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Video Surveillance Technologies

Video surveillance has often proven helpful in producing evidence after a crime has been committed, and plays a role in deterring some incidents. But unfortunately, it seems video surveillance is no longer enough. Threats of violence and attacks have become more prevalent, forcing us to increase our security measures.

Containing and preventing violence has become rather costly over the years. In fact, the economic costs for prevention and recovery reached a peak high at $52.9 billion in 2014. This cost is far greater than the cost of carrying out the acts.

A real time solution is necessary. This can start with technology that has the ability to detect weapons while assessing the level of threat in the process. While this advanced technology could save lives, it could also save us billions of dollars by stopping these incidents before they happen.

For example, the fiscal impact of the September 11th attacks was found to have cost $55 billion in physical damage, $123 billion in economic damage, along with other expenses such as developing the Homeland Security Department and funding the war. The tragedy of lives lost and money spent to repair damages shows us that a more proactive approach, rather than reactive measures, would prove to be more effective.

It is estimated that the United States spends about $100 billion a year on counter-terrorism measures. With proactive efforts, these reactive expenses could possibly go toward other areas that need attention and improvement.

Aside from anti-terrorism, surveillance technologies can benefit many industries. For example, big retailers are investing more into their security. Wal-Mart, for instance, is in the process of deploying drones to monitor warehouse inventory. It is advances like this that get us one step closer to embracing futuristic machines.

What are your thoughts on the future of surveillance technologies? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Shop our selection of CCTV security cameras systems and more at SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions, please call 888-203-6294.

Dummy Cameras

If you’re looking for a very inexpensive way to protect your home or business, dummy security cameras could be a smart solution for you. While the costs are low, the effectiveness of dummy cameras can be limited in certain situations. So are dummy CCTV cameras worth the investment?

Studies have shown that security cameras can deter property crime. More often than not, criminals will be discouraged if there is a higher chance of getting caught, thus, will move on to an easier target. With that being said, the security camera does not have to be real, however, it should closely mimic one to get the real effect.

Before you purchase a dummy camera, you should know what features to look for and which to avoid.

You will want a dummy camera that looks real close up and from far away. They should replicate existing security cameras and include a visible data cable and power outlet.

Red LED bulbs are often placed on dummy cameras to draw attention and show that they are recording. However, real cameras are designed to be inconspicuous and only have a hidden green light on the back to let owners and technicians that the camera is active.

In addition to red LED lights, you should also avoid dummy cameras that have an automatic motor which allows the camera to pan side to side. Real security cameras are usually motion activated and only track movement when it is detected.

Advantages
The cost-benefits ratio of a dummy security camera is its main selling point. Their price is minor in comparison to the cost of security cameras, monitoring stations, plus wiring and installation fees.

You also don’t need a technician to install these, nor the added equipment and man power to manage and store recordings. You will also save on maintenance costs as it is not necessary with dummy cameras.

Disadvantages
On the other hand, should the burglar choose to target you regardless of the faux camera, you will have no footage to submit to local authorities in hopes of identifying the subject. Also, those who know about the fake system (ex. neighbors, former employees) may leak the information rendering your system useless.

If you are in the market for a dummy camera or an affordable CCTV surveillance system, browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com! Request a site survey, get a free quote, or inquire about our installation services by calling us at 888-203-6294.

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Video Surveillance Troubleshooting

Problems that may arise with security camera systems are sometimes related to powering issues or even factory defects. However, more often than not, these problems are usually attributed to improper cabling and connections, which boils down to the installation.

Prior to security camera system installation, technicians must be mindful of the features, functions, and especially the limitations of the actual hardware. While all installations are different, an understanding of the specific system and the customer’s expectation is crucial for a quality job.

Here are some common installation problems you may come across along with helpful trouble shooting tips.

Rolling Lines On The Screen
Whether they are white or multi-colored, these rolling lines or ghosting over the camera’s video are often caused by video cables that run close to high-voltage power sources.

To prevent this, cameras should be tested at another location prior to installation in order to eliminate any hardware defects as a cause to any future issues. Also, keep wires away from sources that supply high-voltage electrical charges at any point of the run. Improperly grounded electrical circuits can also cause video disturbances, which is why high quality camera cables are crucial.

Infrared Glare/”White Out”
The most common causes of IR glare are reflective surfaces and large, lightly colored areas. “White out” (unrecognizable white silhouettes on screen) is often caused by objects that are too close to the camera. Also, if you install infrared security cameras under eaves, the beams of the IR LEDs may hit parts of the structure and bounce back, causing the reflection to blind the camera.

To combat these potential problems, install your cameras in areas clear of any objects that may cause glare or obstruct the camera’s view. Also, be sure that the user keeps these areas clear (at least three feet). You should also test daytime and low-light conditions before completing installation. Cameras with “Smart IRs” that have dynamic IR strengths can help to alleviate these problems as well and ensure high-quality night time images.

IR Cameras Unable To See In The Dark
In order to employ IR cameras properly, a surface is necessary for the IP light beams to bounce off. For example, when you point a flashlight into the night sky it remains dark because there is nothing allowing the light beams to bounce back.

Choose cameras that have sufficient IR distance capabilities. During installation, point the cameras at an angle facing a surface (ex. ground, wall) and test them under low-light conditions before proceeding.

Extreme Glare During Daylight
If your property has lots of glass doors and windows, you may have an issue with extreme glare. Glare from the sun does not mix well with security cameras, which means a special alternative is necessary.

In these situations, you want to invest in cameras with mechanical Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). These are designed to prevail in extreme lighting conditions. While “digital WDR” does it exist and can be helpful in these situations, it does not work as well as true, mechanical WDR.

Insufficient Power Causing Cameras To Drop Out
Without the proper power source, security cameras will not perform properly, causing them to drop out or lose power. While spec sheets may specify the camera’s power needs, they may not factor in the added power necessary for IR/low-light applications. For example, the system may work fine during the day, but drop out at night when the IR kicks in.

It is advised that you use a power supply which supports twice the voltage requirements of all your cameras combined.

When it comes to power, distance may play a role as well. Voltage drops can occur due to poor quality cables and long distances. To avoid this issue, AC voltage is recommended for runs greater than 250ft.

Inadequate Coverage
With great features and functions come limitations as well. For maximum coverage of your property, first map out your installation to identify areas that need surveillance. Based on the locations, you can determine which specific features you need for certain areas. For example, focal lengths and angles of view should be considered (longer lenses for closer view, shorter lenses for wide-angle shots). In general, license plate cameras should be installed no more than five feet from vehicles and valuable points of interest (such as cash registers, entrances and exits) should have a camera dedicated solely to monitoring that area.

Have you come across any issues not mentioned here? How did you resolve it? Share your stories and advice with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Choose SecurityCamExpert.com for quality security cameras along with professional installation and support services. Visit us online or call 888-203-6294 to learn more!

Common Security Camera Mistakes

When it comes to security, you want to deter intruders from targeting your property. Investing in advanced security and surveillance cameras with the latest technologies can be a smart approach, however, in order to be effective, they must be installed properly. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when installing a security camera system on your property.

Mistake #1 – Hiding Your Cameras
The presence of security cameras can deter bad behavior, so why would you hide them? Making them visible from the street, yet out of reach, is a good idea. Keeping the cameras out of reach is important to prevent any tampering or vandalism that could compromise their performance. Burglars are always on the hunt for an easy target, and homes or businesses with security cameras create an extra obstacle.

Mistake #2 – Camera Positioning
The important places to monitor are rather obvious, but you must also take intermittent lighting and weather conditions into consideration. Things like direct sunlight can wash out your recordings, while rain or snow can build up on the lens, and windy days can make branches and leaves a problem. All of these can interfere with your recordings and possibly make your footage useless.

The best way to avoid these issues is to employ proper housing to protect and shade your cameras. Keep an eye on your feed to ensure that various weather conditions are not interrupting your surveillance.

Furthermore, if you’re using IP cameras, it is crucial that each camera location has strong and consistent Wi-Fi signal. Weak or spotty connection will impede your camera system’s performance.

Mistake #3 – Cheap Systems
Unfortunately, not all security cameras are equal. While there are many inexpensive cameras and systems that may seem appealing (especially to your wallet), you will likely run into performance issues. When shopping for security cameras, be sure to pay attention to features and specifications. Look into user feedback and reviews to ensure you are making a sound investment.

Mistake #4 – Passwords
With anything security related, we can’t stress enough how important strong passwords are. And always, always, ALWAYS change the default password. If someone gains unauthorized access to your surveillance feed, they can study the layout of your system and your daily routines, mapping out the best time to attack.

If you have an internet-connected system, it likely offers remote monitoring, thus you need a password to access it. Again, change your default password as soon as possible, and choose a strong, complex, and long password that you can remember.

Mistake #5 – DIY Installation
While it may seem more practical to set things up on your own, it might be better to leave it to the professionals. You don’t want to risk ruining your equipment because you installed it improperly. Trustworthy companies usually offer warranties, and will come back to fix any issues should they arise.

Do you have any other advice to add? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a great selection of quality security cameras & CCTV surveillance packages, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information about our products and installation services, please call 1-888-203-6294.

How Connected Technologies Can Help In Emergencies

Staying connected to your home is a convenience in itself, but in the case of natural disasters and emergencies, it can be an invaluable tool. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, you likely have an emergency plan in place. However, a connected home can provide new and safer options to manage the situation.

Regardless of whether it is your home, vacation property, or even the home of a loved one, here are some ways connected technology can benefit you in the face of an emergency and beyond.

Crimes
Unfortunately, emergency evacuations mean abandoned homes and properties, which is ideal for looters. With connected security cameras, you can keep an eye on who might be entering your home, as well as monitor the possible damage occurring as a result of the natural disaster.

Smart Sensors
Installing water sensors can alert you of flood conditions and even slow leaks, which can cause significant damage over time if not detected early.

Aside from water sensors, carbon monoxide and gas detectors can save lives by alerting you when levels become dangerous.

Connected devices such as smart locks and garage doors often have motion detection sensors which notify you when someone enters or exits your home.

Remote Monitoring & Push Notifications
Because you can monitor from a safe distance, these are ideal in emergency situations. Push notifications provide up-to-date alerts which allow you to deal with situations in a timely fashion. Both enable you to monitor and understand what is going on without putting yourself in danger.

Affordable & Reliable Communication
Because these technologies seem so advanced, people often interpret this as complicated and expensive. However, this is not the case. There are various solutions on the market that offer relatively simple installation for cost-effective prices. Because the accessories and transmission processes have become more affordable over the years, connected technology is more accessible and easier to manage and maintain.

Insurance Discounts
You can possibly get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance if you install smart, connected devices. Many insurance providers are now offering discounts for those with smart homes. Some providers even partner with connected technology manufacturers to offer more incentives for customers.

Furthermore, choosing smart devices for your home helps to relieve emergency personnel and law enforcement agencies. Instead of entering an area affected by a natural disaster, you can check in on your property remotely to stay out of harm’s way and avoid interrupting the ongoing work of emergency personnel.

Peace Of Mind
As a whole, connected devices can offer some peace of mind in stressful, dire times. While these devices can be extremely helpful in disaster areas, all homeowners can benefit from a connected home.

Are you currently using any smart devices or connected technologies within your home? Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For the best affordable CCTV security and surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 1-888-203-6294 today!

The Future Of Retail Loss Prevention

Loss prevention tactics began with in-store monitoring and patrol. As our technologies evolve and the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, security measures have improved. In fact, a U.S. retail fraud survey revealed that spending on store fraud prevention declined while online fraud prevention spending increased.

Because cybercriminals are constantly sharpening their skills, loss prevention specialists are using new technologies to their advantage as well. For example, data analytics have helped specialists understand suspicious behaviors and patterns in the e-commerce and m-commerce environment, and social media vigilance has helped to identify potential threats.

As the retail industry continues to expand and grow, what’s to come in the future of retail loss prevention?

Video Surveillance
It’s true that retail uses a variety of different technologies to operate, including point-of-sale transaction profiling as well as RFID tracking. However, now more than ever, video surveillance is playing a larger and smarter role.

With video surveillance, loss prevention officers have been able to catch thieves in the act and the recordings have provided excellent evidence. With the introduction of built-in facial recognition technology and video analytics, video surveillance can do so much more.

In the same vein, the smart features, connectivity and convenience put these devices at risk. While their role is to protect the business, retailers must do their part to protect their devices, data, shoppers, and employees.

IT & Outside Vendors
Because of this, loss prevention specialists must develop their knowledge and skills with the new technology. They should understand how to use data analysis to identify ever-changing criminal activities, such as new ideas, concepts and schemes.

Loss prevention specialists, cybersecurity specialists and IT team members must all work together to create a system that complies with privacy issues and maintains heightened security to prevent any data breaches or disasters.

Development Of New Responsibilities
As retailers begin to shift from their brick-and-mortar stores (some even closing completely) to focus on e-commerce and m-commerce, the role of data loss prevention specialists will morph into something new, which encompasses more aspects involved in keeping a company safe and secure.

What are your thoughts on the future of retail and loss prevention? Share your predictions and opinions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Choose the best security cameras and CCTV surveillance equipment to protect your business or home. Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our selection today!

IP Video Surveillance For Your Business

Video surveillance can be an invaluable asset for businesses. It helps to improve security, manage risks, and boost efficiency. Most benefits of video surveillance can be seen and measure, however, determining its financial return isn’t as easy.

In order to better understand the fiscal value of IP video surveillance, security leaders consider the impact and effect of a hypothetical security event. This gives them better insight to how effective their surveillance system is. And by understanding how IP video surveillance adds value to your business, you demonstrate your overall dedication to success. Here are some of the ways IP video surveillance can influence and improve your business.

Protection
A common reason to employ IP video surveillance is to protect your property, employees, and customers. It can help to minimizes losses when it comes to a security incident, however, it can go further. The application of IP video surveillance can also ensure cyber security, data protection, intellectual property and brand reputation. By protecting these assets, a cohesive approach to risk management can be achieved.

Various Applications
Again, video surveillance goes beyond security and safety. It has become a fundamental aspect when building a business. Aside from monitoring on-site and remote locations, surveillance footage can be analyzed to improve employee productivity and help to measure the success of marketing campaigns. This data can be valuable across different departments, which adds to its value and merit.

Demonstrate ROI
There are different ways you can evaluate and determine the total cost of ownership for your system. For example, by investigating liability claims with video footage, you can save money and prevent future slip-and-fall claims. Some cases may be proven false, while others may bring to light new or unnoticed safety risks that can be addressed.

The stronger your system is, the more money you can potentially save. The most effective systems are comprised of enough cameras to cover all areas and detect crimes in progress, with highly trained staff to monitor the different feeds. A system that can do this as well as integrate the technology into all manner of law enforcement activities will demonstrate true ROI to security leaders.

Remote Monitoring
Remote monitoring is an excellent luxury of IP video surveillance. When alarms go off or unfamiliar activity is detected, rather than sending managers or guards to investigate, you are provided with alerts and can respond quickly and appropriately.

Building a system that meets these standards will be a great addition to your business. What other benefits do you enjoy with your video surveillance system? If you don’t have one now, are you considering implementing an IP video surveillance system for your business? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

We carry a great selection of IP video surveillance cameras, equipment, packages, and more. Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our inventory or call 1-888-203-6294 to speak with a representative.

How To Utilize Your Security Cameras

Aside from keeping your home safe from intruders, security cameras can serve many different purposes. Here are some clever and smart ways you can utilize your surveillance system.

Security Cameras & Floodlights
While there are security cameras with night vision and infrared LED lights, sometimes clarity and resolution is compromised in these settings. If you’re monitoring outdoors, consider installing floodlights to keep your surroundings illuminated. Floodlights with built-in motion sensors can help you save energy and startle whoever may be lurking in the dark. Consider installing these near doors or windows, patios, and backyards.

Wireless Security Cameras
Going wireless allows you to monitor places in your home that are off limits to your children, and can even allow you to keep an eye on your pets while you’re away. So long as there is Wi-Fi connection nearby, they cameras should be able to operate.

Baby Monitor
If you’re already using security cameras within your home, there’s no need to invest in a separate baby monitor. You can use a security camera, or a web cam, to monitor your toddlers while they sleep. Depending on your equipment, you may also be able to speak and soothe your child through the camera.

Peace Of Mind
If you have teens, you can make sure that they arrived home safely after school and are on their best behavior. If you have elderly parents that live on their own, remote access to their home security camera can alert you when something is wrong. Some systems even allow two-way audio so you can communicate with your family without picking up the phone.

Doorbell Cameras
There are devices on the market now that integrate a security camera with your doorbell. That way, whether you’re home or not, you can see who is at your door and communicate with visitors. This can be helpful if you have received a package, but no one is home to accept it. You can ask the delivery person to set it aside in an inconspicuous area.

The Unknown
You never know what you’ll catch with your security cameras. Whether it is the cause of a strange noise or an unfamiliar, suspicious-looking car from your outdoor cameras, or simply the culprit who is always leaving the food out, you can get to the bottom of some mysteries.

Nanny Cams
As one of the first mainstream home security cameras, nanny cams can be rather helpful. Whether you are wary of your nanny or other visitors in your home, you can use nanny cams to put your mind at ease. These cameras are often hidden in ordinary objects such as clocks, smoke alarms, teddy bears, etc., making them hard to distinguish.

Smart Homes
Lastly, your security cameras can be incorporated into your overall smart home system. IFTTT (If This Then That) service is a free service that allows different smart home devices to connect and “talk” to each other. Some examples of what you can program include having your lights turn on whenever motion is detected in that room, or only having your cameras record when you are not at home.

How else do you use your security cameras? Share your ideas with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

If you’re looking to invest in a quality security camera system, choose SecurityCamExpert.com! We carry a wide selection of surveillance cameras and equipment, plus we offer free site surveys and affordable installations and service. Call 1-888-203-6294 to learn more.

How Dash Cams Can Help You

Thanks to their popularity in Russia, we have an abundant supply of dash cam footage, from heart-stopping driving blunders to failed carjackings and more. While these videos often go viral, dash cams serve a much more meaningful purpose.

Because the streets of Russia are often filled with lawless drivers, many have turned to dash cams for their own safety. The use of dash cams is also spreading to the rest of Europe, Australia, and even the US. Many patrol cars are equipped with dash cams that record both the inside of the cabin and the road ahead.

What Are Dash Cams?
Dash cams are relatively small in size and are often mounted onto your windshield via suction cup. They can plug into a 12V power supply within your car, and most have a backup battery to save footage in case power is lost. Video is usually recording on a continuous loop on an SD card; when storage is full, the oldest footage is deleted first to make space for the new recordings.

You get what you pay for when it comes to dash cams. With a higher price tag, you usually get dash cams with built-in GPS, which tracks your speed and location, better night vision resolution, and parking mode.

Dash Cam Benefits
Dash cams were largely adopted by taxis, trucks, bus drivers, and businesses with large fleets. Now, everyday drivers are using them as a way to provide evidence when a collision occurs. Aside from witness accounts, which can be fairly subjective and sometimes inaccurate, dash cams can provide hard evidence.

Despite this, installing a dash cam may not lower your insurance rate, but it can help speed up the process when you are involved in a crash. The footage obtained is admissible in court and can help determine who is at fault. It can also help to prevent insurance fraud, in which drivers deliberately cause accidents to extort money.

Aside for aiding in the case of car accidents, dash cams can also capture parking incidents, road rage, and even help parents feel at ease by monitoring teenage drivers.

If you are considering investing in a dash cam, here are a few things you should look for:

  • Automatic loop recording
  • Seamless recording – to eliminate gaps in recording
  • Heat resistance
  • Impact detection
  • Powered shutdown and file write – saves footage when you lose power in an accident
  • Wide angle lens – provides better coverage
  • High resolution – at least 1080HD for license plate capture
  • Built-in display screen with removable memory card
  • Night Vision

Do you own a dash cam, or are you thinking about it? What benefits are most appealing to you? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Find us on Pinterest and Vine, too.

For an excellent dash cam, choose our Thinkware FXD700 2CH Full HD Car DVR Blackbox Camera with GPS or browse the rest of our security camera selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call 1-888-203-6294.

Networked Devices

It used to be common to see security guards monitoring public areas such as parking lots or building entrances, but, these days, the prevalence of security cameras is growing. Our means of surveillance is transitioning from human surveillance to networked devices. While some areas have added security cameras to complement their guards, others rely on comprehensive security systems.

There are numerous reasons why network security cameras are becoming more widespread. Aside from the covert nature of security cameras, technology allows us to do more with fewer risks. Rather than potentially putting a person’s life in danger, you can monitor your surveillance feed remotely and be aware of what is going on in various places. This will enable you to react in a timely manner and as safely as possible.

Some may oppose the implementation of security cameras for fear of an invasion of privacy, but they fail to acknowledge that other platforms that are seen as more acceptable can pose a threat. For example, loyalty programs often track and record your purchasing history and can be linked to your image through facial recognition technology. And think about how ads are becoming more tailored to the viewer’s interests. Common things like mobile phones, social media, credit cards, and more can offer data and insight about a person.

In comparison, surveillance cameras would simply be used to monitor public areas to improve safety. When crimes occur, footage can provide evidence, as well as paint the picture of events leading up to the incident.

Mass CCTV coverage has been achieved in cities like London and Melbourne. In some British cities, traffic light operation has been used to prevent criminals from escaping by car. This shows that networked devices can work together to increase safety and security.

There are obvious risks and benefits when it comes to networked devices and data collection. What are your thoughts on the use of connected devices and the Internet of Things in terms of security and surveillance? Do you think more cities will follow London and Melbourne’s lead and adopt a mass surveillance system? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Vine, and Pinterest.

For a great selection of security cameras, CCTV surveillance equipment, and more, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. To inquire about a site survey or our installation services, please call 1-888-203-6294.

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