Search Our Site

Our Newsletter

Our Ramblings

Features of Surveillance Systems

dvrThere are many features that are available with different DVR home and small business surveillance systems. Some features come as standard with many surveillance systems, while other features can cost extra. The following table provides a list of the most valuable features of any DVR home and small business surveillance system for those who want to stick to a tight budget.

Motion Detection – These pick up movement within the home and small business, when the alarm is set; strategically placed throughout the home and small business to cover all entrances and exits

Interactive Monitoring – Allows home and small business owner to access system via cell phone and Internet; system can be turned on or off and settings changed remotely; also offers email and text alerts

There are many features offered with various DVR home and small business surveillance systems. The more expensive the system, the more features it should offer. For those who don’t want to spend excessive amounts of money, but still want ultimate protection, the above features are a good selection.

What to Consider When on a Budget

DVR home and small business surveillance systems can be very expensive, but they don’t have to be. There are a few aspects of any surveillance systems that, if carefully considered, can help the buyer get the most out of even the smallest of budgets.

Size of the Hard Drive

A DVR system can record onto a hard drive. The size of the hard drive determines the length of recording time the system is capable of. There are various hard drive sizes, with the most common being , 500 GB to 750 GB, and 1 TB to 2 TB, Naturally, the smaller the hard drive, the less expensive the unit. A unit that offers up to 500 GB is normally more than sufficient for most home and small business surveillance needs, making it unnecessary to spend more money purchasing a larger hard drive.

Number of Channels

The number of channels a surveillance system offers determines the number of different cameras that can be used with the system. Buyers generally have the option of 4, 8, 16, or 32 channels. For most residential home and small business surveillance needs, a four or eight channel system is sufficient. This means the user has up to a maximum of eight cameras to use.

Camera Resolution

The term resolution refers to the number of the smallest picture elements or pixels that make up a video image. The more picture elements, the better the detail of the picture. Resolution for analog cameras is typically measured in Television Lines or TVL where resolution in digital cameras is typically measured in pixels and communicated by either the number of pixels both horizontally and vertical (such as 640 x 480) or as a total number of pixels in the image (such as 1.4 megapixels).

In a camera system, resolution is typically the balancing factor. Depending on the purpose of your system, you may need a large resolution in order to recognize faces or licenses plates. Under other circumstances, you don’t need a high resolution at all because your field of view is so large you only want a general idea of what is happening. Typically adjustments to a camera system are made to get the most resolution with the lowest storage and bandwidth requirements.

Self-installed Systems

Many DVR home and small business surveillance systems require an experienced professional to install. This can end up being very expensive. For those who want to buy a surveillance system on a budget, a self- installed system can be a good option. These systems are designed to be simple to install with minimal knowledge required. These products tend to come with step-by-step installation instructions.

Preferred Specification Minimums:

CCTV Digital/Analog Systems:
Camera Resolution and IR : Minimum of 600 tvl. The higher resolution the clearer. With IR minimum of 35 feet. Weatherproof if installing outside. DVR: Recording capacity of at least 20 days. Online calculator below. http://www.zmodo.com/tools/dvr_storage_calculator/dvr-storage-calculator.htm H.264 video compression is preferred compression

If you want to be able to view system remotely, make sure it has mobile phone viewing Apps for your type of phone. IE… Android, Windows or iphone.

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.

Choosing CCTV Cameras

cctv1Setting up a CCTV camera system is not something to be taken lightly. It is a significant expenditure and should be thought through before a single pound is spent. The most important part of any CCTV system is the camera as it provides the eyes of the operation, so to speak. The key to buying the right CCTV camera is not simply in going out and buying the biggest or most expensive model on the market.

The key is to start by identifying the needs a camera has to meet. Once those needs are known, it becomes easier to find the right camera, as opposed to spending a large amount of time trying to select a camera without really knowing how or why it will be used. Knowing what matters to a given purchaser not only speeds the decision process, but also helps to ensure they make the right CCTV camera purchase decision. Therefore, the key is knowledge, knowing what to look for in order to meet the user’s needs.

How a CCTV Camera Works

Most CCTV, or closed-circuit TV cameras used in home security work, are solid-state electronic devices that are connected to a central recorder rather than broadcasted over the air. It is, therefore, a closed circuit, broadcasting to a specific location, rather than to anyone in range. The camera itself is usually made up of the following main components: lens, sensor, and digital signal processor, or DSP. In simplest terms, the lens focuses the light that is to be imaged onto the sensor, which then passes it to the DSP which converts it into a TV signal. This signal is then transmitted to a central location either by wire or wirelessly for storage and viewing.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a CCTV Camera

There are a number of important factors to consider when purchasing a new CCTV camera, most of which map to one or more of the basic hardware components, so understanding the components and how they affect the CCTV camera’s performance is an important part of knowing what to look for.

Choosing the Right Lens

The lens is what gathers the light for the sensor. Everything the viewer sees, or that gets recorded on the DVR comes through the lens. It determines the distance at which a car’s number plate can be read, and a face can be recognised because the lens controls focus. In many cases, a better lens is more helpful than a higher output resolution, as the output is always limited by the input, and the lens determines the input.

Buyers should also look for a zoom lens. Some CCTV cameras come with digital zoom, where others have optical zoom, handled by the lens. Whenever possible, buyers should opt for optical over digital zoom. The problem with digital zoom is that it provides no more information than was in the original image. Optical zoom can actually add new information as it changes which light reaches the sensor.

Choosing the Right Sensor

Not all digital sensors are created equal. There are two main things to look for when studying the sensor specifications of a given CCTV camera: the first is the sensor type, the second is the sensor size. Most CCTV sensors are either CMOS or CCD. CMOS is less expensive and uses less power than CCD, but it is less sensitive and does not produce as clear an image, which can be particularly problematic when using the camera for identification purposes. One result of this is that CMOS-based sensors require more signal processing to produce a clear image.

The other important factor is the sensor size. The larger the sensor, the more light it can process, and the higher quality image it can produce. Most CCTV camera sensors come in one of two sizes: 1/4 inch, which measures 3.2 mm by 2.4 mm, and 1/3 inch, which measures 4.8 mm by 3.6 mm; giving it over twice the surface area of the smaller sensor. A larger sensor not only gathers more light, but in doing so gives the DSP more data to work with, which is especially helpful with the less capable processors used in budget cameras.

Choosing the Right Output Resolution

One very common specification for CCTV cameras is the number of horizontal lines of TV resolution it can output, or its TVL. This can range anywhere up to 700TVL, with many cameras coming in between 380TVL and 540TVL. Some experts recommend 420TVL as a minimum, but this is not always the case. While a high resolution is nice to have, the output depends on the input, so if the lens and sensor cannot match the output resolution, which is determined by the DSP, then the extra resolution is wasted. What matters most is having enough resolution to clearly display any image the camera can produce. Anything beyond that is unnecessary.

CCTV Camera Types

Not all CCTV cameras are the same size and shape. Different uses require different capabilities, and so there are different kinds of cameras to meet those needs. The following table shows the three basic types of cameras and some of their common uses.

 

CCTV Camera Type

Use

Bullet Camera These small cylindrical CCTV cameras are often used in environments where discretion is important, but there is no need to permanently install the camera in a protective dome. They work well in shops and service areas when there is a need to monitor the staff
Dome Camera A CCTV dome camera is an excellent choice for surveillance as it not only protects the camera from casual vandalism, but also provides a degree of security as it is often impossible to tell where the camera is pointed
IR Day/Night Camera While obvious in appearance, these cameras have the advantage of providing 24-hour outdoor coverage regardless of lighting conditions. They provide a colour image in the daytime, shifting to black and white for infrared viewing at night

Which camera a given buyer wants to use depends on their goals and needs. Understanding those needs make choosing the right CCTV camera that much easier.

Choosing the Right CCTV Camera

When choosing the right camera for a given purchaser’s needs, there are several things the buyer should look for. The first is a lens that gives the user a clear image of the area covered by the camera from its mounting point. If the area under surveillance is not in focus, then there is no real point to monitoring it. The next feature is the sensor, whenever possible buyers should go for the 1/3 inch CCD sensor as this provides the most information for the DSP to process. The final feature of the camera itself is the output resolution. While many companies may put this feature first, its usefulness is limited by the components in front of it.

Once the hardware capabilities have been determined, the next step is to decide which type of camera best fits the user’s needs. Those covering large outdoor areas, such as homeowners wanting to cover their property, may want to consider a day/night camera. Bullet cameras work well for monitoring staff, while ceiling-mounted dome cameras are good for covering the entire premises of a shop or business.

Conclusion

There are a number of things to look for when buying CCTV cameras. Some are technical factors which apply to every situation regardless of the intended use: every camera can benefit from a better lens and high quality sensor. Other factors are more dependent on the intended use of the CCTV camera, as some types are more useful in some situations than others. A day/night camera is great for keeping an eye on visitors coming up the drive, but it may not be the best choice for monitoring staff or business premises.

Many businesses may be better served with either dome cameras covering the entire floor or small bullet cameras to monitor the staff. Regardless of the buyer’s needs, it pays to look for quality. Therefore, understand how CCTV cameras work and the importance of optical zoom as opposed to digital zoom makes it easier to recognise said quality. The most successful purchases are informed purchases, and knowing what to look for makes buying a CCTV camera much easier.

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.