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Which Camera? IP Or Analogue?

flowIP stands for Internet Protocol, and basically refers to a digital video camera that can send and receive data via a computer network, as opposed to sending a feed to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This is advantageous for a lot of reasons:

  • Picture Quality: The best analog surveillance camera still can’t hold a candle to the worst IP camera when it comes to the resolution of the image it captures. At best, an analog camera can manage the equivalent of less than half a megapixel, whereas a Megapixel camera wouldn’t be much good if it didn’t produce an image of at least ONE of the things it’s named after. Many of the Everfocus cameras we stock are available in 1.3, 2, or 3mp configurations, which is far better quality than you could hope to achieve with a traditional CCTV camera. Additionally, IP cameras capture a much wider field of view than comparable analog cameras, meaning a single IP camera is potentially able to do the job of three to four of the old school cams.

 

  • Video Analytics: This is a fancy term that basically means you can set your network to flag “events” that occur in the cameras’ field of vision. This could be anything from motion detection to missing objects to tampering with the camera itself. Instead of poring over hours of footage, your network can tell you exactly when these events occurred and point you right to them.

 

  • Flexibility and Scalability: In a traditional analog DVR set-up, each camera must be connected directly to the DVR. IP cameras can circumvent this through the use of switches, which allow cameras in close proximity to each other to be connected to a single switch, which then runs a single wire to the NVR (Network Video Recorder). This reduces the amount of cabling runs, which makes it ultimately less labor intensive, and also allows you to connect more cameras because you’re no longer limited by the number of ports on your DVR. On top of that, using a PoE (Power over Ethernet) switch allows your Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable to run the signal AND provide power to your camera, eliminating the need for a separate power supply.

The Importance of CCTV Security Systems in Business.

cctv1Security is fundamentally important across all walks of life to ensure the overall safety and possessions of all individuals are comprehensively protected. Commercial and residential properties are constructed to provide homeowners and companies with adequate protection against adverse weather conditions. Both buildings are also fit for purpose and provide the flexibility in which to create a stately household and professional business environment. This can be achieved via the integration of interior design features such as furniture and décor, in addition to any portable appliances and machinery to carry out daily tasks.

Throughout commercial properties such as office buildings and retail outlets, all companies require careful consideration of integrated security solutions. Although security guards provide an element of protection on the ground floor, their eyes are ears are not extensive enough to provide an over watch of the entire premises. This is where cameras within CCTV security systems play a crucial role within the daily running of a business.

Establishing an overview via placements of cameras within key areas within an office environment or retail store is an integral part of CCTV security systems. Although such systems are installed to protect against potential theft or criminal activity, they can play an important role within the productivity levels of employees. While certain individuals may feel their statutory rights are being undermined within a ‘Big Brother’ environment, it is done so to ensure the activities and conduct of all employees is maintained on a daily basis.

Cameras can be either situated within the middle of a room or in the corners. Although their placements affects the images and security angle each camera can pick up, the sheer presence of cameras can act as a deterrent to any criminal. Knowing their actions is likely to be detected by one from a multitude of cameras which can clearly depict their face and appearance can decrease the rate of theft and crime.

The presence of CCTV as integrated security solutions can also be important for the work ethic and efficiency of employees. As their safety and wellbeing can be placed under threat by an individual who carries out violence or a criminal act, it is vital to integrate adequate protection. In doing so, it can play a fundamental role in catching any perpetrators who steal or damage valuable products or machinery, and put employees at risk.

It is crucial to take security seriously in this day and age. It is not just businesses and commercial properties that need good security but it is our homes too. With crime increasing and burglaries very common place, it is very important to consider the available security options and choose one that is the best fit for you.

One of the most popular and cost effective ways of providing security in the home and place of work is with cctv cameras and equipment. CCTV cameras can act as a very successful deterrent to thieves and burglars, certainly making them think twice at the very least. The technology behind security equipment these days is incredibly advanced, and it is even possible to hook the cameras up to an ordinary television or computer to watch the footage.

The following are some of the concerns both home and business have and Top 10 Reasons of Why Install CCTV.

  1. Prevent CrimeIf you’re worried about crime, cameras can not only catch criminals in the act, but the very presence of CCTV systems can make a would-be criminal think twice about any wrong-doing. Think about it, if you planned rob or vandalize a store or office, would you want to do it if you knew you were being recorded?
  2. Prevent Employee TheftIf you suspects one of your employees of wrong-doing but don’t know where to begin to try to get to the bottom of things, a camera can be a very helpful tool. This is especially true if you own an establishment where cash is exchanged. Cameras posted near cash registers or other places where employees are often stationed, not only can show you if an employee is stealing, but may even deter an employee from committing a crime if they know you’re watching.
  3. Be a useful piece of evidenceIf a crime is committed in or around your business and the person accused of committing the crime was caught on camera, you’ve got an extra piece of evidence for a court case. Jurors and judges can watch footage or view photos from your security cameras and establish that the person on trial did indeed commit the crime. Not only will you be preventing the same person from causing you more trouble in the future, you’ll be helping out your entire community.
  4. Help law enforcement solve crimeWhen someone commits a crime and is caught on camera, police and other law enforcement officials can use the footage to release video or photos to the public via various media outlets. Having a picture of the suspect can make a world of difference when it comes to making an arrest and getting dangerous criminal off the street.
  5. Keep an eye on children and elderly folksWith a CCTV system at home, you can monitor the safety of your children and elderly folks while you are away. Besides, you can keep an eye on your maid and make sure nothing out of the ordinary is going on.
  6. Keep an eye on thingsIf you can’t be at the office all the time but like to know what’s going on, a security camera can help do just that. You can keep an eye on things from your home computer with a few quick clicks of your mouse and make sure your business is running smoothly and nothing out of the ordinary is going on.
  7. Protecting your staffCCTV can protect your staff physically against violence from customers. At the same time, it can also protect them against false accusations – perhaps coming from colleagues or even from client and customers.
  8. Encourage good behaviourHaving a CCTV camera inside offices may help in creating discipline among the employees. For bosses, who want their presence felt so that efficiency at work is optimized, a camera hovering the employees will give the same effect.
  9. Monitoring high-risk areaCameras may be placed in high-risk areas inside a factory. Such areas may include those in which fires can possibly break out. A camera in place there will lessen potential damages because emergency measures can be made immediately. Cameras may also be placed in areas where accidents can happen. This is important so that life-saving measures can be employed promptly.
  10. Increase customer’s confidenceBanks and shops equipped with CCTV cameras give the customers a sense of security and safety. The customers feel secure and this enhances the customers’ confidence.

How to Set Up a Wireless Network Webcam

If you want to monitor your home remotely with a security camera, using a wireless network camera is the most permanent way to do it. You can make do with a standard USB webcam (or use your iOS or Android device as a webcam), but wireless network cameras are easier to position and they’re designed for the task. In this how-to, we’ll walk through the process of setting up a wireless network camera and using it for home monitoring.

For this how-to, we decided to use the D-Link DCS-932L wireless network camera, which you can connect to your network via ethernet or 802.11n Wi-Fi. Of course, specific setup instructions differ from camera to camera, but we’ve found that many of the basic features that you’ll want in a wireless network camera are similar for most models.

Step 1: Find the Right Place for Your Wireless Network Camera

Before you start configuring the camera, you should try to decide where to put it. The main limitation here is the power cord: You’ll have to place it fairly close to a power outlet, or you’ll have to use an extension cord–meaning that you probably won’t be able to position it in an elevated spot without leaving unsightly power cables dangling from your walls.

You’ll also want to test your network connection from the spot where you want to place the camera. The easiest way to do this is to grab a laptop, put it in the spot where you want to put your camera, and see whether you can get a reasonably strong wireless network connection from the laptop. If your laptop struggles to load basic Web pages over Wi-Fi from that location, you can bet that your wireless network camera won’t be able to upload a constant stream of video from there.

If you’re concerned about your camera’s wireless network reception in the spot you’ve selected, you can use a Wi-Fi stumbler app like InSSIDer or NetStumbler to see whether any nearby networks are running on the same channel as your home network. If your neighbor’s wireless network uses the same channel that yours does, the competition can make it harder for your Wi-Fi devices to connect to each other. Run the stumbler app. If you get strong signals from other networks on the same channel as your network, change the wireless network broadcasting channel in the setup interface of your wireless router to something that your neighbors aren’t using.

Step 2: Configure Your Wireless Network Camera

These directions are specific to the D-Link camera that we’re using. If you have a different camera, the setup process will vary, but it’s likely to be quite similar.

Start out by plugging the camera into a power outlet close to your Wi-Fi router. Connect the camera via ethernet to your router (if your wireless router has a built-in ethernet switch in it) or to a connected ethernet switch. Alternatively, if your router supports Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), plug the camera into a power outlet, open the D-Link setup wizard on the included CD, from a PC connected to the same network as the camera, and press the WPS button when the wizard tells you to.

Once your camera is plugged in, navigate through the setup wizard provided on the CD. For the setup wizard to work, your PC will must be on the same network as the camera. Depending on the version of your software and on your network connection, everything might be running just fine by the time you reach the end of the wizard. On my first attempt, though, I couldn’t get the camera to connect to the wireless network or register with D-Link’s Web-monitoring portal, Mydlink.com. Instead, I had to update the camera’s firmware and run the wizard a second time, using the following instructions.

First, run through the whole wizard and see whether the first attempt works. If it doesn’t, click the Camera Settings button at the end of the wizard setup process to grab the camera’s local network IP address. Open the camera’s configuration page in a Web browser by typing in http:// in your browser bar and pasting the camera’s local network IP address. From there, I logged in, using the administrator login and password that I had specified during my first trip through the setup wizard; clicked Maintenance, Firmware Upgrade; and updated the camera firmware to the most recent beta that D-Link had on its website.

Once I updated the firmware, I stepped through the setup wizard again, and this time everything connected just fine: I could remotely view the camera via Mydlink.com without a problem.

Step 3: Set Up Your Wireless Camera’s Motion Detection Features

Now you have a working wireless camera, and you should be able to view whatever it’s filming from anyplace where you have an Internet connection, either with Mydlink.com or with the camera’s Web UI. But unless you plan to be at your desk monitoring the camera feed 24/7, the “always on” functionality isn’t particularly useful. That’s why most wireless network cameras include support for motion-tracking features that respond to sudden changes in the scene–such as someone walking by the camera–and send the images to you via email or FTP.

You can usually access these email- and FTP-alert features through the camera’s Web-based configuration interface (the same one that we used to update the firmware above), though some manufacturers may include desktop software for you to use instead.

For this D-Link camera, open the Web interface and click Setup. Then click Motion Detection from the side menu, click Enable, and specify which blocks in the image you would like to monitor for motion. This ability to define what motion will trigger the motion detection software to activate the camera can be particularly handy if you’re worried about setting the camera off too often. For example, if your camera faces a window with a tree visible outside, you can exclude the regions where the tree might sway in the wind, so you won’t get email notifications every time a stiff breeze blows through (while still including the area that a potential intruder might pass through when breaking in at that window). Once you’re done, click Save Settings.

Next, let’s set up the camera’s auto-email feature. Click Mail on the left-hand side of the page to get to the configuration page. Here, you’ll need to find the right settings for your email provider–at right, I’ve filled out the settings for using Gmail’s SMTP server, which you can find at Gmail’s “Configuring other mail clients” help page. Next, check Enable emailing images to email account, and check the Motion Detection radio button to set the camera to email you images every time the motion detection sensor is set off.

Now you have a wireless network camera set up with basic surveillance features that make it perfect for monitoring your home, children, pets, or snack fridge at work.

The Problem of Tailgating in Secured Buildings

One of the biggest weaknesses of automated access control systems is the fact that most systems cannot actually control how many people enter the building when an access card is presented. Most systems allow you to control which card works at which door, but once an employee opens the door, any number of people can follow behind the employee and enter into the building. Similarly, when an employee exits the building, it is very easy for a person to grab the door and enter the building as the employee is leaving.

This practice is known as “tailgating” or “piggybacking”. Tailgating can be done overtly, where the intruder makes his presence known to the employee. In many cases, the overt “tailgater” may even call out to the employee to hold the door open for him or her. In these cases, good etiquette usually wins out over good security practices, and the intruder is willingly let into the building by the employee.

Tailgating can also be done covertly, where the intruder waits near the outside of the door and quickly enters once the employee leaves the area. This technique is used most commonly during weekends and at nights, where the actions of the more overt tailgater would be suspicious.

Solutions To The “Tailgating” Problem

First, recognize that the tailgating problem is probably the biggest weakness in your security system. This is particularly true at doors that handle a high volume of employee and visitor traffic. Many security managers spent a lot of time worrying about unauthorized duplication of access cards and computer “hackers” getting into their security system over the network. It is far more likely that someone who wants access to your facility will simply “tailgate” into the building rather than using one of these more exotic methods to breach your security.

The practice of overt tailgating can be reduced somewhat through employee security awareness training. If employees are frequently reminded of the tailgating problem, they are less likely to let a person that they do not know into the building deliberately.

It is difficult to overcome the problem of covert tailgating through employee security awareness alone. While it would be possible to ask employees to wait at the door until it locks after they pass, it is probably not likely that this procedure would be followed except under the most extreme circumstances.

The problem of covert tailgating can usually only be reliably solved through the use of special “anti-tailgating” devices.

“Anti-Tailgating” Devices

To minimize the problem of tailgating, the security industry has created a number of “anti-tailgating” devices. These devices include mechanical and optical turnstiles, security revolving doors, security portals, and doorway anti-tailgating devices.

The essential function of each of these devices is that they permit only one person to enter or leave the building at a time. They either do this by providing a physical barrier that only allows one person to pass, or electronically by providing sensors that detect when a person attempts to tailgate in, or when more than one person tries to enter using the same card.

The following is a brief summary of each of the common types of anti-tailgating devices:

HALF-HEIGHT MECHANICAL TURNSTILE

  • Approximate cost: |£2,000 to £3,500 per opening.
  • PROS: Lowest cost anti-tailgating device, readily accepted by most users, relatively unobtrusive, well-proven and reliable.
  • CONS: Can easily be climbed over or under, requires separate door or gate for emergency exit and for handicapped users, easily defeated by knowledgeable intruder.
  • Comments: Good choice for visitor lobbies or employee entrances that are constantly attended by a security officer and where cost is a consideration.

FULL-HEIGHT MECHANICAL TURNSTILE

  • Approximate cost: £3,500 to £5,000 per opening.
  • PROS: Provides good security at a moderate cost. Well-proven and reliable.
  • CONS: Obtrusive in appearance, requires separate door or gate for emergency exit and for handicapped users, lacks sophisticated anti-piggybacking detection features.
  • Comments: Good choice for commercial and industrial facilities where security and cost considerations are more important than appearance.

OPTICAL TURNSTILE

  • Approximate cost: £11,000 to £15,000 per opening.
  • PROS: Aesthetically-pleasing appearance, accommodates handicapped users, does not require separate emergency exit, has sophisticated anti-piggybacking detection systems, provides good visual and audible cues to users.
  • CONS: Expensive, provides little or no physical barrier, must be used at an entrance manned by security guard, relatively high “false alarm” rate.
  • Comments: Good choice for use in manned building lobbies where aesthetics prevent the use of a half-height manual turnstile.

SECURITY REVOLVING DOOR

  • Approximate cost: £22,000 to £38,000 per opening.
  • PROS: Provides best protection against tailgating and piggybacking, fast, handles high volumes of traffic, unobtrusive in appearance, provides energy savings when used at exterior entrances.
  • CONS: Very expensive, requires separate door or gate for emergency exit and for handicapped users, door cannot be used for loading/unloading of large objects, relatively high maintenance costs.
  • Comments: Good choice for use at unattended building entrances where appearance is important.

SECURITY PORTAL

  • Approximate cost: £22,000 to £38,000 per opening.
  • PROS: Provides good protection against tailgating and piggybacking, unobtrusive in appearance, accommodates handicapped users, does not require separate emergency exit, allows load/unloading of large objects.
  • CONS: Very expensive, relatively slow, cannot support large volumes of traffic, high maintenance costs.
  • Comments: Good choice for use at unattended building entrances with relatively low traffic volumes and for entrances into high security internal areas, such as computer rooms.

DOORWAY ANTI-TAILGATING DEVICE

  • Approximate cost: £3,000 to £5,000 per opening.
  • PROS: Easy add-on to existing doors; provides good protection against tailgating and piggybacking, unobtrusive in appearance, accommodates handicapped users, does not require separate emergency exit, allows loading/unloading of large objects, relatively inexpensive.
  • CONS: Must be used at an entrance manned by security guard, does not provide good visual and audible cues to users.
  • Comments: Good choice for use at doorways with relatively low traffic volumes and where conditions do not permit the use of another type of device.

Other Anti-Tailgating Systems

There are several new anti-tailgating detection systems on the market. These include closed-circuit television camera systems equipped with video analytics software, and machine vision sensors that use infrared imaging technology. Both of these systems “look” at the entrance point and use computer software to detect tailgaters. Once a tailgater is detected, an audible alarm is activated to alert the security guard.

While this new technology looks promising in the long run, it is our opinion that these systems are still too new and unproven for use in most applications.

Have additional questions about the prevention of tailgating?  Please contact us.