From vandalism to theft and even false damage claims, owners and operators of automotive services, such as carwashes, face potential crimes that could hurt a brand’s reputation and long-term profitability.
Physical barriers, rolling gates and floodlights aren’t enough for protection. Security cameras and surveillance systems are needed to identify any suspicious activity. Equipping a carwash site with the latest technological advancements in surveillance equipment will help owners to monitor every area of their facilities, deter illegal activities, provide proof for insurance claims and prosecute guilty parties.
Identifying vehicles and license plates is crucial to securing a carwash. Every year, the picture quality of cameras improves. This means clearer video, smoother motion and a more realistic snapshot of what’s happening at your carwash facility.
Consider 4K security cameras to maximize the image quality as well as the color of the footage. 4K high-definition (HD) resolution is four times the resolution compared to 1080p cameras. With a higher picture quality, 4K cameras support further digital zoom before seeing a loss of definition. Many also have a wide field of view for monitoring.
This means owners can easily see the license plate of every car as it comes in for a wash. Capturing license plate information helps owners solve crime faster and keeps the site secure for guests.
A varifocal lens, otherwise known as a zoom lens, can adjust the viewing area and focus of the camera. This lets owners adjust what the camera is focusing on to give them wide panoramic footage or close-up views. It is recommended to look for a motorized varifocal lens with remote control access. As a result, owners can remotely control the zoom and angle of the camera at any given location.
These lenses have a wide variety of applications for carwash operators, such as facial recognition to help gather information on a person near a vehicle and zoom to verify that employees are following safety protocols. Additionally, a full panoramic picture is needed to view multiple washes at once or see the picture of the exterior of the building.
Larger carwashes require more surveillance cameras to oversee all aspects of their operations. In combination with their security cameras, owners need network video recorders (NVRs) or digital video recorders (DVRs). These devices work in tandem with the camera to receive the footage and then process it to a drive or cloud.
Both NVR and DVR have a maximum number of channels that the systems can handle. The higher the channel capacity, the more security cameras that can connect to it.
Consider using an NVR with a four or eight channel capacity for small carwash operations and 16 or 32 channel capacity for larger locations. Carwash owners with multiple locations might be wondering how to view multiple locations remotely from their computers.1
A network video management software system or security camera monitoring software allows owners to connect many IP cameras, NVRs and DVRs from multiple locations. As a result, owners can view all their physical locations and access the view from any camera through a computer.
Motion sensing technology
Rather than scrolling through hours of unwanted footage, motion sensing technology enables the security camera to begin recording when something moves in its field of view. Motion sensing technology conserves storage space and is only used when suspicious activity is detected. This allows owners to easily go back and review the tape.
Low light performance
Light issues are common, especially with self-serve carwashes, since the facility is unlikely to have lights installed. Night vision is a critical feature for security cameras to help record the dark interiors of the facility. Fortunately, the night vision technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. Gone are the days of having blurry gray scale footage tinted with green.
Many high-end surveillance cameras offer color night vision, allowing the system to capture a broad spectrum of colors. Owners will obtain substantial visual information from a suspect, such as identifying vehicle colors, the criminal’s type and color of clothing, and other useful information. Without quality nocturnal security cameras, owners only protect their businesses during the day. Color night vision can keep both dark interior spaces and building exteriors secure.
Extreme weather rating
Water is an obvious concern when it comes to searching for surveillance cameras suitable for a professional carwash as well as exterior environments. Due to the damp environment and pressurized water spraying, some owners are forced to place the camera in an inconvenient position.
It is vital to consider surveillance cameras for both indoor as well as outdoor use. Outdoor surveillance cameras feature durable casing to prevent vandalism and withstand inclement weather conditions.
Wet conditions and harsh weather can significantly reduce the effectiveness of security cameras and alter their useful lifespans. Therefore, security camera manufacturers have created a rating system to specify a camera’s level of weather- and water-resistance.
Thus, the right security cameras can withstand these wet conditions. Indoor cameras should have an ingress protection (IP) rating between IP44 to IP65 and outdoor cameras should be between IP66 or IP67 ratings. High IP ratings ensure that the surveillance camera is completely protected from dust and can withstand strong water jets hitting it from all directions.
Illegal activity can significantly affect the profits of a carwash business. False claims of damage can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees and hurt brand reputation. Other threats include theft, vandalism, robberies, employee issues and other carwash-related crimes.2
Thanks to advancements in surveillance technology, carwash owners and operators are better equipped to fend off common threats and challenges. Carwash owners must stay informed on these advancing technologies and carwash security best practices to make informed decisions on protecting their businesses.3 Investing in the right security systems can exonerate owners from false claims and quickly alert authorities as soon as threats arise.
Aaron Smith is a Los Angeles-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients, including CCTV Security Pros, which is a commercial surveillance systems provider.