CHOOSING A VIDEO SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM…
Video surveillance gear is available in a number of completely different permutations. Here’s how to choose the solution that’s best for you
Is More Than One Camera needed?
Deciding whether you should go with one or more cameras will depend on size and layout of your area. If you have a large area or multiple rooms, you are going to need more than one camera in order to do the job properly. Usually, small companies can be successfully monitored with four cameras. Ensure every camera can “see” key areas, like doorways, windows, and any other possible entrances (roofs, crawlspaces… anywhere an unwanted guest may gain access). High performance video surveillance kits, will contain 4 or more cameras, hard drive, a digital recorder, a video monitor and sufficient video cabling for the majority of installations. Most times, you end up needing one or two more cameras than you originally planned. Most all-in-one kits and prepackaged surveillance systems are expandable and can include more cameras as your needs change.
Do You Want Hidden Cameras?
Hidden cameras can be your best option when needing to collect information or proof without the person knowing. However, cameras in plain sight effectively deter potential criminal activity simply because of their presence. Thieves will think twice when there is a watchful eye looking down on them.
Indoor or Outdoor?
Indoor and outdoor environments have different lighting conditions. Another massive difference is weather. An indoor environment can be a controlled climate with air conditioning, heating and humidity-control, outdoors, however is a completely different story.
UV rays, wind, rain and contaminants can take indoor-use security equipment down very quickly. If needing to film outdoors, you need to go with a tough outdoor camera. Even though most indoor cameras can not be utilized outdoors, most outdoor cameras are designed for both indoor and outdoor use.
How is The Lighting?
The lighting level of the area you will be filming absolutely impacts your camera choice. When the area is well-lit there are very few limitations on the camera you can choose. Ample light will allow for just about all security cameras to record clear footage.
Poor lighting conditions require more consideration, every surveillance camera is not built to handle it. Search for cameras that have a light sensitivity of 1 Lux or lower. They will be labeled as a DAY/Night camera or list low light compatibility with their specifications. Day/Night cameras will provide the absolute most flexibility, it allows you to consistently monitor any area, even with continuous fluctuation in the lighting
How Do You Record and View Surveillance Video?
There are many ways you can capture & store images from surveillance cameras. For easier security setups, memory card recording is the typical method. Memory cards are very effective when using a single camera in your system. You may find some cameras have a built in memory card, others may need to be connected to a standalone, however they are not ideal for long term use, they store significantly less data. More memory means the device can record longer before it runs out of space.
Dedicated DVR’s (digital video recorder) are the best option for sophisticated surveillance systems, they are able to record so much more video than a removable memory card. Small DVRs made only for personal use can support a single camera, others may support up to 16 cameras at one time and record video to their built in hard drives. People, sometimes use personal computers as their hard drive recorders, this is not recommended for sophisticated systems. Doing this is not as dependable as a stand alone DVR system.
Wired or Wireless?
A factor in your decision processing is deciding if you need hardwired or not. Typically, wired surveillance is a more secure and solid video signal since it’s transmitted through cable and the air. However, wired surveillance can be more costly and take more energy to install.
Wireless cameras, on the other hand can be positioned nearly in any area with ease, since there will be no running new cables or patching into already existing cables. Thanks to the ever improving encryption protocols, such as WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) & TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) signal is becoming less of an issue.
Choosing a video surveillance system depends, in part, on the nature of your business: structure,size, all possible entry points, etc. Knowing precisely why you need this technology and exactly where you want the cameras mounted is suggested prior to purchasing any video surveillance.
One thing is certain; regardless of how many cameras you have, they need to be capable of providing a very good view of prominent areas.