Implementing an advanced, top quality CCTV surveillance system can greatly improve your overall security. However, if not installed and maintained properly, it could ultimately be useless. In order to preserve its effectiveness, be sure your surveillance system is professionally installed and that you routinely complete maintenance checks.
Employ this video surveillance maintenance checklist to keep your system functioning optimally.
A dirty camera lens will compromise your video footage. Smudges, dust, water-spots and other undesirable elements can occur. To avoid this, check both indoor and outdoor camera lenses to ensure they are clean. Ideally, to clean your camera lenses, you should start with a compressed air can to blow the lens and remove loose debris, and then use a microfiber brush to gently wipe the lenses.
When installing outdoor cameras, be sure there are no obstructions. If you must install an outdoor camera near trees or other greenery, be sure to trim the landscape to keep the field of view clear.
Security camera housing is meant to protect your camera from rain, wind, and other elements, but sometimes it can be compromised. To ensure that the housing is functioning properly, open it to check for signs of water, dirt, and condensation. If you see any of these, it may be time to invest in new, better camera enclosures.
Be sure to monitor your connectors for any signs of corrosion. If you find that any are corroded, replace them immediately as this can cause the equipment to short out.
As you check the connectors for corrosion, you want to also make sure that all cable connectors are receiving power and watch for signs of wear and tear. If you find any exposed wire, replace it immediately.
To ensure that there is no loss of power, check your power supplies and UPS (be sure batteries are fully charged and no warning lights are on). You may also want to invest in a voltmeter to guarantee that your surveillance cameras are receiving their recommended power requirements.
As with any dormant device, your DVR may begin collecting dust. You should wipe this clean with a microfiber cloth (or use a blower to dust the crevices) regularly to prevent any negative effect on your DVR’s performance.
Depending on your hard drive capacity, you will need to periodically back up and delete your video footage once it fills up.
Set a weekly reminder to check on your camera recordings to make sure they are working. It is better to take preventative measures so that you don’t miss any important footage.
Make sure your security system is providing optimal surveillance by checking camera locations and focus. If there are any areas that are going unmonitored, you may consider adding additional cameras.
Be sure that your cameras are receiving adequate lighting to produce clear images for easy identification. Additionally, make sure cameras are not being washed out by sunlight during the day.
As mentioned, you want your camera to have an unobstructed view. Should a hidden camera become covered by a banner or poster, be sure to remove and/or relocate them.
Check the date and time on a daily basis for accuracy. A brief power outage may require the date and time to be set again.
Visible surveillance signage can act as a deterrent on its own. It lets potential intruders know that you are employing a video surveillance system and may discourage them from targeting your property.
Many service level agreements to maintain your surveillance system are available. They may include things like inspection, loaner gear, emergency response, extended warranty coverage, and more.
If you need help choosing the CCTV surveillance system and security cameras that will best suit your needs, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com today!
Video surveillance can be an excellent security measure in various environments. While retail stores and remote ATMs are commonplace locations for video surveillance, its benefits can also be seen when applied to a wide range of businesses and homes. Here are a few examples of these video surveillance benefits and why you should consider investing in it (if you don’t already).
For a great selection of CCTV video surveillance packages, security cameras, and other security solutions, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. To schedule a site survey, request a free quote, or inquire about our installation services, please call us 888-203-6294.
When shopping for a security system for your home or business, it may be easy to focus on the specific features of the security cameras. However, much attention should be paid to video surveillance storage as well. DVRs (digital video recorders) are an integral part to the overall surveillance system. Here are some of the features and specifications of DVRs that you should pay close attention to.
A frame rate is a unit of measure denoting the number of frames recorded in each second by a DVR in a specific resolution. Calculations should be made based on the real-time frame rate of about 30 frames per second (FPS). For example, in order to record real-time video on a standard 16-channel system, you would need a DVR that has 480 FPS.
Remember that sellers may claim real-time images as the units display live video at about 30 FPS on each channel, but this needs to be assessed based on the recorded video footage (not the live video). A basic unit may record videos at less than 30 FPS while a top-end unit may deliver 30 FPS on each channel.
Resolution is the size of the image displayed or recorded. The most popular resolution is CIF – 360×240, and the highest is specified as D1 – 720×480. This is an important specification to consider as larger recorded images afford you additional details for review. For example, 4CIF images can feature views detailed four times as much as a base CIF image. You can find a variety of DVRs boasting anywhere from CIF to D1 resolutions.
When the video is transferred to the DVR for storage, it is first compressed to save space and to make Internet viewing fluid. Compression standards can vary from basic to nearly no compression protocols (ex. MJPEG or wavelet) to the top-end compression methods (ex. MPEG4). Currently, the highest compression standards are H.264 (which is 40% more efficient than previous versions).
While compression methods may vary in DVRs, hybrid DVRs are available. These are capable of using a combination of compression methods, and can also be used to do compressions separately (Internet streaming vs. recording).
You will need to know how much data your DVR can hold. Presently, baseline DVRs may allow one or two hard drives only, while more advanced models now offer 6, 8, or more internal hard drives based on user requirements.
Popular DVRs also offer redundant storage (RAID) configuration and FTP uploads. The FTP uploads feature allows backup of video for the DVR at an off-premise FTP server. This helps to avoid any possibility of loss in the case of a local system crash or a DVR robbery.
Audio can sometimes be an important addition to video footage. Some DVRs may accommodate synced audio and video, with lower-end versions having one to four channels and higher-end options offering up to 16 channels. Be sure to review the laws and legalities in regards to audio recording.
There can be a wide variety of video output, from BNC to VGA to HDMI. If you have a mix of these, you may need to invest in quality converters to ensure proper connections and performance.
Network IP surveillance systems allow users to access video footage via the Internet from virtually anywhere. Advanced systems even allow viewing more than one DVR at a time. These DVRs can boast specialized features such as camera groupings, e-mapping, different levels of user privileges, and more.
If you need assistance in choosing the right DVR and security cameras for you, please feel free to contact us 888-203-6294 or browse our vast selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
With Independence Day fast approaching, many of us are making plans to celebrate. Whether it’s a family outing to the beach or a fireworks show, or simply a backyard barbecue at home, heed these safety tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Fireworks are safest when admired from afar (at least 500 feet). Look for local public fireworks displays and try to secure a prime spot early (as these tend to be crowded events). If your city allows fireworks and you decide to light them at home, please follow these safety precautions:
What is summer without backyard barbecues? As much as we love grilling under the sun, injuries are all too common when using backyard charcoal or gas grills. To prevent injury and maintain safety, follow these tips:
If your beach visit includes swimming in the ocean, be sure to learn how to swim in the surf within the designated swimming area and only when/where a lifeguard is present. In addition, be sure to obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
Rip currents are relatively strong, narrow currents flowing outward from the beach through the surf zone, posing a potential hazard to swimmers. In fact, rip currents are responsible for many deaths and lifeguards rescues on our beaches. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents, so be aware of the dangers and remember these things:
You should limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 (reapply often). Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water regularly (thirsty or not) and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent UV sunlight. Also remember to protect your feet – hot sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke – hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:
Don’t forget! We will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 for Independence Day. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. From everyone at SecurityCamExpert.com, we wish you a safe & happy Independence Day!
When it comes to security cameras, there are various types that work better in certain situations than others. Thanks to their specialized functions, PTZ cameras are ideal for monitoring large, high-traffic areas.
PTZ stands for Pan, Tilt, and Zoom, which means these security cameras can provide improved surveillance. These functions can be controlled manually (via monitoring software or a joystick) or automatically (via camera management software). Actively keeping an eye on the feed and the ability to manipulate the field of view means security staff can respond to any incidents that may arise quickly.
When employing camera management software, you have the option of setting up guard tours, which enables the camera to automatically move to set locations on a schedule. In addition, some PTZ security cameras offer auto-tracking, which can automatically follow a moving target (such as a person or car).
How Does PTZ Work?
As previously mentioned, PTZ cameras are ideal for surveillance of large areas including parking lots, common areas in schools or businesses, and convention centers. You may monitor the overall area while zeroing in on any suspicious activity. When paired with fixed network cameras that handle important locations such as entrances and exits, you can create a very flexible and functional surveillance system. With the fixed cameras maintaining an eye on vital points, the PTZ cameras are free to move around as needed. Furthermore, PTZ cameras are available for indoor or outdoor use in a variety of styles (but most commonly dome style).
Browse our selection of PTZ security cameras and more to suit your surveillance needs. Visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today!
We all know that the presence of surveillance cameras can influence behavior, which is why we use them for security for homes and businesses. Although having them installed in plain sight can be helpful, concealing their presence can also prove to be beneficial.
Careful consideration goes into installing hidden cameras both indoors and outdoors. When installing these cameras outdoors, there are various discreet locations from which you may choose. However, hiding security cameras indoors may be a bit more challenging. Here are some tips to help you properly hide your indoor security cameras.
Wires can be hard to hide as they must run along the walls. Instead, choose wireless cameras that can be controlled remotely and may use an electrical source or batteries.
Choosing the right location is key when it comes to hiding your cameras. You want your security camera to go unnoticed, but you also want to get the proper angle and viewing field to capture valuable footage. Seek out areas that often go overlooked and are more crowded and busy than clean and spacious.
Because you are trying to conceal them, you want to choose cameras that are smaller than usual, but still posses the qualities and features you require. Small, compact, and wireless security cameras are ideal.
Once you have chosen a compact security camera, rather than mounting it (which draws attention), use heavy-duty adhesive strips. Your camera may come with its own adhesive strips, but if not, you want to invest in the appropriate strips that can carry the weight of your camera (using additional strips may help reinforce it). But remember, if your camera works on a swivel & rotate mechanism, it may be mandatory to mount it to the wall.
Before settling on a location for your camera, you want to test the connectivity in that area. Do not ignore connectivity issues as these may indicate that your camera is not within range to receive the appropriate signals from the main hub. These issues will compromise the effectiveness of your camera, thus, you should find a new location that is within range.
In addition, if you will be installing multiple security cameras within your home, be sure to focus on one at a time. Install and test one camera at a time so that if problems arise, you can address them immediately.
When purchasing security cameras, it is important to evaluate the technical details and specifications of the different cameras and how they suit individual needs. If you have any questions or need assistance, we are happy to help – visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294. You may also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
As we embark on the summer season, home security is emphasized. The long days and warm weather call for later nights, weekend getaways, and vacations. Whether you stay home or not, up your home security with these helpful tips.
With several different points of weakness (ex. handle, lock, hinges, frame) an exterior door is a common target for burglars. Sliding doors and French doors present even more weaknesses.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to increase window security, whether they are old or you are installing new windows.
Unfortunately, an attached garage door can be easily compromised, and garage door security is often overlooked. What is especially troubling is that after gaining access, burglars can quickly shut the garage door behind them and take their time rummaging through your home without being seen.
Make Your Home Look Occupied
Regardless if you are home or not, you want to make it look like your home is occupied. An unoccupied home is a prime target for burglars.
Some of the best tactics are not thought of as prevention techniques.
Need help finding the right home security system for you? Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our selection of surveillance systems or call 888-203-6294 today!
When it comes to securing your property, CCTV cameras can be very effective. However, because there are a wide variety of CCTV cameras suited for different applications, if they are not properly implemented, their effectiveness may be compromised.
Before choosing your surveillance system, review the different types of CCTV cameras and the application for which they are best suited.
Different Types Of CCTV
PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) Camera
What To Consider
Choosing the right CCTV camera for your property is important. You want to evaluate your needs to determine where you will place these cameras as well as their primary use in that location. Some factors to consider when choosing include the lens, sensor, and output resolution.
The lens will dictate the quality of the image. The appropriate lens will allow your camera to focus and bring in enough light to the sensor, providing clarity and the ability to better identify things such as faces and license plates. A zoom lens will allow for further detail since it can adjust the light as it reaches to sensor for enhanced pictures and flexibility.
There are two types of sensors:
CCD are more expensive than CMOS and produce clearer images (ideal for identifying faces and license plates).
Generally speaking, the more pixels, the better the picture. The highest resolution you can get is 700TL, but most cameras range between 300-550TVL. Be sure to match a resolution that your camera can produce because anything more is unnecessary.
Other Things To Consider:
Box cameras are easier to be seen and clearly tell passersby that they are being recorded, which acts as a great deterrent. Dome cameras, on the other hand, are smaller and more discreet, making them ideal for monitoring larger areas such as front or backyards.
Consider where you will place your cameras both indoors and outdoors. If you plan on placing them outdoors, you want to ensure they are in the best location and well protected (weatherproof and vandal proof housing). For indoor cameras, you want to make sure it will not be affected by things like grease or steam from the kitchen.
Whether indoors or outdoors, lighting will always change so it is advised that you test different camera models to see what works best with your lighting conditions. You also want to check for any reflections or backlighting during day or night.
This will depend on the size of the area you want to monitor. Thus, a camera situated in a small room need not be of high resolution. The resolution of your CCTV camera should reflect the landscape in order to provide effective images.
This depends on your personal preference (you should also look into the laws regarding audio recording if applicable). Some CCTV systems allow you to speak to the intruders, or you can have audio or alarms sound automatically when they reach a certain point. These tactics are meant to scare the intruders away before they can cause damage.
If you need help choosing the right CCTV surveillance system, call 888-203-6294 and we will be happy to help! You may also browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com and connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
While video surveillance systems protect us from potential intruders and dangers, without the proper safeguards, these systems can fall victim to hackers. In order to maintain the integrity of your video surveillance system and keep the cybercriminals at bay, you may want to consider following these tips to protect your surveillance system.
Choose Branded Video Cameras
If you invest in cameras that are not branded, you may not receive the necessary updates and security patches that often come with branded security cameras. This means that your non-branded cameras will remain susceptible to vulnerabilities and exploits. Play it safe and purchase branded cameras known for quality cyber security and be sure to routinely check for patches and updates.
Protect Your Surveillance Network
A major vulnerability of surveillance systems lies in open IP cameras. With these IP cameras located across your property and connected to your network, anyone can disconnect your cameras and connect a laptop or device and gain access to your entire network. To prevent this, lock down the MAC addresses that can connect to the network, allowing only your cameras to connect to your surveillance systems.
Never put your surveillance cameras on the same network as your workstation. Keep your security camera network isolated via VLANs and only allow the video recorders to communicate with the cameras.
Change The Default Camera Password
This seems like a no-brainer, however, it must be said. The default password is often readily available on the company’s website, thus, it is advised to change the default password to a strong one that you can remember.
Keep Separate Logins For Access & Admin Privileges
Along the same lines, you want to keep separate logins when it comes to access and administrative privileges. That way only the appropriate employees can gain access to the admin privileges, such as updating firmware or obtaining streaming video.
Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our stock of affordable CCTV security cameras and video surveillance systems. To request a site survey or free quote, please call 888-203-6294.
Burglars often like to creep in the dark night in hopes of being undetected. This is precisely why night vision security cameras are so important. But keep in mind that the value of night vision cameras is directly connected to their effectiveness and performance. To employ the best night vision surveillance system, keep these things in mind.
Remember that all IR CCTV cameras have a quoted maximum range. For example, these can range from 5m to 50m or longer. This range is the absolute maximum, meaning at these extremes, your image quality will not be its best. Measuring how far you need to see and then adding a third of that is recommended. For example, if you need to see 30m, it may be advised to invest in a 40m camera.
On the other hand, you don’t want the IR to be too powerful either. Most CCTV cameras cannot adjust the IR brightness, thus, if a subject is too close to a camera designed for long ranges, it will simply look too bright and/or washed out.
IR LEDS are designed to brightly illuminate the center of an image, therefore, most of these cameras will not have a very wide angle of view. While this is not a common problem, some cameras will have varifocal lenses that can zoom out. With these, be aware that at the wide end of the zoom, the corners of your image will not be covered by night vision.
For all security cameras, you want to be sure that the field of view is clear of obstructions, but this is especially important for IR CCTV cameras. If there is something like a branch or leaves in the frame, the LEDs will focus on these and they will be brightly lit. The rest of the image will be made darker in order to compensate, thus rendering the image is useless.
In order for night vision cameras to work, IR needs something to reflect off of. When users point a camera into an empty field, they may be alarmed when there is nothing but darkness and may assume the night vision is not working, but this is not the case. When a subject moves into range, the IR can reflect off of it, and thus, the subject will be visible.
Keep the height at which your cameras will be installed in mind when you are considering the power of your night vision. This is especially important when installing cameras above ground floor height. For example, if your car is parked 4m away from your house, and your camera is mounted 3m from the ground, the actual distance from camera to car is 5m.
For a great selection of night vision security cameras and surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with us directly.