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Local Storage Options For Your Security System

There are plenty of aspects to consider when it comes to investing and installing a new security camera system. The goal is to deter any theft or crimes while capturing the necessary footage should an incident occur. With that said, aside from the security cameras you choose, your surveillance storage solution should be of high quality and capacity and tailored to your storage needs.

Storing your video footage locally makes it easier to access, and is usually easier to use. In addition, local storage options are much more cost-effective than other storage solutions. In terms of local storage, there are two main options: internal or external. Internal storage is saved within the camera whereas external storage is saved to a hard drive, usually located within a computer or CCTV DVR/NVR. Each option poses their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Internal Camera Storage
When you store your video footage internally, it is usually via a microSD chip within the camera. This option is ideal for those who don’t want to rely on internet access or wiring, as this can slow down your internet. In addition, since internal storage bypasses any transferring to external storage, video footage is nearly immediately available.

The biggest downside of internal storage is its limited storage capacity. In an effort to combat this, most security cameras using local storage only record when motion is detected. And these cameras are more vulnerable because the footage is stored internally, thus, if the camera is stolen, so is any video evidence that could be used to prosecute the thieves.

External Camera Storage
If you need to record footage throughout the day, external storage is a great option as you can store large amounts of video at a relatively low cost (especially compared to online storage.

Wired Camera Storage
Wired solutions will save your network a load of work and will be faster when watching live feed (minimal lag time). Typically, you will have some type of hub that encodes the recording, and then the wire will route to either a DVR (digital video recorder) or a personal computer with lots of storage space. If you plan on editing the video, personal computers are more convenient.

Unfortunately, wired security cameras are susceptible to severed wires. If you opt for a wired camera, you will want to embed the wire through the wall and make sure that your camera is securely mounted.

Wireless Camera Storage
If you opt for wireless cameras, you are choosing a very secure solution. These are also the easiest to install as you usually just plug it in, connect to a network and install software. Your video would be routed to either a personal computer or an NVR (network video recorder).

Unfortunately, wireless cameras are not ideal for smaller home wireless networks. They can slow down the internet and may be susceptible to delays in your video feed. Should you choose wireless solutions, just be sure that your network can handle the load.

While there is not a universal best storage solution, there are solutions that are better suited for you than others. Take the time to evaluate your needs to determine which storage solution would work best for you.

If you need help determining which video surveillance solution to choose, contact us at 888-203-6294 or browse our inventory online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Security Camera Cables: Ethernet Vs. Fiber Optic

When installing a new surveillance system, whether at home or for your business, there are many factors that need to be considered. Aside from choosing the proper security cameras, devices, and management software, security camera cables are important and often overlooked.

Security camera cables are crucial to your surveillance system as they are responsible for power and data transmission within your system. You will likely be upgrading your system from analog closed-circuit television (CCTV) to an Internet protocol (IP)-based system. Thanks to special parts called encoders, if you are only upgrading your legacy system, you can keep your analog cameras and coaxial cabling in place. The encoders convert the analog output of the camera for use by an IP-based security system.

Alternately, if you are upgrading to IP cameras and want to keep coaxial cable in place, you would need to install adapters at both the device and the switch (coaxial cable cannot handle the digital output of the cameras).

Encoders and adapters are merely affordable, short-term solutions. And because they introduce new points of failure, they can become costlier in the long run.

IP Camera Systems Cables
Upgrading your system includes your security camera cables as well. For IP-based systems, there are two choices: Ethernet (copper) cable or fiber optic (glass) cable.

Ethernet Cable
Made from twisted copper wires, Ethernet cables carry data using an electrical current. Cat 5e is currently the most commonly used in home applications and can support speeds of up to 1,000 Megabits per second (Mbps) over 100 meters (m). Cat 6, 6a, 7, and 8 cables are more commonly used in business and data centers as they can handle larger data transfers, ranging from 10-40 Gigabits per second (Gbps).

Fiber Optic Cable
Fiber optic cables use light to send digital data along flexible, optically pure glass or plastic fibers that are about the width of a human hair and enable rapid movement of data. There are two types (single or multimode) which determine the speed and length of data transmission. The differences between the two types are significant and dictate how each is used.

  • Single-Mode Fiber

Because it has a narrow core of optical glass surrounded by highly reflective cladding, single-mode fiber only carries data via a single mode of light (typically transmitted by laser). This allows for lower attenuation (data loss) over longer distances and, thus, is ideal for use in high bandwidth runs (ex. telecom and communications companies, college/university campuses).

  • Multimode Fiber

Multimode fiber has a larger core, allowing several different light signals (more data) to pass through simultaneously. With a larger core comes narrower cladding, which results in more data attenuation. With that said, multimode fiber is better suited for shorter distances (ex. transmitting data and signals across a local area network).

Ethernet Vs. Fiber Optic Cables
Choosing between the two options will depend on your individual needs. Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Data Handling, Speed & Distance

  • Ethernet cable has improved over time, with the Cat 7 and Cat 8 able to support up to 25 Gpbs to 40 Gbps over 30 m runs. Unfortunately, regardless of category, copper has a much higher attenuation rate, which only increases with the distance of the run. Thus, you would need to install an amplifier or repeater for every 100 m (328ft) of cable.
  • Fiber optic cables are the better choice, as multimode cables can reliably handle 40 Gbps and up to 100 Gbps depending on the quality of the cable. Speed and distance depends on the light mode, but fiber can reliably transmit data between 610-2,000 m (2,000-6,562 ft) before the signal requires amplification.

Usability, Safety & Security

  • Ethernet cabling is straightforward and ideal to use in tight spaces since copper is a flexible metal and can bend a great deal before it succumbs to the stress. However, these cables pose very minimal fire hazard risk, particularly if they are used to carry power to a device (such as an outdoor security camera). And if you are running Ethernet cables to outside cameras (ex. on light poles in parking lots, at the edge of a property), there is also a risk of attracting a lightning strike. In addition, they also post a security risk since they tend to leak data, and are also susceptible to outside interference (ex. electrical sources, other data cables).
  • Fiber optic doesn’t radiate data signals at all and provides good security, but it’s not without its faults. Because it is made of glass, despite its flexibility, there is a chance for breakage if bent too far. There is also a greater chance of damaging the cable during installation or during some later construction, and it is difficult to properly splice it. These concerns should be raised with vendors you speak to before purchasing.

Cost

  • Ethernet is more affordable in the short term. The cable, its components, and installation tend to be cheaper thanks to its ease of use. However, these tend to require more regular maintenance, thus increasing ownership costs over time.
  • Fiber optic is definitely more expensive up front, as cost of cables (especially single mode) and installation are much higher. Despite this, it has a lower ownership cost over time thanks to less maintenance (compared to copper). Also, the cables can more easily handle expanded bandwidth without having to run new cable.

While both Ethernet and fiber optic cables have their advantages and disadvantages, it really depends on your security needs. Have you chosen between the two? Share your experience with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a great selection of CCTV security cameras, systems, and surveillance equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today!

PTZ Cameras: What To Look For

PTZ security cameras offer Pan, Tilt, and Zoom capabilities for more advanced and comprehensive surveillance. Because of their unique flexibility and broad coverage, PTZ cameras are often chosen to remotely monitor large areas such as parking lots or stadiums. If you are considering installing PTZ surveillance cameras for your property, here are some of the best PTZ camera features and benefits.

Large Field Of View
Depending on where you install your PTZ camera, it could have a 360 degree field of view. In addition, most cameras can be pre-programmed to provide specific viewing angles at pre-determined times. Pan and Tilt can also be pre-programmed. Thanks to this, PTZ cameras can do the job of a multi-camera installation, making them a cost-effective and smart alternative for large area surveillance and protection.

Motion Tracking
Most PTZ cameras come with built-in tracking which can be set to detect motion and track a person or object, automatically panning, tilting or zooming to follow the person or object as it moves. This feature can prove invaluable should a theft or vandalism occur on your property. When choosing a PTZ camera, full motion tracking capabilities is a must.

Night Vision
This is an important feature in nearly all security cameras, but especially in areas with poor lighting conditions. The modern, more advanced PTZ cameras can capture images in total darkness thanks to LEDs and special IR filters. The small LEDs emit infrared light, which is not visible to the human eye, but with the special IR filter, the camera sees a well lit area.

Remember that a PTZ camera that is rated for a detection range of 600 feet or more will usually be rated for a max range of 400 feet for night vision. Also, it is recommended that you set up your PTZ cameras in the same lighting conditions they will be recording in, whether dark or light.

Weatherproof
If you will be installing PTZ cameras outdoors, they must be weatherproof. Most PTZ cameras are designed to withstand harsh elements, but it is wise to double check the specifications to ensure their durability. Weatherproof PTZ cameras can be installed in very remote locations such as rooftops or the sides of tall buildings.

Powerful Zoom
PTZ security cameras have a detection ability that ranges from 150 feet (on the low end) up to 1,000 feet (on the higher end). The ability to zoom in on a person or object ranges from 12X to 36X for higher level PTZ Speed Domes. This makes them ideal for large parking lots or building tops as it allows the camera to be discreetly out of sight while still providing the option to zoom in for a better picture of what is happening.

Tamper Resistant
The best place for a PTZ camera is mounted high above the ground, which enables the best view possible, a wide 360 degree range, and added protection. As mentioned, most PTZ cameras are built tough, with rigid metal housings and high-strength polycarbonate domes that are virtually shatterproof to vandals.

Alarm Inputs
Most PTZ cameras have four alarm inputs, which connect to other important devices (ex. motion detectors, door contacts, glass break sensors). The camera can be programmed so that when activity occurs in a given area, other programmed activity is halted in order to zero in and record what is going on.

Auto Focus
The good PTZ cameras will have full range auto focus built in. This ensures clarity no matter where you pan, tilt or zoom. In addition, most have an auto adjust IR LED that quickly focuses the picture when moving the camera in areas of complete darkness. This feature is almost always missing from cheaper cameras.

Simplified Installation
Because they can cover a wider area, it may be more cost-effective to install a couple PTZ cameras to monitor your property (ex. parking lots, garages) rather than implementing several fixed security cameras. You can save on both the initial cost and installation of your system.

High Definition Options
Higher end PTZ Speed Domes are also available in IP versions, which will deliver resolutions from 720i to 1080P, and with HD-SDI technology, which provides high definition video in full 1080P resolution. The HD-SDI PTZ cameras are easier to install and maintain than IP cameras since they are installed and set up exactly the same way as standard analog cameras.

These types are only recommended when you need the highest resolution images possible. They require 2-4 times as much hard drive space as regular analog security cameras and are rather expensive for large installations.

For a great selection of PTZ security cameras and other surveillance system equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Prevent Blind Spots In Your Surveillance System

Security camera systems are meant to protect your property from intruders and collect crucial footage should any incident occur. Unfortunately, if not properly planned, your surveillance system may have blind spots that can be problematic. Blind spots are specific areas that are not in the field of view of your CCTV cameras. These blind spots leave your home vulnerable to intruders who may take advantage of these to gain access or damage your property.

Here are some useful tips to avoid blind spots within your surveillance system.

Take A Picture
Visualizing what you want to cover will help you plan where to place your cameras for optimal coverage. You can use these images as a reference to consult with experts on which type of security cameras, lenses and specs would be best for what you are trying to achieve.

Have an existing system? Test your camera’s FOV (field of view) by having a friend walk through your home while you monitor the live feed.

What Do You Want To Capture?
Prioritize what features are absolutely necessary and the ones that are optional. Also, consider the camera locations and what your goal is for each area. This will help you determine the appropriate resolutions for your different cameras.

Consider Natural Environment
Whether you are installing your security cameras indoors or outdoors, you must consider natural elements of the environment. From daylight to reflections to inclement weather, these elements can noticeably hinder your footage, sometimes even rendering it useless.

To avoid these issues, pay close attention to camera angles and placement. Be sure that there are no potential obstructions, such as branches, trees, or décor, in your camera’s FOV. Invest in cameras that have day/night vision and lenses that can automatically adjust themselves to provide the best picture. And lastly, for your outdoor surveillance, choose weatherproof cameras and/or weatherproof camera housing to protect your equipment from unpredictable weather conditions.

Vandalism Potential
Intruders will often look for cameras and their first instinct is to destroy them in hopes that they can wipe out or prevent evidence of their crime. To prevent this, install cameras high and out of reach when possible, and seek out cameras that are vandal proof.

Location, Location, Location
As previously (and repeatedly) mentioned, the placement of your cameras is crucial to eliminating blind spots. If you are having trouble planning and strategizing your security cameras, or simply need expert advice, feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294.

Do you have your own security camera system advice to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our vast selection of quality CCTV surveillance and security camera systems at affordable prices. We also offer site surveys and installation services. Contact us for more information.

What Can Your Security Camera Do?

Surveillance camera systems help to provide home and business owners security, protection, and peace of mind. But did you know you can use your security cameras for additional purposes? Here are some lesser known uses and benefits of security camera systems.

  • Time Lapse Videos

Some cameras come equipped with a time lapse feature which can allow you to create videos to display changes over time. These are great for construction or demolition sites, for capturing weather, nature, or wildlife.

  • Animal Life

Do you manage a barn, farm, or ranch on your property or remotely? Security cameras can save you time and travel costs by allowing you to check in on your animals remotely. And if you have pregnant livestock, you can keep an eye on the progress and possibly record the birth.

  • Pranks

If your family is a fan of pranks, security cameras can come in handy. Features like two-way audio and alarms can startle your unsuspecting guests, and you can capture the reactions as a souvenir.

  • Check Weather

Did you know security cameras help when checking the forecast? When you see images and footage from remote areas, such as when you are checking a weather application, those are taken from strategically placed security cameras.

  • Capture Precious Family Moments

Whether it’s your baby’s first steps or first words, you may be able to capture it on video. If you were away when it happened, you can review it later, and you can also share the special moment with other family members and friends.

  • Insurance Discount

While the cost of security cameras may discourage homeowners, the benefits of having it should be considered. Aside from peace of mind, insurance agencies often offer a discount as well. And this discount can help to offset the costs of the system.

  • Prevent Abuse

Nanny cams help to ensure that your babysitter is behaving properly and that your children are safe. On the other hand, nanny cams can also help you keep an eye on your elderly family members and caregivers to make sure your loved ones are not in danger.

  • Medical Assistance

Speaking of seniors, especially those who live alone, some home security systems come equipped with emergency pulls or medical alert pendants. When triggered, these instantly dispatch emergency assistance to homes.

  • Stop Trespassing & Vandalism

Whether it’s the neighborhood kids or unwelcome intruders, your security cameras can help to prevent any trespassing or vandalism.

  • Household Mysteries

Have things gone missing or end up in random places in your home? Want to know who finished your leftovers in the refrigerator? You can review your surveillance footage to solve the mystery.

  • Guard Your Garden

For the gardeners out there, you can set up security cameras with motion detection to monitor your goods. If squirrels, raccoons or the like are ruining your crop, you can set up your motion sensor to sound an alarm to scare off the critters.

  • Latchkey Kid Safety

Security camera systems enable you to have peace of mind when it comes to latchkey kids. Your system can alert you when someone enters your home, therefore, you will know when your kids get home from school. You may disarm the alarm remotely or have your children do it.

  • Increase Resale Value of Home

Having a surveillance system already installed in your home can increase the resale value of your home. It can also keep your home protected during the selling process as you can keep an eye on the strangers that come and go during open houses and inspections.

What other benefits can you think of? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Let us help you choose and install the security camera system of your dreams. Browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today!

Avoid These Common Security Camera Mistakes

Whether you rent or own your home, you want to make the property as unattractive as possible. Things like outdoor lighting, guard dogs, alarms and security systems act as deterrents for would-be burglars and trespassers. Unfortunately, common mistakes can weaken your security measures. Discover the most common security mistakes and ways to avoid them.

  • Mistake: Hiding Security Cameras

Although they may take away from your home’s aesthetic, your security cameras should be visible from the street. One of the benefits of security cameras is that they act as a deterrent for burglars. By hiding your cameras, you negate that benefit. And even if they do not succeed at discouraging thieves, you will have video footage that can help to identify the trespassers.

But remember, you want the cameras to be visible, but also out of reach to prevent tampering and vandalism. A sign warning that your property is under surveillance can also help.

  • Mistake: Camera Positioning/Locations

Choosing the right locations for your security cameras may seem easy, but there are lots of factors to take into account. Security cameras should be able to provide proper coverage around the clock. You need to consider direct sunlight in the afternoon, which can washout the footage, or how things such as rain, snow, or tree branches, may compromise the field of view and produce unusable footage. In addition, internet-connected smart cameras need to be installed where there is strong and consistent Wi-Fi signal.

Keep your camera in a sheltered area that’s in the shade all day. You may even want to invest in camera housing for added protection. Also, test your live feed in a variety of weather conditions to ensure your cameras produce usable footage in all situations.

  • Mistake: Buying Cheap Systems

While low-priced systems may seem appealing, often times you get what you pay for. These systems may not come with the special features you want or need, but if budget constraints limit your options, something is better than nothing. However, if you have a more flexible budget, you should be sure your basic needs are met.

The most important takeaway: do your research. Read reviews and users’ feedback, search online for examples of the video output, and look into warranties and technical support should you need it in the future. You should trust that you are investing your time and money into a quality camera that will satisfy your surveillance needs.

  • Mistake: Not Changing Passwords

When you have an internet-connected system, you are able to access your feed remotely. A default username and password are used for the initial access. A common mistake is that users do not change these default username and passwords, which are usually available on the manufacturer’s website. Hackers know this and if you fail to change these, they can gain access to your feed. From there, they can learn about your daily routines and get an idea of the layout of your home.

It is strongly advised to change the defaults as soon as possible and create a password that is unique, but that you can remember.

  • Mistake: DIY Installations

Professional installation can help you avoid many of the aforementioned mistakes. They will choose appropriate locations for your cameras based on your needs and the environmental factors. If your cameras aren’t functioning properly, they will come back to fix the issue and most companies will offer a warranty. If you opt for a DIY installation, you are responsible for any issues that arise.

Need help finding the right security system for you? Choose SecurityCamExpert.com! We can guide you through the process of choosing the security cameras that will best suit your needs. If you are in Southern California, we can even install the system for you. Visit us online or call 888-203-6294 to learn more. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.

Commercial Surveillance Camera Placement

For commercial businesses, video surveillance not only keeps customers, employees and properties safe, but it can also prevent incidents and potentially catch the perpetrator if a crime occurs. Should you decide to install a video surveillance system at your business, choosing the right locations is crucial. You want to avoid leaving blind spots as that will compromise your security, making your investment virtually useless.

For a better idea of where you should place your security cameras, here are the best locations for commercial properties.

Entrances & Exits
From the front/main entrance to side or back doors, you want to monitor any and all areas in which individuals can gain access to your building. This allows you to track who enters and exits, and whether or not they have authorized access.

You want to aim your indoor cameras toward the inside rather than at the door. The lighting conditions may change drastically when the door opens and closes, thus compromising the quality of your video.

For increased security, you may want to consider installing monitors that display a live feed on the screen at the entrance of your business to let visitors know they are under surveillance.

Restricted Access Areas
Doors that require a key card or an entrance code should be monitored. This provides an audit of who comes and goes, and who may have tried to gain unauthorized access.

Asset Storage
Whether it’s a warehouse full of merchandise or a server room filled with priceless equipment, you want to position a few cameras (the number will depend on the size and layout) to keep an eye on the area(s) where you store your assets.

By installing surveillance cameras in places where you store resources, documents, or even office supplies may potentially reveal cases of employee theft that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Monetary Transactions
It should go without saying that any point at which money regularly changes hands should be under surveillance. For example, security cameras should oversee cash registers at retail locations, teller stations at banks, and other transaction points on the property.

And you want to mount cameras low enough to see faces. You may even consider mounting a small camera at counter level in case of hats or hooded garments that may obstruct the view of a person’s face.

Work Areas
Whether or not you deal with customers at your location, it is still beneficial to keep an eye on employees. This usually discourages any slacking off or misbehavior. Just remember, you must disclose that there are security cameras and that they are under surveillance.

Loading Docks
Loading docks are prime targets since shipments are delivered and/or sent out from there. You want to have surveillance cameras watching over these areas to protect your employees and assets.

These cameras can also help with false worker’s compensation claims related to injuries sustained while loading or unloading equipment. Installing flood lights in this area also helps to produce clearer footage.

Secluded Outdoor Areas
These include parking lots, alleyways and dumpster pads – all of which are prime locations for shady activity. Security cameras installed in these areas should deliver a live feed to the security office so that a guard may watch for suspicious activity.

Along with surveillance locations, quality equipment suited for your security needs is vital for a successful surveillance system. Let us help you find the right security cameras and equipment for you – visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today! You may also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Risky Home Security Measures

Home security measures are meant to protect you from unwanted intruders, but sometimes these measures can backfire. Here are some common home security measures and mistakes you should avoid.

Privacy Gates & Fences
While these may be put in place to preserve your privacy, they can actually provide cover and hiding spots for burglars. Intruders can benefit from the privacy provided and work on forcing entry into your home unseen.

While every house and property is unique, try to plan your fencing in a way that allows the main entryway to be visible from the street. Since doors are a common entry point for burglars, this can help to make it more difficult for criminals to gain access without being detected.

Hidden Keys
These are helpful if you have people checking in on your home or in the event you accidentally lock yourself out. However, most homeowners choose obvious spots for hiding keys, which burglars are keen to and will immediately check.

Generally it’s better to hide the house key further from the home in less obvious spots. And a disguised item, such as a rock, is only useful if hidden among similar items.

Bushes
Your landscaping can make your home more or less friendly for intruders. If you have bushes or trees right up against the side of your home, they can provide cover in the same way that a fence might.

You don’t have to give up on your plants all together, but it is important to keep their placement in consideration. Choose low-height or thin-growing shrubbery immediately beside your home while keeping denser and taller plants further out.

Static Lights
Most homeowners install outdoor lighting for home security, whether they turn them on at the end of the day, or place a timer or light sensor so that they turn on automatically at night. These lights provides illumination for the yard, however, these can also create dense pockets of shadows that make for great hiding spots.

Motion sensor lights are a better alternative. They will provide outdoor lighting while shocking anyone who is prowling around your property. Motion sensor lights will also be used less often, resulting in lower electrical bills and longer lived light bulbs.

Valuables
We often forget that windows work both ways, thus intruders can see inside our homes. This is precisely why we should never leave our valuables in plain sight. Especially on the ground floor, be mindful of things like jewelry that may be left out on dressers and possibly visible from the windows. Televisions may be hard to position out of view, so remember to pull the shades or blinds shut in the evening.

Packaging Disposal
Packaging from an expensive item, such as a television or laptop, should not be set by the curb. This tells thieves that there is an expensive item in your home. Instead, take time to break down the box and cut it into smaller pieces to disguise what it once held.

Alarm System
Alarm systems are a smart tool, but be sure that your installers mount the control pad in a location that is not visible from a first floor window. Potential burglars may be able to see whether or not the alarm system is activated. This is especially true at night when the green or red status light is clearly visible in a darkened home.

Social Media
Social media is a fun way to stay in touch with friends and share travel experiences, but it should be done after the trip.

Because social media is mostly a public platform, you don’t want to announce to the world that you’ll be out of town. Burglars can easily search common keywords (ex. trip, travel, vacation) to potentially find out when homes will be empty.

To avoid this, share your wonderful photos and stories about your trip after you return home. IF you must share, be sure you are sharing it privately so only your close friends and family can see.

Mail Pileups
Piled up mail and newspapers scream that homeowners are away, and this is visible to anyone who simply drives by your home. Before you leave, contact your local post office and/or newspaper to temporarily suspend service. Or you can ask a friend or neighbor to pick up any mail or newspapers while you’re away. Activity around the front of the home will help to make your home look occupied as well.

Ladder Access
Most of these tips have addressed first-floor issues because it’s much more difficult to break-in through the second story. However, some homeowners may not know that they are providing simple and easy access to their second floor. Refrain from leaving your ladder in the yard where it can be easily seen and used by burglars. Instead, store it away in a garage or locked tool shed.

Assuming Daytime Is Safe
Break-ins are often associated with nighttime, but daytime break-ins are quite common. This is because burglars prefer an empty home, and during the day, most occupants are at school or work. With that said, the appropriate measures should be taken. Whenever you’re away from home, day or night, remember to turn your alarm systems on, keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and close and lock all doors and windows.

Do you have any other home security tips to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our extensive selection of quality security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages and security equipment for your home or business. If you have any questions or would like a free quote, please feel free to contact us 888-203-6294.

Important Night Vision Camera Features

Night vision security cameras are very helpful in providing around-the-clock surveillance for homes and businesses. Their ability to see in the dark is thanks to advanced IR (infrared) surveillance technology. However, when shopping for a night vision camera, simple wording such as “infrared (IR) illumination” and “night vision” is not enough. You want to look for specific features to ensure you are choosing the best night vision security cameras.

Three important features to look for include:

  1. IR cut filter
  2. Powerful Illumination
  3. Infrared Illuminators (ideally, these match the FOV (field of view) of the camera’s lens)

The quality of your night vision security camera will be determined by these features.

IR Cut Filter
Night vision security cameras with infrared cut-off filters improve image clarity (especially in daytime) and can prevent out of focus images. The way the filter works is quite simple, yet makes all the different in video and image quality.

The IR cut filter is physically moved over the lens when daylight (white light) is detected to block out the IR light (that would affect the image quality). When the light levels drop to the point where night vision is necessary, the camera will move the lens out of the way. This “filter switch” allows the camera to pick up the same colors as the human eye to record natural looking images and results in better images overall. Without these filters, there’s no way to prevent full-spectrum light, thus, daytime images would suffer from distortion and possible loss of focus.

Powerful Illumination (IR LEDs) Beam
Simply put – the more powerful the illumination, the better the night vision will be. For example, if you are looking for outdoor cameras, you want cameras that produce something in the neighborhood of 100 ft. of IR illumination.

Infrared Illuminators
Before discussing IR illuminators, the Field of View (FOV) should be understood. If you think of it in terms of binoculars, the field of view is everything you see when looking into them. What you cannot see is outside of the field of view. Often times, the infrared illuminators in a night vision security camera don’t match its FOV, thus the IR-beam is not illuminating the total area captured by the lens.

For the night vision cameras with an IR illuminator narrower than the FOV, you get a bright area in the middle of the image with the darkness growing as you get further from the center (ex. the spotlight effect). This is problematic as it makes it nearly impossible to identify areas outside of the center of the image. Finding a night vision camera with an IR illuminator that is equal to the FOV may cost more, but is well worth it.

Although seeking out specifications and ensuring that night vision cameras meet your expectations and requirements seems like a tedious task, it is well worth the security and peace of mind when it comes down to it.

Need help choosing a night vision security camera? Contact us at 888-203-6294 to discuss your options. You may also browse our stock of IR night vision cameras and other surveillance equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. For the latest updates, connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Video Surveillance Maintenance

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.

  • Clean Camera Lenses

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.

  • Landscape

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.

  • Camera Housing

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.

  • Check For Corrosion

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.

  • Check Cable Connections

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.

  • Check The Power Supply

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.

  • Dust Your DVR

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.

  • Emptying The Hard Drive

Depending on your hard drive capacity, you will need to periodically back up and delete your video footage once it fills up.

  • Verify The Recording Function At Least Once Per Week

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.

  • Periodically Review Camera Position Set Ups

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.

  • Check The Lighting

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.

  • Check And Remove Any Obstructions

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.

  • Date And Time

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.

  • Signage

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.

  • Secure A Comprehensive Maintenance Coverage

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.

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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!

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