Customers love transparency. We like to know who we’re doing business with and we like to buy things from people we trust.

That’s why companies like Tesla and Rover have made the seemingly radical decision to open up their CCTV systems to their customers. They’ve turned the very definition of Closed Circuit Television on its head by opening it up and turning it into a powerful sales and marketing tool.

Customers of both the latest Tesla electric cars and the new Rover Mini can actually watch as their own personal vehicle is assembled. And why shouldn’t they ? These factories contain some of the greatest technology and manufacturing excellence in the world … that’s what the customers are buying when they choose these brands.

Make no mistake, this change was not lead by the security department, long conditioned to think in the mindset of keeping others out, locking down access and protecting the companies secrets. These innovations were led by the marketing departments who know the value of inviting customers in, of building trust and pride in not only the appearance of the company, but also the core internal processes.

However it’s not only a marketing tool, we’re seeing the same drive for transparency coming from other directions too. In particular in the food industry where mistakes in one part of the supply chain can cause long term damage to the entire industry affecting everyone from the farmer to the retailer. Here in Ireland, where agriculture is a cornerstone of our economy, we have led the way with transparency. Even in the places one might least expect to find the sharing of video information – the meat processing plants – it is now a requirement by the major retailers that they have on demand access to the CCTV on the factory floor. As Lenin said, “Trust is good, control is better”.

From the business owner’s perspective, the opportunities here for competitive differentiation are huge and the great news is that in most cases it’s just a case of getting some value out of a cost that has already been sunk. Usually the cameras are already in place, it’s just a case of hooking them up to a system such as Evercam that allows fine grained, secure control over who can see what and then reaping the benefits of a more open, more efficient organisation.