Choosing the right video surveillance system can be tough. With various technologies to consider, as well as your own personal requirements, there’s a lot to consider. For your convenience, here are some common terms and technologies to help you choose the right video surveillance system for you.
Because of our smart, HD televisions, we are all likely familiar with resolution as well as the units used to measure it (pixels). From its beginnings at 720 pixels to 1080p, we are now up to 4K and 5K resolution, with further advancements on the horizon.
The goal for resolution is to produce the clearest image for usability. This is defined by detection, recognition and identification and generally requires 80p around the face. Previously, pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) technology was employed to get a usable image. Now that camera resolution has greatly improved, less features and cameras are necessary to create high quality video surveillance.
Another term you are likely familiar with is frame rate. The minimum requirement for the HDTV standard is 30 frames per second (fps). A higher frame rate is ideal, as it will produce a smooth, clearer video, however, it may not be practical. A higher frame rate also requires more bandwidth and storage space as these tend to be larger files. In this case, you should evaluate and prioritize your needs to determine the frame rate for you.
Networks & Storage
Security cameras are a small percentage of the overall cost of a surveillance system (the cost for cables and storage quickly accumulates). With that in mind, you should figure out what you intend to do with the footage so you can make the best decision for networks and storage. For example, ask yourself if you would like to store the footage for later review, actively monitor your feed, or would you like to do both.
Once you determine your goals and how long you need to retain footage (if at all), you can figure out how much space is necessary before your data gets overwritten. Depending on your system and needs, you may be able to refine these details per camera/location as necessary.
Since higher frame rates lead to larger files and more required storage, video compression technology works to counter that. As it advances, it promises to reduce bandwidth and storage to provide more affordable and convenient options for consumers. Currently, H.264 and H.265 are the standard, depending on the cameras you choose.
As you may know, extreme light levels can interfere with a security camera’s ability to capture useful images. However, low light technologies have improved and can produce images in little to no light environments. For example, ‘lightfinder’ technology enables cameras to produce color video down to below one lux (one lux is a dark room, zero lux is an absence of light).
There’s also wide dynamic range, which allows cameras to capture usable images in varying lighting conditions. This feature adjusts and filters light to prevent washed out images, and is useful for hallways and doorways that can open into bright lights.
While most systems come equipped with software (which should be updated and patched regularly and as necessary), you can find and install software applications that deliver specialized features and functions that you desire. Just remember that the higher the cost of the system means more features, which can translate into more training required to learn how to use it.
If you have any questions about security cameras or need help choosing surveillance systems and equipment, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294. You may also browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com or connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Installing video surveillance for your business may be a significant investment, but it can also provide numerous benefits. Although concerns about privacy and costs may prevent businesses from seeing their true value, many will find that business surveillance not only protects the owners, but also the employees and customers alike. Overall, a business surveillance system can prove to be a valuable asset for businesses. Here are just some of the reasons why.
In addition, businesses with video surveillance systems may be eligible for savings on insurance. The potential savings for having a security system installed may be significant and should be taken into account when determining whether or not to invest in surveillance.
If you need help choosing the right security camera system for your business or home, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our selection.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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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We have seen the video surveillance industry change over the years. With improvements in quality and accessibility, surveillance camera popularity among businesses and consumers has grown. As we embark on this New Year, we look ahead to what new surveillance trends are on the horizon.
According to industry experts, aside from working on image quality and cost-efficiency, we will see an increasing focus on software developments. Things like built-in intelligence, deep learning, and other advances in video management are sure to surface this year.
New vendors and product lines with new configurations are likely to emerge this year as well, expanding upon multi-sensor and multi-directional cameras. The advanced technologies will soon make their way to the market for home and private use, forcing others to provide alternate offerings.
Managed services and moving toward cloud computing will rise in demand. By utilizing managed services and the cloud, businesses can manage their cyber security risk by employing companies whose sole purpose is to maintain data security. This will then force manufacturers to provide end-users with more network-based solutions.
With cyber security issues with surveillance cameras and devices making headlines last year, it has become a more prominent concern. This negative attention can drive down demand, which means manufacturers must address this issue immediately and proactively.
Things that will be considered include rigorous testing of products, increasing end-user and integrator education on how to use the system as well as a best practices guide. Firmware must be updated quickly and often, especially when new vulnerabilities are found.
Overall, cyber security must be approached as a team effort. Manufacturers should take all considerations into account when building and designing hardware and software, as well as strengthen password requirements and incorporate strong data encryption, and take lead when educating users and the industry of potential risks. In the same vein, customers should know what is insecure and how to best protect themselves for attacks.
Competition will be high throughout the year. Most manufacturers are working to improve image quality, frame rate, and low-light performance to please the consumer demand. As features and functions progress, so will the surveillance industry as a whole. Bottom line for customers is that they will be looking for the best solution with the best total cost of ownership.
Shop our affordable selection of CCTV surveillance cameras and equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To inquire about site surveys or installation services, please call 888-203-6294.
Loss prevention tactics began with in-store monitoring and patrol. As our technologies evolve and the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, security measures have improved. In fact, a U.S. retail fraud survey revealed that spending on store fraud prevention declined while online fraud prevention spending increased.
Because cybercriminals are constantly sharpening their skills, loss prevention specialists are using new technologies to their advantage as well. For example, data analytics have helped specialists understand suspicious behaviors and patterns in the e-commerce and m-commerce environment, and social media vigilance has helped to identify potential threats.
As the retail industry continues to expand and grow, what’s to come in the future of retail loss prevention?
It’s true that retail uses a variety of different technologies to operate, including point-of-sale transaction profiling as well as RFID tracking. However, now more than ever, video surveillance is playing a larger and smarter role.
With video surveillance, loss prevention officers have been able to catch thieves in the act and the recordings have provided excellent evidence. With the introduction of built-in facial recognition technology and video analytics, video surveillance can do so much more.
In the same vein, the smart features, connectivity and convenience put these devices at risk. While their role is to protect the business, retailers must do their part to protect their devices, data, shoppers, and employees.
IT & Outside Vendors
Because of this, loss prevention specialists must develop their knowledge and skills with the new technology. They should understand how to use data analysis to identify ever-changing criminal activities, such as new ideas, concepts and schemes.
Loss prevention specialists, cybersecurity specialists and IT team members must all work together to create a system that complies with privacy issues and maintains heightened security to prevent any data breaches or disasters.
Development Of New Responsibilities
As retailers begin to shift from their brick-and-mortar stores (some even closing completely) to focus on e-commerce and m-commerce, the role of data loss prevention specialists will morph into something new, which encompasses more aspects involved in keeping a company safe and secure.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
Despite how it may be depicted on television or movie screens, reviewing surveillance footage to find evidence is a lengthy process. Sifting through hours, sometimes days, of footage is costly, time consuming, and, when done by humans, is rarely effective. Luckily, advanced technologies can save the day.
Originally, CCTV video footage was used to monitor retail stores or businesses to prevent theft, damage, or employee misconduct, and provide evidence if something were to happen. If nothing occurred, the storage would be overwritten because space was limited and the footage proved useless.
These days, storage capacity has increased and new data processing techniques make this footage extremely useful. The accessibility of recording devices with advanced features is changing the value of videos. And thanks to machine learning and video analytics, surveillance footage can be sorted and evaluated in a timely manner.
Rather than wasting time and resources having humans evaluate footage, video analytics can take care of it. Video analytics is the process of extracting pertinent information from video footage. It basically works like image analytics, but goes a step further.
Image analytics can look at a still image to find patterns, anomalies, and identify faces. Video analytics can do the same, plus measure and track behaviors. Because of this, video analytics has a promising future within different industries.
The Use Of Video Analytics
Because this technology is great for identification, behavior analysis, and situational awareness, various businesses and industries can benefit greatly. Video analytics allows business owners to evaluate who visits their stores, identify peak hours, analyze customer behavior, and more. This gives businesses insight into how they can improve customer service and which deals or displays attract more customers. These types of insights can also benefit the marketing departments, as they can better understand customer demographic and tailor ads to those groups.
Video analytics can even be applied for security and law enforcement. Since body cameras for police are becoming widely adopted, these produce lots of video footage. Video analytics could make the recordings useful by adding rich tagging and indexing, making it easier to search through footage. Parsing through certain time periods and identifying persons with specific characteristics can help to develop leads and even recognize and predict different patterns.
For airports, stadiums and other major event and transportation venues, video analytics can evaluate footage and help to relieve congestion and lines. By monitoring these venues, more workers can be deployed to decrease wait times and improve customer service.
Video-Based Predictive Analytics
While still in the early stages, a new algorithm, as reported by MIT, allows a computer to predict human actions and interactions based on behaviors seconds before the action. The outlook for this algorithm is promising. As it develops, computers could eventually be taught to predict when a crime or injury may take place.
And as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics become more feasible in our everyday lives, this type of machine learning and predictive analytics will be necessary for robots to interact with humans naturally.
An excellent example of these video analytics in action is Veenome for marketing. Its YouTube analytics tool helps advertisers choose which videos are better suited for them to display ads. Another example is Prozone for sports analytics. By analyzing video footage of the field, players’ stats can be recorded and more effective plays can be planned and executed.
These video-based predictive analytics can also help with decision-making in industries such as aviation, air traffic control, ship navigation, power plant operation, and emergency services. Accidents and crimes can be prevented, thus, potentially saving lives.
Video Gray Area
Of course, as it goes with all surveillance, privacy concerns arise. Currently, analytics where data collection does not require consent is still a gray area. Until laws are in place to protect the public as well as businesses, companies should consider employing video analytics ethically, with respect and privacy to the data and its consumers alike.
To find an excellent array of quality security cameras and surveillance equipment at affordable prices, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions or want to learn more about our services and equipment, please call 1-888-203-6294.
Video surveillance can be an invaluable asset for businesses. It helps to improve security, manage risks, and boost efficiency. Most benefits of video surveillance can be seen and measure, however, determining its financial return isn’t as easy.
In order to better understand the fiscal value of IP video surveillance, security leaders consider the impact and effect of a hypothetical security event. This gives them better insight to how effective their surveillance system is. And by understanding how IP video surveillance adds value to your business, you demonstrate your overall dedication to success. Here are some of the ways IP video surveillance can influence and improve your business.
A common reason to employ IP video surveillance is to protect your property, employees, and customers. It can help to minimizes losses when it comes to a security incident, however, it can go further. The application of IP video surveillance can also ensure cyber security, data protection, intellectual property and brand reputation. By protecting these assets, a cohesive approach to risk management can be achieved.
Again, video surveillance goes beyond security and safety. It has become a fundamental aspect when building a business. Aside from monitoring on-site and remote locations, surveillance footage can be analyzed to improve employee productivity and help to measure the success of marketing campaigns. This data can be valuable across different departments, which adds to its value and merit.
There are different ways you can evaluate and determine the total cost of ownership for your system. For example, by investigating liability claims with video footage, you can save money and prevent future slip-and-fall claims. Some cases may be proven false, while others may bring to light new or unnoticed safety risks that can be addressed.
The stronger your system is, the more money you can potentially save. The most effective systems are comprised of enough cameras to cover all areas and detect crimes in progress, with highly trained staff to monitor the different feeds. A system that can do this as well as integrate the technology into all manner of law enforcement activities will demonstrate true ROI to security leaders.
Remote monitoring is an excellent luxury of IP video surveillance. When alarms go off or unfamiliar activity is detected, rather than sending managers or guards to investigate, you are provided with alerts and can respond quickly and appropriately.
Building a system that meets these standards will be a great addition to your business. What other benefits do you enjoy with your video surveillance system? If you don’t have one now, are you considering implementing an IP video surveillance system for your business? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.