Security cameras equipped with motion detection can be very helpful for home and business owners. Motion sensor cameras allow users to rest easy knowing the built-in sensors will alert them when activity is detected, eliminating the need for monitoring live feeds around the clock.
While motion detection can be very convenient, it can also prove to be a nuisance. False alarms caused by various reasons, such as pets, natural environmental changes, or even changes in lighting, can be frustrating, confusing, and a waste of time. In order for you to make the most of the motion detection feature, here’s what you need to know.
Types of Detection
While there are many different technologies that detect motion (ex. light pulses, thermal measurements, radio waves), for consumer security cameras, there are two methods that are commonly used.
Passive Infrared (PIR)
This method detects the ambient heat emitted by all living beings and is sometimes referred to as “heat vision.” The sensor is triggered when it detects enough movement of these warm “objects” and/or a significant temperature disparity between the object and the background scene. When triggered, it signals the security camera to start recording, and thus, the user is alerted.
Computer Vision (CV)
This approach involves camera software that analyzes sequential frames of live video for differences and registers a motion event when a significant change is detected. With that said, CV includes many different methods, which depend on the desired outcome and technical preference of the designers.
Of these methods, one of the easiest involves looking for a significant change in pixels over short periods of time compared to the longer term average. This will produce a simple ‘something happened’ signal. Another method tracks groups of pixels and tries to identify directional patterns in order to recognize moving objects.
What all of these methods have is common is the end goal – to detect motion and, if possible, determine the shape of the object that moved. Once that goal is achieved, more advanced methods can be applied to classify the moving object (ex. person, animal, vehicle, tree) to determine which detection signals are important (ex. person or vehicle) or irrelevant and can be dismissed (ex. animal or tree).
Pros & Cons
Of course, false alarms are one of the most frustrating downsides to motion detection. Luckily, manufacturers are aware of this and offer different ways to reduce these instances.
Motion detection is still a work in progress, and at this point, you likely get what you pay for. The good news is that our technologies are always improving, thus, motion detection has the potential for greatness on the future.
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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.
Choosing the best security camera system can be based on many factors. When it comes to the individual security cameras, the quality of images and video captured is largely dependent on the image sensor.
The image sensor (also known as the “eye”) determines the imaging capability and performance of your security camera. Their duty is to convert an optical image into an electrical signal, and is either a charge-coupled device (CCD) or a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) active pixel sensor.
To better understand which type of image sensor will work best for your security camera needs, we will take a look at the differences between CCD and CMOS.
What Is A CCD Image Sensor?
CCD’s receive light and convert it to electrons, then carry the electrons to a specific area across the chip to be processed. The conversion of analog light signals into digital pixels takes place in the chip without distortion. The special manufacturing process of CCD’s produces high-quality sensors in terms of fidelity and light sensitivity.
What Is A CMOS Image Sensor?
The CMOS sensor came from the MOS active pixel image sensor which emerged in the 1960s. Since then, its design and function has greatly improved, containing integrated circuitry and arrays of pixel sensors. Unlike the CCD, CMOS sensors process the elections at the same place that it receives the light, thus making it faster and smaller. The CMOS is able to do so because it has multiple transistors at each pixel, offering flexibility because each pixel is treated individually.
CCD vs. CMOS
Now that we have covered the basics, we can compare the strengths and weaknesses of CCD and CMOS cameras.
In these common applications, one camera outshines the other.
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Upgrading your analog security cameras to IP security cameras has plenty of benefits, including improved image quality and advanced features. Most IP surveillance systems can make use of existing network infrastructure that is in good condition, decreasing costs for installation. Whether you are looking to upgrade because your analog system is reaching end-of-life for support or because your needs have changed, an IP surveillance system is a smart decision.
Now, the actual task of transitioning from analog to IP security cameras should not be taken lightly. You want to be sure that you take all things into consideration to ensure that you choose the right IP video surveillance system and that it performs sufficiently. Here are a few aspects you should not overlook:
Goals & Challenges
If you are looking to achieve ROI, you must fully understand how your IP security system will be used. Operational goals and potential challenges should be determined beforehand. Think about what types of cameras and how much resolution you need, as well as how long the footage needs to be stored and which areas need coverage. Proper planning is crucial to the success of your security system.
No one wants to pay an arm and a leg for a mediocre surveillance system. If done correctly, you don’t need to. By defining a security budget, you can find the right cameras and video management software (VMS) to fulfill your needs and achieve your goals.
As much as a quick transition sounds ideal, it is not always feasible. Understand that a proper transition will take some time, and it may be in your best interest to plan a phased migration. This will help to accommodate budget availability and operational disruptions. Prioritize which area needs immediate attention and begin there.
Going from analog to IP improves video quality, but also requires more storage. Advanced VMS can help to effectively optimize your network resources and bandwidth consumption, thus decreasing networking and storage costs over time.
A new IP video system may need additional staffing, so you should think about this and how you will train the new and existing staff. This will impact both overall costs and ROI of your system, and may affect cameras and software selection. For example, casinos require live monitoring around the clock while parking lot surveillance may use video analytics to alert security personnel of incidents or events that need attention.
Numerous third-party integrations can help to increase the efficiency of your system as well as manage costs. While most current systems have an IP-based interface for integration, leading suppliers also have a wide range of integrations which are tested and ready to apply. These can offer functionality, automation, and other enhancements to solve project needs.
Cybersecurity is of utmost importance, especially these days. If not addressed properly, going from analog to IP opens up your system, and any indirectly connected networks, to endless vulnerabilities. Be sure to discuss your specific network safeguards, policies, and strategies with your installer. Also, enlist a new IP security system that provides the appropriate cybersecurity architecture, software, devices, and policies.
Pay attention to licensing requirements and Software Upgrade Plans (SUPs) or Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that come with most VMS systems. These cover everything from higher tiers of support to future upgrades. For example, third-party cameras may require a license for each IP address, and these licensing requirements can add additional costs.
These include extreme heat or cold, humidity, corrosion, and high dust levels, along with ambient light levels, existing power sources, and network infrastructure. All of these can impact which security cameras and VMS equipment are necessary for you.
Because your security system should be operational and accessible at all times, it is important plan provisions for redundancy and back up for primary resources in case they fail. For most systems, simple RAID-5 or -6 redundancy in storage is sufficient. However, you should also consider budgeting for “failover” recorders and other server hardware, and have spare cameras on hand in case of failure.
It is only a matter of time until IP surveillance is the norm and analog security cameras are a thing of the past. But when the day comes, it is ever important to understand your security needs and what you expect from your IP surveillance system. Even a small mistake or misstep along the way can compromise your system.
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Before, spy cameras, like the ones seen in the movies, were merely pipe dreams. The ones that were available never really lived up to the expectation. Fortunately, technology improved over time and hidden cameras became more accessible to everyone.
Thanks to the Internet of Things, Wi-Fi enabled hidden cameras and DVRs are affordable and being used more frequently. You can use these wireless hidden cameras to keep an eye on your children, watch your home while you’re on vacation, or even monitor your business remotely. Hidden spy cameras can be monitored via an app or specialized software that you may access from your smartphone or tablet.
By employing wireless hidden cameras, you can discreetly keep an eye on things. Also, they are less susceptible to tampering as they cannot be easily detected. While visible CCTV surveillance cameras are meant to deter people from wrongdoings, hidden cameras are intended to catch people in the act.
Most hidden cameras are wireless to remain inconspicuous, however, not all are truly wireless. Some are battery powered, while others may need to be prudently plugged in or attached to the electrical system in some way.
What usually confuses people when they see the term “wireless” is that it more commonly refers to the Wi-Fi connection, meaning you don’t have to connect it to any sort of landline or Ethernet cable. Most of these cameras come with their own software and must be configured to your network. IT may sound complicated, but it is no more difficult than connecting any other device to the Internet. However, some spy cameras require that users have an adequate working knowledge of IoT technology to operate them.
Before installing a hidden camera, be sure to review the laws regarding hidden cameras, surveillance, and recording.
Browse our selection of nanny cams, wireless surveillance, and hidden spy cameras online at SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call 888-203-6294.
When it comes to securing the perimeter of your home or business, you want a surveillance system that can perform in various conditions. For 24-hour monitoring, night vision cameras have been the popular solution. However, the emergence of thermal cameras has provided a more advanced solution. Learn more about the different types of night vision cameras and how thermal cameras differ from them.
These are also known as day and night cameras and electronically and automatically adjust lighting capture settings based on the time of day to produce optimal video images. During the day, IR cut filters are used to “cut out” IR illumination, allowing for color images. At night, the filter is removed entirely to allow the maximum amount of visible and IR light to reach the sensor and produce a monochrome image. The downside to these cameras is that they are completely dependent on lighting conditions. That is, too much light or no light at all will result in unusable images. Thus, the amount of visible light available drastically affects the image.
IR cameras have a lens that is surrounded by LEDs which emit a beam of near-infrared energy to bounce off objects in its field of view. The image sensor is then able to create a picture; however, distance plays a crucial role in performance. Because the reflected IR light can only reach so far, these cameras are often limited to short-range applications.
Night Vision Cameras
Night vision goggles (NVG) and cameras capture visible light photons. As the photons penetrate a photocathode tube (which acts as an image intensifier), they are converted to amplified electrons that pass through a phosphorous screen and converts them back to visible light to create a picture (often in a greenish hue). Because these devices need just the right amount of visible light to function, they are virtually useless when there is ample light outside (ex. twilight) or in conditions where light is blocked (ex. smoke) or no light is available.
Rather than performing based on light availability, these cameras produce video surveillance images based on the measurement of the electromagnetic heat radiation emitted by all objects and individuals. Their performance is unaffected by bright lights, complete darkness, foliage, and light fog. No matter how small, differences in heat are picked up and produce images with high contrast, which are essential to the success of video analytics and intrusion detection. These cameras may be better suited for properties which require strict perimeter security (ex. oil and gas industries, data centers, mines, power stations), and are often combined with other layers of protection (ex. fence sensors, microwaves, PTZ cameras).
Thermal cameras also boast long-range detection capabilities, thus, reducing the number of cameras needed. They can also be a good substitute for fences where fence installation is not possible. For example, ports and oil refineries have acres of water and land to secure and monitor. Thermal imaging and video analytics can create “virtual fence” and can be a more feasible and affordable solution than installing a physical barrier.
If you need help deciding which night vision or other security cameras will best suit your surveillance needs, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com today!
Imagine getting a notification from your security camera system that movement is detected in your home. If you are out of the house, you can check the feed and call 911. But what if you get the notification when you are home alone? You can try to escape, but if that is not feasible, your next best bet would be to lock yourself in a room and hide. In this situation, calling 911 could possibly give your location away, but what if you could send a text to 911 to discreetly summon law enforcement?
If you live in Pomona or elsewhere in the Los Angeles County, as of December 1, 2017, you are able take advantage of Text-To-911. This convenient option gives hearing and speech-impaired individuals, along with those in situations in which it is too dangerous to call 911, a potentially lifesaving option. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reminds everyone to “Call if you can — text if you can’t“.
Here are the FCC’s guidelines for contacting 911:
As we all know, texting can be extremely dangerous in certain situations, but in others, such as Text-To-911, it could save lives.
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Security camera systems have made great advances over the years. From traditional analog CCTV technology to IP networking, security camera quality and features have improved to provide better monitoring and security. Some of these enhanced benefits include higher resolutions resulting in clearer images, fewer cameras covering larger areas, and thus, a lower total cost of ownership. Many businesses and homeowners are opting to trade up to network IP security cameras, network video recorders (NVRs) and cloud-based storage for more convenient and affordable security.
Network IP Cameras & Assisted Living Communities
Aside from protecting homes and company headquarters, assisted living communities can also reap the benefits of installing network IP security cameras.
In the way that security cameras deter burglars from targeting your property, in assisted living facilities, the aim is to deter abuse and neglect. By strategically placing these cameras in and around the facility, family members can put their worries at ease by reviewing stored footage to ensure that no mistreatment is taking place and that the staff is providing the proper care. For facility managers, video surveillance footage can provide evidence should an employee or resident be charged with abusive behavior.
Network IP cameras can also help the staff keep a closer eye on residents or patients. For those residents at risk for falls, staff can potentially prevent falls and injuries, or respond faster to those incidents. Medical equipment such as oxygen tubes may get dislodged, and staff can get to the rooms faster to fix the problems. In the case of memory units, the entrances and exits can be closely monitored to prevent residents from wandering outside of supervised areas, and can help protect the facility from possible intruders.
These security cameras can also prevent employee theft. Although we would rather think that this is uncommon, it is not unheard of for residents to report their belongings stolen. Whether these claims are accurate or not, cameras provide evidence to prove what really happened. Also, facilities often find that supplies may go missing. To counter these losses, IP cameras can document the incident or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Of course, opponents of these security measures stand firm in their belief that it makes it more difficult to recruit staff and that employees will have trouble making sound decisions for fear of families challenging their actions. The problem with this stance is that numerous other careers and industries are under constant surveillance with little to no issues arising. Proponents of employee surveillance believe these measures will help workers to make better decisions and avoid any questionable situations.
Why Should You Upgrade To IP Security Cameras?
As stated, upgrading to IP security cameras comes with a myriad of enhanced benefits. Aside from the obvious video quality improvement, IP cameras are able to utilize your existing CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet cabling, saving time and money on installation. The intelligent video features include facial recognition, motion detection, audio detection and people-counting, to name a few. Also, because they are connected to the Internet, owners are able to remotely view live video, search archived footage, and receive alerts via any PC, tablet, or smart phone.
Choosing the Right IP Security Camera
Because the various IP camera choices on the market, it can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some important features you should know about before choosing the best IP cameras for your needs.
There are three design options for IP cameras: bullet, dome and PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom). As inferred by their name, bullet cameras resemble a bullet shaped and best suited for directional monitoring. They typically do not possess the capability to zoom in or move. Dome cameras are shaped like domes and ambiguously monitor areas, aiding in its role of deterring misconduct. “Speed domes” spin quickly to capture a broader range of images. Lastly, PTZ cameras are ideal for covering large areas. These cameras can move and capture different angles, thus, delivering the work of several fixed-point cameras in one single device. PTZ surveillance cameras may also be preprogrammed to scan an area or may be controlled remotely.
IP camera resolution is the amount of visual data that can be captured and is measured in megapixels. It is often provided in horizontal and vertical pixel dimensions (ex. A camera that has 1280 x 1024 resolution is 1.3MP because 1280 x 1024 = 1,310,720 or 1.3MP). A higher resolution means the camera can capture more data, resulting in improved video clarity.
This allows you to transmit power over the data cable, which can run up to 100 feet. This will save you money and decrease installation limitations. In addition, the PoE standard 802.3af supports higher power ratings needed for motorized cameras (ex. PTZ).
If you are monitoring an area that has challenging lighting conditions, you will want a camera that has good wide dynamic range (WDR). This will control the backlight and remove shadows to produce adequate footage in difficult environments.
Infrared (IR) LED lighting is like night vision, allowing cameras to capture clear footage in low to no light conditions. IP cameras can see infrared light and when wavelengths reflect back, it is as if the room is illuminated and the camera can record video. Night vision capabilities improve with more IRLEDs and longer ranges.
If you are using your surveillance cameras outdoors, be sure to choose weatherproof and “vandal resistant” cameras, which will often be IP66 rated and IK10 rated respectively. This will safeguard against water or dirt, which can interfere with your recordings or damage your equipment. Some cameras even offer thermostatic controls, which will help to prevent condensation forming over the lens.
When upgrading to IP cameras within your home, business, or in assisted living communities, be sure to evaluate your needs and review your options before making a final decision. If you need assistance, please feel free to call us at 888-203-6294 to speak with a representative and request a free quote. You may also visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our inventory of network IP cameras and surveillance equipment.
Some people may opt for traditional security cameras for home security, but the landscape is changing. The emergence of connected devices has spurred the popularity of smart homes and the Internet of Things (IoT). However, as we connect more technologies and devices, we may be putting ourselves at a greater risk.
Internet of Things
Most people have heard of the term, but those who haven’t may not even realize they are a part of it. Whether you own a smartphone, smart TV or even a tablet, you are connected to the Internet of Things. And if you are investing in smart home appliances, you are absolutely connected.
Because of this, smart homes tend to be more susceptible to threats thanks to the lax cybersecurity measures (if at all) of most smart appliances. Even if other devices, such as smart thermostats, garage doors, or fire alarms, may have stronger security measures, if they share the same network as other, less secure appliances they are vulnerable to exposure and attacks.
In order to protect users and their own reputations, smart appliance manufacturers must take cybersecurity measures seriously. For your own safety, research the products you are interested in and be sure that their security measures meet or exceed your expectations.
One of the main problems with smart security technology is the do-it-yourself approach. Most consumers are drawn to DIY solutions because they seem to be more cost-effective, user-friendly, and cut out the need for professional installation. Unfortunately, mistakes made by the user could further compromise their security.
While these smart technologies indeed promote security and convenience, you may want to tread lightly. Consider the pros and cons of transitioning your home into a smart home and be sure to do your research and take the necessary precautions to ensure that your devices and systems are as secure and up-to-date as possible.
If you are weary of these smart security measures, you can always go the traditional route with security cameras and CCTV surveillance systems. Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to shop our selection or call 888-203-6294 for more information and a free quote! You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
There’s no denying that video surveillance technology has come a long way over the years. From grainy videos in its early stages to the quality software and clarity today, video surveillance continues to make great strides and advancements.
The goal of security cameras and surveillance systems is to capture, detect, and deter any unlawful behavior in and around homes, businesses, and public areas. Before, installing a security camera system was a costly and laborious job, involving lots of wires and cables running throughout the building. As technology progressed, security cameras became more accessible and affordable, allowing more users the opportunity to invest in their security. Now there are numerous DIY solutions that make it easy for homeowners to install and set up on their own security systems.
For businesses, implementing a team of people to actively monitor security cameras at all times was once the only option. Now, much of the monitoring aspect of security and surveillance systems can be automated. Rather than having the mundane task of watching numerous monitors, security cameras now have the ability to detect any suspicious or abnormal behaviors and will alert a security officer as necessary.
While we have seen the security industry flourish over the years, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our technology will continue to advance and amaze us in ways we never thought possible.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in video surveillance enables the “smart” features we now see with security cameras. In general, security cameras enable us to monitor situations in real-time or go back to review previous footage. With the integration of AI technology, not only can we monitor in real-time, but potential issues can be identified before they become real problems.
With the emergence of video analytics, footage can be analyzed immediately to identify any abnormal activity or threats early on. This technology helps the software ‘learn’ what is normal in order to identify unusual behavior and is meant to make up for human error, rather than replace human monitoring all together.
While it was always a goal to integrate AI and video surveillance, the technology, from a hardware standpoint, was not ready. One of the issues that needed to be addressed was decreasing the power demand to a level low enough that would allow the technology to be embedded into the cameras.
As more cameras emerge with new AI technologies and processes, we will begin to see more advanced features including crowd density monitoring, facial recognition, stereoscopic vision, and behavior analysis.
Behavior analysis in particular is what a lot of tech companies are focusing on. By implementing a technology that can identify and recognize precursor patterns associated with crimes and other bad behavior, we may be able to greatly improve public safety and security.
A great example comes from the West Japan Railway, where it was found that 60% of people hit by trains in Japan were intoxicated. They have now installed security cameras that can automatically search for and detect signs of intoxication. Sleeping on benches, stumbling, falling, or standing motionless for long periods of time are behaviors that are recognized by the AI system. Human attendees are then notified and sent to check on the person.
Of course, a conversation about video surveillance always includes concerns about privacy. No one wants to feel like they are constantly being monitored, but developers insist that these systems know when to stop collecting information and monitoring. As these technologies continue to develop, you may soon be able to “teach” your system when to record and in which situations recording should halt.
Although it is still in its early stages, AI technology and video surveillance is heading in a positive and exciting direction. Mass adoption may still be a ways to go, but it’s great to see AI being applied in a new setting.
What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence and the video surveillance industry? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Browse our selection of security cameras and equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To learn more about our installation services or to request a free quote, please call 888-203-6294.