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The Beginner’s Guide to Business Security Cameras

Business owners want to defend their business, their assets, and deter crime to keep their property and employees safe. Security cameras are a good option, but if there is minimal or absolutely no business security structure in place, it may be a challenge to determine which type of camera system is best suited for their facility.

Here are things to consider when choosing a video surveillance system:

1. Brand Name

Staring at a sea of options can be really confusing especially with the influx of brand names to choose among. If you haven’t already sorted through what matters to you and what doesn’t, don’t be suckered into buying the wrong camera and system for your needs based on the brand name. With the advent of the internet and its sophisticated search engines, accessing information is all within arm’s reach.

Want to install security cameras at your business? Here’s the information you need

Here’s what really matters today: industry professionals’ ratings, reviews, and blog comments on countless sites that matter.

Most consumers are likely to purchase a camera system from large wherehouses because as a wholesale corporation, Costco for example, seems trustworthy and the products they sell are often cheap and easy to install. However, several weeks later, consumers often find themselves reaching out to professional installers to service their equipment. Why? Because many of these big-box store CCTV systems are built below current industry standards.

2. Different Types of Cameras

While each type of camera has its positives, it’s best to understand the key differences between the notable types used for business security today: bullet, dome, PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom), and wireless cameras.

Bullet CCTV cameras protrude outward and resemble a “rifle bullet”. This camera is designed to capture long-range images from a fixed location such as an extensive parking lot or a truck yard. Bullet cameras are the most used cameras because they are the easiest to install since a mounting bracket is attached.

Dome CCTV cameras are named for their dome-like shape. They are commonly used for indoor surveillance applications because of its aesthetically pleasing look and its ability to blend in with the ceiling. Their shape makes it difficult to determine which direction the camera is facing which is ideal for deterring criminals.

PTZ CCTV cameras can cover a much larger area because of their ability to pan, tilt, and zoom. The cameras offer more benefits than stationary cameras because of their field of view. They have the ability to rotate on a 360 degree plane. When used in installations, PTZ cameras are tamper proof due to the height at which they are installed.

Wireless camera systems are battery powered, which means running cable is not involved. The major advantage of these devices is its ability to position them anywhere within range of a wireless receiver.

3. Specifications

Resolution: Naturally, before making a purchase decision, a customer wants to know how clear the video resolution will be. CCTV resolution is measured in two ways, TV lines (analog technologies) and pixels (digital technologies). An analog camera feeds your security images directly to a television, monitor, or a digital video recorder.

An IP camera feeds your security images directly to a web server. IP cameras can deliver a much higher resolution. The larger the resolution, the greater the ability to capture detailed images. This also means you can usually reduce the number of cameras required to view a specific area by using IP cameras.

Infrared: If most incidents and thefts occur at night when lighting is dim, infrared security cameras are worth spending the money on. Not only are these cameras difficult to detect in low-light situations, but they also capture images just as well in total darkness as they do in bright sunlight; therefore you’re always protected 24/7. For this reason it is very important to select one the best night vision security camera.

Field of View: The field of view of a security camera is the area, in width, that the camera lens can see. On a specification sheet, you will see the field of view measured in degrees. The most typical field of view is 90° and it can capture all the objects in the camera’s view. If you have a bigger facility, such as a truck yard, you may want to consider installing a PTZ or a wide-angle lens camera to ensure you capture all activity to view the extended shot of the area.

Bandwidth: Not having enough bandwidth to view cameras remotely is a common mistake when designing a security camera system. There are four factors to consider when planning the connection speed of remote recording: video resolution, video compression, number of cameras, and frame rate per second.

If you do not require a lot of cameras or high-resolution video, the bandwidth requirements will be more minimal. However, if you require high-resolution video and high frame rates, you will require a typical commercial internet speed of at least 10mbps (megabit per second) download and 5mpbs upload.

4. Weather Rating

If you’re looking to install outdoor security cameras, make sure you invest some time understanding the different ratings for weather resistant cameras. They are defined as IP66, IP67, etc. and they are not to be confused with IP (Internet Protocol) cameras.

The first digit is a number from 0-6 and it refers to ingress by solid objects such as dust, the second digit is a number from 0-8 and it refers to ingress by liquids such as water. For a security camera to endure a Canadian winter, find a camera with a IP68 rating.

5. Camera Positioning

To get maximum results from your cameras, ensure your cameras are always clean, that they are pointing in the right direction, and have a clear field of view. Other than buildings, camera systems may be installed on existing light poles as well. The problem with this is that poles sway, vibrate, and bend, which can result in extremely shaky video.

Also, you certainly don’t want your security cameras around lighting poles with high voltage output which will cause problems to your video.

Many avoid installing cameras to cover the entire perimeter of their facility due to:

  • Trenching
  • Electrical complications
  • Distance challenges
  • Very high cost

6. Service and Maintenance

Security cameras (especially outdoor cameras) require regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure that the system is functioning for an extended period.

7. Video Recorders

An essential component to security cameras is their surveillance recording method. With the use of video recorders, you can easily access your recorded footage at any given moment. Storage capacity for recorded video is very important. We recommend purchasing a hard drive that will provide you with at least 15 days of recording archived footage before footage on the recorder is overwritten.

8. Video Analytics

Video analytics is far superior than video motion detection. Its general functionality is based on rules, filters and algorithms and it can identify items of interest, eliminate the cause of false alarms, and provide more useful information.

9. Remote Viewing 

Remote video surveillance allows users to view their live video at any given moment as long as they have internet access. However, if more than one remote device and user logs in to the network to review the footage, users may see lagging/delay in streaming the footage.

If you have a camera system in place, we recommend hiring a dedicated person to observe the cameras in real time to be proactive if a crime takes place. Once a crime has happened and the criminals have gotten away, it is difficult for the police to assist especially if you cannot provide enough evidentiary support.

Acting quickly and proactively intervening in a situation can stop the criminals before they strike or help police catch them in the act.

10. Voice-Down

Installing speakers with 300W of sound is the best way to acknowledge that a trespasser is on site. If someone is watching your facility in real time, have them describe the individual’s appearance, mention their vehicle’s license plate, and inform them that they are being monitored in real time and say goodbye to unwanted trespassers! License plate reader cameras are very powerful and use advanced technology during the night and day vision.

To conclude, CCTV cameras have many advantages. They are an essential part of protecting your business, assets, and deterring crime. If you have any additional questions about security cameras, Birdseye Solutions would be happy to help. Please contact us today.