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.
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.
Keeping your security camera system in good condition and running sufficiently is very important. A routine system maintenance schedule will ensure you are getting the most out of your system. Here are some smart practices to consider when it comes to maintaining your security system.
You want to inspect both your indoor and outdoor cameras for any signs of corrosion and replace any connectors that show signs as this can cause your equipment to short out. Power supplies should be inspected to ensure that your system hasn’t lost power due to tampering, burn out, natural disasters or other unexpected events. If you have a UPS, make sure the battery is fully charged and does not show any warning lights.
Check your security cameras lenses for dust, smudges, water spots and other elements. A dirty lens can render your camera useless because the video and image quality will be compromised.
Evaluate your camera positioning and adjust accordingly based on your current surveillance needs. You also want to ensure your cameras have not become loose as this can interfere with recording quality. Jiggle the area to make sure there are no vibrations – tighten and adjust as necessary.
If you notice a decline in the performance of your security cameras, it is wise to replace them before they become completely useless. While you are inspecting your system, take note of any issues that need to be addressed (ex. broken parts). It is recommended that you purchase replacement parts or accessories from the same manufacturer or a trusted seller to ensure you are purchasing real parts. These usually have warranties and are less likely to deteriorate prematurely.
Make sure your outdoor cameras still have a clear view. Be sure to trim all vines, bushes, trees, and other foliage around the cameras to prevent obstructions. In addition, you should make sure any animals (ex. birds, squirrels, bees) have not made a home near your cameras.
Although you enclose your cameras in weatherproof housing, you must make sure that the housing has not been compromised. Open the camera housing to check for water, condensation or dirt, to confirm that your housing is still protecting your equipment. Furthermore, too much sunlight or water exposure can damage your cameras, thus protecting your cameras with an encasing or small shed is advised (especially if your cameras are not designed to withstand these elements).
When your security cameras stop working properly, more often than not, it comes down to loose connections or worn out cables. Examine all of your cable connections, including those connected to your security cameras, DVR, and monitor, for any cables that show signs of wear and tear. Address any potential issues to ensure your cables and equipment are securely connected and receiving power.
When you purchase and install equipment, you should receive a manual – store this in a safe and accessible place. You can refer to your manual to troubleshoot any issues before calling a professional (which can save you money in the long run).
Keeping your security system up and running protects your investment, your property, and you. Aside from your own semi-annual inspections, you may want to have a professional evaluate your system annually. This can help maintain the integrity of your system and they can advise you on possible upgrades or share helpful tips.
If you’re looking for affordable security cameras and surveillance equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Browse our selection online or inquire about site surveys, installation services, or request a free quote by calling 888-203-6294 today! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Home security camera systems help home owners protect their property and loved ones. They provide an extra set of eyes to monitor your home whether you are at home or away. Because of the financial investment, it is important to ensure that everything is working properly.
There are many ways in which you can optimize your surveillance cameras to get the most out of your security system. Here are a few smart security tips to improve your system.
Use Motion Detection
A security camera that is recording everything all the time sounds good in theory, but will require a large amount of memory and power. It will also be more difficult to sort through the mundane footage to find what you are looking for.
Thanks to motion detection, your camera does not have to record all the time. Motion detection enables your camera to start recording when activity in the field of view triggers the sensor. This means you will not need to worry about running out of storage space and makes it easier to sort through your recordings.
Choosing the right location for your security cameras is crucial. Be sure to adjust the angle of your camera to maximize your field of view and ensure that obstructions, such as trees or bushes, do not block the camera’s view.
Other Home Security Solutions
Although security cameras are important, they cannot do everything. Pairing your security camera system with a high quality and reliable alarm system can increase your home security overall and may even help with insurance discounts.
While an outdoor security camera is common, often times, one camera is not enough. If there’s only one security camera present, it’s likely that burglars will work around that. You want your security cameras to monitor high traffic areas and points of entry (ex. front door, back door, first floor windows). That way, you get more comprehensive video surveillance should you become a target for home invasion.
You can’t just set it and forget it when it comes to your surveillance system. Keeping your cameras clean and any potential obstructions at bay will help maintain the performance and effectiveness of your system. Skipping routine maintenance checks may cause your cameras to miss important moments.
For a great selection of affordable security cameras and CCTV surveillance camera systems, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information about our installation services or to request a free quote, please call 888-203-6294.
Looking back, Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) cameras have come a long way. As technology as has advanced, PTZ cameras have decreased in size and weight while offering even better features and functions.
These high-quality PTZ cameras are ideal for monitoring large, open spaces both indoors and outdoors. Some examples include casino, malls, airports, and stadiums, where effective and efficient surveillance is necessary.
As with any security system, selecting the right PTZ camera system comes down to individual security needs. Here are some important features to consider when choosing PTZ cameras.
Now nearly all PTZ systems are equipped with video analytics which provide numerous benefits:
Arguably one of the most valuable features of PTZ cameras, auto-tracking controls the PTZ actions of a camera to automatically track (keep in field of view) an object in motion. This can be triggered manually or automatically by defined rules. Once a rule is triggered, the camera automatically zooms in and tracks the defined target.
Advanced Video Compression
The H.265 compression standard enables much higher compression ratios with lower bandwidth and storage requirements than before, providing higher resolution images and deeper systems integration. However, optimized implementations of the H.265 codec are emerging, like the Smart H.265+. In comparison to the standard h.265 video compression, Smart H.265+ reduces bit rate and storage requirements by up to 30 percent.
High-Definition Video Over Coax
Legacy coax systems can be easily upgraded to HD video using existing analog infrastructure thanks to HD video over coax. With this option, there is no latency in system responsiveness and no video compression, so the images maintain a high level of detail without stretching or distortion. In addition, there is no need to install a separate cable to control PTZ since coaxial cable allows for bidirectional data transfer. Overall, this is a cost-effective way to upgrade PTZ cameras.
Infrared (IR) Illumination
With PTZ cameras, IR illumination is applied as needed. There is usually an array of three distinct areas of infrared illuminators – each with a different angle of dispersion for the IR light: wide angle, telephoto, and interim angle.
As an example, when an operator optically zooms in from wide angle to telephoto, IR illuminator LEDs will turn on and off to provide the appropriate illumination. And when the camera is in zoom mode, it adjusts the IR illumination so that the system is not flooding the entire 120-degree view. These automatic modifications illuminate the area in view, producing better video and reducing the amount of power required.
Video Quality Expectations
Zoom Factor vs. Focal Length – Keep in mind that a higher zoom factor does not always provide a better video image. The focal length of the lens will provide a better indication of what is appropriate for an application.
Plastic vs. Glass – Remember not all lower domes (the protective housing at the bottom of a PTZ camera) are the same. While most manufacturers use a plastic lower globe to protect the camera and optics, this can offer a lower degree of optical clarity. As the camera pans up toward the horizon, it begins to view through the globe in areas where it has the least uniformity (where most optical distortions can occur).
Glass lower globes (or a flat piece of glass, as provided by some companies) are more optically pure and consistent in comparison. These glass coverings enable dome systems to feature higher resolution sensors and longer optical zooms thanks to their clear and consistent nature.
Some modified lower dome designs allow for above-the-horizon viewing – ideal for those who need to monitor rough terrain or scenes on different planes of view.
Thinking about installing a PTZ system on your property? We carry a great collection of quality PTZ security cameras. Browse our stock online or call 888-203-6294 to request a site survey, free quote, or inquire about our installation services. Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Outdoor security cameras act as your first line of defense against potential burglars. The presence of outdoor security cameras alone can act as a deterrent and they can provide you with evidence should anything happen. Because they are placed outdoors, these security cameras are susceptible to possible dangers which may compromise your security system. Here are a few outdoor security camera risks and how to safeguard your security equipment.
Vandalism & Theft
Unfortunately, to cover their tracks and eliminate possible evidence, thieves may resort to vandalism and theft.
In order to protect your equipment, you will want to choose vandal-proof security cameras or CCTV cameras with metal housings or covers. These not only make it harder for them to be stolen, but they also help to keep your security camera clean.
You should also consider the placement of your security cameras. Installing outdoor security cameras where they are visible yet out of reach will help to maximize their effectiveness and reduce the risk of damage.
Lighting & Thunderstorm
Though it may seem highly unlikely, there’s still a chance your security equipment may get struck by lightning, especially in areas where thunderstorms are common.
Because metal can be highly conductive, avoid mounting your cameras to a metal. Also, be sure that your CCTV or PoE security system is grounded properly. This can minimize damage by redirecting the lightning current into the earth ground.
In addition, employing lightning surge protectors prevents voltage spikes by blocking voltage that exceeds specific thresholds and instead directing the excess into the outlet’s ground line.
Should the thunderstorm result in power outage, UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supplies) units will provide reliable backup power. They will even work if you unplug all system, cable, modem and antenna connections during a thunderstorm.
Hacking is a big concern for network IP cameras, as hackers can possibly jam the operating device or decrypt your safety code.
In these cases, you will want to boost your network security with WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) security protocol. You should also change your passwords frequently and make your passphrase complicated.
In addition, updating firmware regularly for your IP security cameras is key. Some may be hesitant to perform this task as it can be inconvenient, however, these updates often contain patches for recently found loopholes or vulnerabilities that may threaten your system.
Be sure to update your firmware every few months, or check the product website to ensure you are using the latest firmware version. Also, remember to read the information carefully before upgrading.
Spider Webs or Bugs
If you employ IR security cameras outdoors and under eaves, they are likely to attract nocturnal bugs and insects that are naturally drawn to lights. Unfortunately, bugs and spider webs can compromise image quality and may even trigger false alarms from motion sensor cameras.
These issues can be combated with regular cleaning and maintenance of your outdoor security cameras. Using natural insect repellents (ex. citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint) are reported as very effective in keeping spiders away. In addition, you may use spider repellents, contact sprays, aerosol sprays and web eliminators around the camera (not directly on the lens for obvious reasons). Lastly, if you reduce the motion-detection sensibility accordingly, you will reduce false alarms.
Extreme Weather Conditions
You may worry about the performance of your security cameras if you live in areas that experience extreme and inclement weather conditions (ex. freezing winters, sweltering hot summers). Luckily, security cameras come with an IP (ingress protection) rating that determines their ability to sustain harsh weather. For example, an outdoor security camera with IP rating 66 is also known as completely water-proof (can withstand solid matter and liquid, such as dust and rainwater respectively).
Reflection Of Lights
Beware of pointing your outdoor security cameras at reflective surfaces (ex. ponds of water, glass panels, car windows) as it will cause lens glare and obstruct viewing.
To avoid this, place front door and back door security cameras outside and out of reach. Also, adjust your camera field of view to shy away from potentially reflective surfaces.
Fogging, Clouding, Or Condensation
While security cameras are often assembled to be sealed-up and air-tight to prevent moisture seeping into the lens, sudden changes in temperature may cause fogging.
This issue is common in the early morning and will sometimes go away on its own. If the problem persists, you may want to consider placing a packet of silica gel inside the housing case. Also, regularly wiping the outer lens covers with a micro-fiber cloth will help protect your cameras.
To shop our selection of outdoor security cameras, CCTV cameras, IP surveillance systems, and more, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Looking for a free quote? Call 888-203-6294 today!
Security cameras play a major role in home security. Aside from deadbolt locks and alarms, security cameras can provide video footage of incidents and alert you as needed. Of course, the quality of the security camera and surveillance footage is important, and the proper video storage has a direct impact on this.
When it comes to video surveillance storage, there are basically two options – local and cloud. Evaluating their differences can help you narrow down your security system options.
Local video storage saves your footage locally – usually via microSD cards. Security cameras that offer local storage have built-in microSD slots that can typically handle anywhere from 16GB to 128GB. These cards may be included in your purchase or you may have to purchase them separately.
Once the microSD card is properly inserted in the security camera, you may then set your preferences in the accompanying mobile app for video storage. You may choose event-based recording, which only saves clips when motion or sound is detected, or continuous recording, which records everything around the clock.
When the card is full, you may continue recording (by overwriting the previous footage), or stop recording and manage footage manually. You can usually view saved clips in the app, but you may also removed the microSD card and stick it into a card reader or card adapter if you would like to save videos to your computer.
Those who are concerned about privacy often prefer this option, as you are in charge of managing your videos. In addition, your video surveillance footage is easily accessible without having to pay a monthly fee (which is common with cloud storage).
Much like smartphones store photos and other data on “the cloud,” security companies seem to be following suit with video surveillance footage. Rather than purchasing additional parts and manually managing your videos, you can opt for cloud storage.
Your event-based or continuous recordings are sent off to remote servers and you are charged a monthly fee based on the service provider and the type and amount of surveillance footage you store.
These subscription-based cloud storage services are generally more convenient than dealing with microSD cards, however, you do not have control over these remote servers. Thus, outages can cause major issues, such as delays in accessing your saved videos. And for the privacy-conscious, you might always wonder who has access to your footage.
Local Vs. Cloud
It really just comes down to your own needs and preference. Local storage gives you more control while cloud storage provides more convenience. If you really can’t decide on one or the other, there are hybrid options on the market that offer a mix of both.
Along with other factors, video surveillance storage is important when deciding on a security camera system. If you need any help choosing a security camera system, or simply want to view some cost-effective quality CCTV surveillance cameras and systems, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294. Our representatives are happy to answer questions and provide you with a free quote.