The Role of Suppliers and Partners in Sustainable Surveillance Solutions for Today’s Cities

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Rodney Guinto Headshot

By Rodney Guinto, Key Account Manager – End User, Axis Communications

The increasing sophistication of video surveillance technology is helping more and more organisations and smart cities to achieve their respective sustainability goals. Video surveillance with sensors and analytics can help organisations make more efficient use of resources and detect environmental risks before they occur. Yet, an organisation’s sustainability efforts are easily undermined if they enter a partnership with a provider that doesn’t share the same values — and consumers are becoming less forgiving on this front.

To achieve true sustainability, it’s imperative for organisations to recognise that social responsibility exists across every facet of the supply chain. From raw material extraction to end-of-life product disposal, each stage presents an opportunity — and a responsibility — to implement measures that improve sustainability.

Challenges and solutions in sustainable surveillance

This year’s sustainability report by Axis highlighted energy consumption, and the subsequent release of CO2 emissions, as primary concerns in developing and implementing sustainable surveillance solutions. Transport and manufacturing usually have the largest environmental impact as far as the supply chain is concerned, however, on-premises operations, company cars, and business travel are also to blame.

Manufacturing products close to end-users, using sea and land transports instead of air, and streamlining packaging can help make transportation of surveillance products more efficient. But to improve the environmental impact of manufacturing, organisations must work closely with contract manufacturers and logistics companies to develop plans that help them reduce their use of fossil energy.

Beyond the supply chain, energy consumption during product use can have a significant environmental impact. This is why innovation in product design is so important. Devices that are designed to minimise waste in the form of heat and electrical noise, including external waste from ethernet transmissions and bandwidth size, can significantly reduce CO2 emissions caused by excess energy consumption.

In addition to reducing energy consumption, sustainable surveillance providers aim to reduce waste. Excess and poorly managed waste contribute to landfill which produces methane gas, harms animal and marine life, and contaminates soil, water, and air. Again, product design is important here. Cameras manufactured using minimal materials — or better yet, recycled, or renewable materials — can greatly reduce the impact that waste has on the environment. Manufacturing a durable camera will also ensure a long lifecycle. Even when replaced, long lasting cameras can be repurposed within the circular economy, converting them to a different application.

While environmental considerations are central to sustainability, the human rights aspect is also worth noting. The challenge is to ensure that products and solutions do not infringe on an individuals’ right to personal privacy or negatively impact those who come in contact with them.

The role of suppliers in sustainable surveillance solutions

While network cameras are just one part of an organisation’s supply chain, they can solve and support a number of environmental challenges facing organisations, and in fact, entire cities. The key is to find a surveillance provider that can be trusted to uphold sustainability values.

Relationships with providers should be grounded in honesty, open communication, and information sharing. Transparency around the environmental impact of manufacturing, transport, use, and waste is vital. While opting for sustainable network cameras built on an open platform ensures effortless and transparent data sharing.

Collaboration with partners for a greener future

As cameras can collect and analyse data relating to emissions, the right technology can also help organisations achieve their own environmental sustainability targets. This approach is especially true for cities and their planners, as cities have a disproportionate impact on the environment.

Optimising traffic control by monitoring use based on emissions is a common approach in cities across Europe, for example. Managing vehicle access, cameras can reduce congestion to improve air quality and help cities reduce their CO2 emissions.

Cameras can also help critical infrastructure and other industrial operations improve environmental safety. This is achieved by monitoring areas within an industrial site where emissions from burning excess gases may be present, or where harmful leaks of oil or chemicals may occur.

In today’s era, the responsibility for sustainability extends far beyond the confines of an organisation’s internal operations. Ensuring sustainability across the entire supply chain is essential to meeting sustainability goals and the expectations of eco-conscious consumers.

Aside from contributing to sustainable supply chains, ethically responsible surveillance providers can play a pivotal part in helping organisations reach their internal sustainability goals. Through continuous efforts, and collaboration with ‘green’ surveillance providers, organisations and cities can enhance the sustainability of their operations and protect the environment for future generations.

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