The construction site live video feed: Does it make marketing sense?

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Is it worthwhile for you to consider setting up live video feeds of your construction projects?

There is some indication that this technology may be valuable, though obviously having 24/7 live surveillance (broadcast to the public) means that you would want everything you and your subtrades do on site be totally within the law (and clearly you should only broadcast a feed where the relevant owner would not object — I can’t really see the idea being welcome in a place where there are government or business secrets to protect.)

Conversely, the video can drive away people who would rather live in the shadows, and these are individuals you generally don’t want to have in your neighbourhood.

As an example, an Everett, WA auto shop had a serious problem with drug-users and homeless people setting up camp on the street outside his business. Repeated calls to the police didn’t solve the problem. Things got so bad with associated crime and damage that the city would send crews three times a week to clean up the mess — only to have the drug-using campers return within hours.

These problems ended after a few weeks of video feeds. Cameras caught the campers openly selling and using drugs, and sometimes committing crimes. Then they caught images of police arriving on the scene to arrest the criminals (obviously with a good case, since there was live video evidence.) ¬†There weren’t any privacy issues here — the campers were on the public sidewalk. Eventually the drug users decided that the best thing to do would be to move elsewhere, so now you have a video feed of a truly boring street. Mission accomplished.

Besides reminding employees and subcontractors that they had better observe all safety requirements, the camera provides documentation if anything goes wrong. And, from a marketing perspective, it provides a continually evolving event image — engaging visitors in your construction story and business, and giving them the opportunity to be sidewalk superintendents without risking any project interference.

While there are some technical and administrative costs with any live video system, it isn’t a big budget item on most larger projects. It’s something to consider.

Above: A video loop of a previously live feed for an Ottawa condo construction project. 

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