/tilt/zoom the camera and see what is going on "live" in contrast to scanning around a still recorded picture.
The camera itself acts as a deterrent and monitoring solution, but an added element of security is also equipped within the trailers. "We integrated a technology into the trailers that creates an invisible fence around the designated area," says Mark Carroll, founder and CEO of ConstructionCam.com.
Four towers create the invisible fence, that when crossed, activate the cameras to capture video of the area where the fence was broken. The towers are solar- or wind-powered and include a backup battery for all day or night use. In all, the towers are wireless which negates the need for trenching communication and power lines.
Security, ConstructionCam.com Style
The foreman, project manager or last person to leave the jobsite for the day activates the alarm system which notifies the ConstructionCam.com team work on the site is done for the day and it needs monitoring. "We have wall-mounted screens where all the jobsites are watched," says Carroll. "The staff typically watches from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m." If a breach of security occurs on the jobsite, the alarm will be tripped, flashing lights and a 1,000 W flood light will be engaged, and a notification alert will go off at the ConstructionCam.com monitoring station.
"Once this happens the camera will be called up on the screen and the situation will be assessed by our staff," explains Carroll. "Sometimes it's a deer. However, if it requires contacting local authorities we take that action, the owner is notified and everything is recorded." The images are then immediately stored on a ConstructionCam.com server which allows the ConstructionCam.com team and the jobsite owner to view the images online via the provided custom website.
Carroll explains a common application of this security system that is utilized by contractors. "What these companies will do is set up a bone yard, and at the end of the day, they pull all of the equipment on jobsite into the fenced-in area created by the trailers."
Despite the secured perimeter, the equipment can still be accessed by service technicians and other employees that need to get beyond the fence. They are given a garage door-type opener and clicking the button will disengage the alarm system allowing them to drive through. Once they are on the other side of the beam it automatically engages itself. When they are ready to leave they simply repeat the same process.
The four towers essentially send a signal between one another to create the invisible fence. Carroll explains this process is reminiscent to Hollywood movies in which areas are secured with lasers. But unlike Hollywood the signal is invisible and cannot be seen by spraying an aerosol can over the area. In addition, the signal is cris-crossing so it is undetectable as to where it is. "Tampering with a tower or moving one so it looses communication with the other towers is also considered an alarm and handled appropriately," adds Carroll.