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The Importance of Research and Development


It’s human nature to fall into a schedule of predictability.  We become comfortable with how we do things, so we find no reason to change our behavior.  In the surveillance industry, if an investigative company becomes complacent they become predictable to the subject they are observing.  This is why new technology and tactics need to be created on a regular basis to stay ahead of the curve.

Four years ago the PhotoFax Unmanned Surveillance Vehicle (U.S.V.) was created.  It gave us the opportunity to monitor a subject for 120 hours continuously, with the power to control the camera from our headquarters in Hampshire, Illinois.  It was the first of its kind.  Even the most suspicious subjects could not identify the U.S.V. and we were able to obtain film that was once thought impossible to capture.

Even to this day we are still tweaking and improving the U.S.V. on a regular basis.  These modifications are what allow us to still conduct surveillance undetected.  In fact, in the past three months 98% of our U.S.V. cases have resulted in us obtaining film of the subject.  Even more impressive is we have averaged eighty minutes of film of the subject per case.  While the U.S.V. may be our secret weapon, our primary defense against fraud is still our highly trained investigators.  But even the most efficiently trained investigator can be ineffective if he/she does not have the proper tools for the job.  That’s why we are constantly testing out the newest cameras with the highest resolution and the most powerful optical zoom capabilities.  This insures that our agents are using the best equipment that technology has to offer.

Keeping an investigator comfortable and disguised is another extremely important aspect of surveillance.  The more covert and comfortable an investigator is, the better results he will potentially get.  That’s why each one of our agents is equipped with a company issued surveillance vehicle which comes fully loaded with all the surveillance “necessities”.

Once a subject has been documented, the client still needs to be provided the results in a quick and efficient manner.  In this day and age, everyone is on the go and adjusters do not have time to spend hours reading a report.  That’s why we give frequent updates while the case is being worked, and on the final report we have the most important information on the first two pages.  This way an adjuster does not need to do their own “investigation” and sift through a report for the case highlights.

This method of providing results has been extremely effective for us, but to ensure that we do not get complacent and fall behind the times, we enlist our PhotoFax “think tank” to dissect each report format regularly.  Their goal is to create a report that they would want to read if they were the client.  This is one of the main reason our customer service is the best the industry has to offer.

To develop a solution to a problem you must first research what works and what does not.  The PhotoFax team prides itself on being able to think of a solution to a problem before the problem even presents itself.  This strategy has kept us, and will continue to keep us, as the premiere investigation company in the United States.


John Wichmann

Head of Research & Development