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Video Surveillance History

To better understand the current surveillance industry, you should know a little history. Without going into great detail, here are some important milestones of the video surveillance industry from the past decade.

Ten years ago, SD analog cameras and DVRs reigned supreme. While video management software and IP cameras were available, they had yet to become a mainstream solution.

Also around this time, some megapixel cameras were offered. They only supported MJPEG encoding (which made storage and transmission of these more expensive), but they boasted better quality than analog cameras.

And still in the early stages, but a topic of interest, were analytics, which had limited deployment during this time.

Around 2008-2012, IP cameras got a boost from the adoption of H.264 for megapixel cameras. Because IP camera usage was up, VMS software followed suit. The benefits of this upgrade were clear, making it easier for consumers to understand and accept the price increase.

As megapixel and IP cameras grew in popularity, interest in connecting cameras to the cloud was rising. While the dream was to eliminate any on-site recording and maintenance, bandwidth limitations and poor cloud VMS killed the dream.

In 2011, video analytics remained off the radar thanks to performance problems, unhappy customers, and ObjectVideo suing the industry. Even today, analytics are still slowly crawling out of the hole.

In the next few years, edge storage promised the elimination of NVRs and recorder appliances since the storage and software would be housed within the IP camera. Unfortunately, reliability issues deterred early adopters, and the introduction of inexpensive recorder appliances pushed edge storage to the back burner. Rather than becoming a main solution, edge storage was more commonly employed to provide redundancy for higher-end applications.

WDR & Low Light Conditions
Over time, surveillance camera technology has improved to better accommodate low light environments. Before, WDR (wide dynamic range) cameras, which automatically adjusted to harsh lighting conditions, were expensive and limited in availability. Low light performance was generally poor, and even worse in MP cameras (WDR in these were relatively non-existent). Today, the enhancements in quality are evident.

Smart CODECs
Smart CODECs dynamically adapt compression and I frame interval to scene conditions, which ultimately reduces bandwidth requirements and offsets the need to move to H.265. Within recent years, we have seen a rise in this technology. Moving forward, broad support of Smart CODECs will eventually drive down storage costs and remote network challenges.

HD Analog
For more than a decade, IP was the only practical way to deliver MP/HD, however the introduction of HD Analog has successfully killed off SD analog. HD analog uses coaxial cable for transmissions and has dominated sales for homes and small businesses. Some argue that it is just a temporary fix, while others say it will expand features and options to become a mainstay.

Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has only recently become a major topic in video surveillance, however, many still brush it off. Though recent events have spurred concerns (ex. Sony hacking, Hikvision hacks, Axis’ major exploit), most users perceive a low risk of cybersecurity. As our systems become more connected, we can only hope that cybersecurity is better addressed and taken seriously among manufacturers and consumers alike.

Chinese Manufacturers
Chinese manufacturers have grown as contenders, with their earlier deployments showing poor quality and performance. However, over time, their products have improved and yet still maintain relatively low pricing. These manufacturers were originally OEM suppliers to Western brands, but recent years have shown their branded sales increase in the West.

Drive Down Costs
It seems manufacturers are in a current race to offer the lowest prices (whether to gain share or stay afloat) and consumers seem to be driving this shift. With numerous DIY and simple home solutions, we will see where the video surveillance industry is headed next.

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

To shop our selection of security camera equipment and packages, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For questions about our products and installation services, or to schedule a free* site survey, please call 1-888-203-6294.

Home Security System Shopping Tips

More and more people are turning to security systems to protect their homes. This is a smart decision, as security cameras will help you feel at ease whether you are in your home or on vacation. Unfortunately, when shopping for a security system, you may find that there are companies that seem genuine, but do not have the customer’s best interest at heart.

If you are thinking of investing in a home security system, here are some helpful tips to make sure you get the best deal on what you are looking for.

  • Choose a reputable business.

Consider your budget and what features are absolutely necessary and which you could live without. Credible businesses will work with you to build a home security system to suit your wants, needs and budget. You can ask for input or recommendations from friends, family, or even your home or renters insurance carrier.

  • Shop around.

Contact at least three companies before making a decision. This way you can compare prices and service, and ask important questions (ex. proper licensing, background checks for employees). This will also give you time to check reviews or do additional research before committing to a company.

  • Ask about charges upfront.

If you have a budget, see what companies can offer for that price. Or you can compare prices from different businesses on a similar system. When getting quotes and prices, be sure ask about any other fees that may apply, for example, monthly monitoring fees or installation charges. It is also wise to consult with your insurance agent since home security systems may qualify you for a discount on homeowner’s premiums.

  • Understand your contract.

As with any contract, be sure that you fully understand it before signing. Know how long it will last, what it covers, terminations fees, etc. If your system is going to be monitored, those contracts typically last 2-5 years. Before you sign on to a long term contract, be sure to ask the major, important questions. For example, what happens if you are dissatisfied with the services provided? Is it possible to cancel the contract? As the consumer, what are your rights if the company is acquired by another company?

When shopping around, keep an eye out for these red flags:

  • High pressure sales tactics.

Often times, trustworthy companies will give you time to think through the deal and make your decision. But if a seller is trying to pressure you into going with their company, don’t give in until you have done the proper research.

  • Too good to be true.

While some companies offer competitive prices, others may offer unbelievable deals that seem too good to be true. Most of the time, they are. In this case, “you get what you pay for” rings true. Whether it is defective equipment or a poor installation job, this is something to keep in mind when making your final decision.

  • Lack of company identification.

If you cannot get a positive identification for your salesperson or the company, you may want to question using their services. Also, beware of sellers with no ties to their community. This could mean they might pull a disappearing act after mediocre services have been rendered and payments have been made.

  • Poor ratings on the BBB.

It is always wise to check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or reviews about the company. If there have been complaints, you can see how the company handled the situation, giving you a better idea of the customer service you can expect.

Do you have any other shopping tips? Share them with us on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. You can also find us on Pinterest and Vine.

Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse great deals on our quality stock of security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more. Call 1-888-203-6294 to learn more about our equipment and services.

New Surveillance Hub

It’s true – surveillance footage can provide beneficial evidence when trying to prosecute and charge criminals. However, a better way to utilize security camera resources is to actively monitor the live feeds, which, in turn, can lead to improved response times and increased safety.

That is precisely what a new security operations control center (SOCC) in Washington is aiming to do. Opened in November of last year, the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) is using this new center to solve and prevent crime within the public transportation system.

Within the SOCC, surveillance footage is displayed from a large projector onto the front wall. Suspects’ photos are displayed on flat-screen televisions around the room and there is a police bubble that overlooks the floor. In the police bubble are dispatchers and call takers who log emergency complaints and text tips and relay the information to officers in the system.

The same operations were previously offered, however, not housed in the same room. Now that all teams are gathered together into one area, communications are faster and more efficient than before. And with a price tag of $3.6 million, this fruitful investment is proving its worth.

With a comprehensive security camera system, authorities are able to effectively monitor all areas public areas. When crimes occur, witness statements can be corroborated with surveillance video, providing a solid case against criminals.

What are your thoughts on this new surveillance hub? Should it be adopted in other states? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest.

For our great selection of security cameras, CCTV surveillance, security systems, and more, visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com. Call 1-888-203-6294 for more information or to inquire about our installation services.

Surveillance Gets A Makeover With The Camio App

Security cameras can be very helpful in protecting your home and capturing important footage. However, most of the footage captured is uneventful and mundane, wasting precious storage space, energy and time. With the new Camio app, problems like this can easily be solved.

The Camio app, created by ex-Google employee Carter Maslan, works with images captured from a smartphone camera and uses special algorithms. These specialized algorithms help to detect humans and identify ordinary events from extraordinary events. For example, the changing of lighting would be deemed ordinary, versus a window breaking, which would be extraordinary. From there, Camio dictates which footage gets stored in the cloud or discarded. What is stored can then be searched with common keywords.

By utilizing selective storage, reviewing footage becomes much easier, as you need not sift through useless footage. Instead, you have a record of “extraordinary” events. Since less data is being uploaded for storage, the Camio app consumes a considerably smaller amount of bandwidth. Also, surveillance recordings are protected with encryption as well as a password for accessing stored videos.

Most customers employ the Camio app for monitoring pets, nannies, or even babies and kids. However, Maslan believes small to medium-sized businesses could benefit from this service, thanks to its ease of use and substantial affordability.

Do you use the Camio app, or are you considering using the app for your home or business? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest.

For full security camera systems, equipment, installation, repairs, and other services, please visit us online or give us a call 1-888-203-6294. Your safety and security is important to us.

Driver Surveillance = Safer Roads?

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and as many of us know, texting and driving is extremely dangerous and against the law. Still, if you look around at other drivers, it’s likely you’ll find at least one person fumbling with their phone. Tickets have been issued, preventable accidents have occurred, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

It is well known that security cameras and surveillance systems can help to keep your property safe, whether it is your business, home, or even public areas. But it seems surveillance is now being used to keep drivers and the roads safe, too.

We’ve all heard of car insurance companies offering “good driver” discounts. Definitions vary from company to company, but generally mean that your driving record stays relatively clean with no accidents. Now, thanks to advanced technology, car insurance companies are taking it a step further by employing voluntary driver-monitoring programs, also known as telematics or usage-based insurance surveillance. For example, Progressive is rolling out their Snapshot Program.

With this Snapshot program, customers voluntarily install a small box onto their steering wheel that collects data, which is then sent back to the company. This device tracks things like how many miles you drive, how often you drive during different times of the day, your braking patterns, and so on.

With their Snapshot telematics, they will analyze your driving habits and your rates will be determined as they see fit. But it seems this program isn’t only targeted toward “good drivers”. Those they deem “good drivers” will still be offered a discount, however, those who they deem as “bad” or aggressive drivers will be issued a surcharge, which is estimated to be no more than 10% of their current rate. Will this monetary punishment encourage drivers to be more cautious?

Share your thoughts on Progressive’s Snapshot program and overall driver surveillance with us. You can find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

For security cameras, CCTV camera systems, and equipment, visit us online at www.SecurityCamExpert.com or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294. We’re always happy to help.

Burglary Prevention Tips from SecurityCamExpert.com

As the holiday season rolls in, safety and security become a higher priority. Expensive gifts and holiday vacations are just some of the reasons your property becomes a prime target. Don’t fall victim to an unfortunate and preventable burglary. Follow these tips on how to protect your home while you’re away.

Don’t let intruders know you’re away.

Find ways to make your home look occupied while you’re away. If you’ll be travelling, don’t advertise it. Be wary of what you post on social media sites, as thieves may pose as your “friends.” Have a trusted neighbor or friend pick up your mail rather than stopping it. If you have a landline, turn the ringer down so people won’t hear your calls going unanswered. If possible, set timers on your lights to mimic normal patterns of use.

Make it difficult to break in.

Be sure to lock all windows and doors, and never leave a spare key outside where it can easily be found. Consider reinforcing your locks and doors to help prevent a successful forceful entry. With sliding doors, use a metal or wooden rod along the track as extra defense against intruders. You may also want to think about using an invisible security film to strengthen your windows or glass panes. Trees should be trimmed and ladders should be locked up to prevent climbing to a second story or roof for alternate entry.

Avoid easy hiding areas around your property.

Trees, bushes, and shrubs make it easy for burglars to hide. If you must use plants around your home, thorny plants or bushes can aid protection. Utilize outdoor lighting for driveways, yards, and entrances. Motion sensor lights can scare potential burglars away. Being easily seen and caught is discouraging for them.

Neighbors and friends can be the best allies.

Get to know your neighbors so you can look out for each other. If you’re not as close to your neighbors, have a close friend keep an eye on your place or check in from time to time. Rest easy knowing a simple call or text will keep you in the loop.

Install a home security camera system.

If your budget permits, installing security cameras and a home alarm system can pose as an efficient deterrent to criminals. With visible security cameras and/or noticeable home alarm signs posted outside, burglars will often back off and try to find an easier target. Most security cameras also enable remote viewing from different devices, allowing you to check in on your live feed while you’re away.

Have you employed any of these tactics? How did they work for you? Do you have any tips to add? Share your ideas and experiences with us! Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest , and Twitter.

Your safety and security is important to us. From now until Halloween, we have a special security camera system bundle on sale. Give us a call at 1-888-203-6294 to place your order. You can also visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com for your security and surveillance needs.

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