Security is important. That’s why we know there are multiple considerations when deciding what system to install and where to place it.
1. Where you want/need the cameras
Before investing in any security system, you have to take into account the best places to install security cameras for your building, location, or property—i.e. where you need the surveillance. Each business security camera system installation is slightly different depending on the location. Is it on a remote highway or oil rig? Or is it in a retail parking lot? Either way you must consider the environment of the location. This includes the actual weather as well as things like how many people are on the site, hours of operation, and more.
Next, you have to consider the vantage point and angles necessary to observe the desired area. Can you get the proper angle on what you want to observe, or do you need to alter where things are placed on the property? Will any trees, poles, or equipment block any camera views?
2. What needs to be observed
Next, you want to make sure that you outline your priorities on what you want to be observed and assess the threats to your property. This means you decide what needs surveillance before the cameras go up to make sure that they have adequate coverage. The cameras will not and cannot cover everything. For example, if you want to have 24/7 surveillance on big construction equipment and plan cameras around that. However, when the shed that houses small hand tools is broken into and you have no evidence of the theft, you can’t blame that on the security system. That is a direct result of a failure to recognize threats and planning accordingly.
This is why it is important to recognize what on your property needs to be seen before the surveillance camera installation is complete.
3. The cameras
After deciding where you need the cameras and what you need surveillance on, the next step is to delve into the cameras themselves. This includes the type of camera—pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ), bi-spectrum, thermal, fisheye, panoramic, etc.—as well as the number of cameras.
Today, surveillance cameras are moving towards internet protocol (IP) cameras, and away from analog closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Unlike the CCTV cameras which only sends their signal to a particular place/local recording device, IP cameras need a local area network (LAN) to send video to a network video recorder. IP cameras give you the flexibility of digital, networked cameras that work in real-time.
IP cameras also have the advantage of better image quality. You can get high resolution cameras that produce HDTV (720p/1080p) and up to five megapixels (2560 x 1920). Besides increasing quality, this also increases the area that you can observe with a single camera.
When choosing a surveillance camera system, it’s important to consider how they connect. Do they need power lines or ethernet connections? Or do the cameras connect wirelessly and run on batteries? Are they easy to install security cameras or do they require a complex install process before they are live? These are important questions because you have to know if you need to run power, internet connections, and more that will require heavy construction. Furthermore, you also need to be aware of how the cameras are powered because you don’t want them to die.
Another question to ask in regard to connectivity is how the data is transferred from the camera, how it is stored, and how it is accessed. Traditionally CCTV cameras connect to a single source, typically the backroom security office. In order to view footage, you had to be physically present. As stated above, IP cameras do not send data to that single backroom. Rather, they can be connected to the cloud so you can access video anywhere in the world.
5. Ease of installation
Next, you want to know how involved the installation will be—will they be easy to install surveillance cameras or will they require extensive construction and weeks to properly install? It is a system you can install yourself or does it take a professional crew? Installing a surveillance system requires multiple considerations including what wires and power sources are necessary, how the system connects and transfers data, and what are the mounting requirements.
Obviously, surveillance systems need power but how they get it is important to understand before you select a system. Traditionally, the system is plugged in to the building’s power. However, as wireless cameras become more popular, more systems are using batteries or other sources like solar or generators to power it.
Furthermore, you need to know the mounting specifications. Some systems have simple mounting structures that can be installed with minimal tools while other require poles, brackets, and more before the cameras themselves can be mounted.
6. Data storage
Surveillance cameras produce a lot of data—especially when they are recording 24/7. Video files are large, but they must be stored somewhere. Older cameras either stored footage on the actual camera, or more commonly transferred it to an on-site hard drive. However, with the advent of Wi-Fi and wireless cameras, video can be uploaded and stored on the cloud.
Systems that connect to the cloud have multiple advantages over those that rely on traditional hardwiring to on-site storage. First, this allows for easy access to your recordings. Instead of going to the location, you only need a browser. Second, there are providers who handle, maintain, and secure the cloud so you don’t have to. This means you don’t have to deal with software updates, maintenance, security, or setup of your own personal cloud. That is expensive and very labor intensive. Last, the cloud offers more storage than previous hard drive options. This also allows for higher quality video.
7. Camera visibility
After deciding what cameras you want, where you want them, how many you want, what type of mounting structure is necessary, and the myriad of other decisions that goes into picking a surveillance system, you need to decide how visible you want your cameras. The natural response is to hide your cameras, to tuck them away in some isolated corner of your building or parking lot. However, people behave differently when they know they are under observation, so consider placing your cameras where they are easily seen. This will heighten people’s awareness and, often, will produces a better vantage point of your property.
8. Active deterrence
Camera visibility isn’t the only way to actively deter wrongdoing on your property. Some security systems come with more options to draw attention the surveillance system. This can include two-way speakers, flashing or motion triggered lights, live alerts, and more. As you pick a system, you need to decide how much you want to rely on active, overt security.
There is a huge difference between reactive and proactive security. In passive, or reactive, security everything is done in retrospect, after the crime or incident happens. This includes looking up and compiling the footage, sharing it with the correct authorities, and repairing whatever damage was done during the incident. Proactive security, along with its active deterrents, allows you to mitigate damage by preparing for an incident and giving you the opportunity to act during one. It still has the advantage of recording 24/7 like reactive security, but it has the added bonus of giving you an opportunity to discourage criminals with active deterrents.
Surveillance systems record 24/7, and while most of that will show nothing happening, there is still a need for some human reviewal of the footage. Now you have to decide who has access to the footage and who monitors it. This can include a third-party monitoring service, your in-house security team, or even just you and your managers.
Depending on the size of your company you may want multiple teams/people to have access to the feeds. This is easier today than ever because cloud based systems do not require people to be in the same room where the footage is stored.
Now for the scary part—price. Pricing is that nasty swear word that almost every business decision is based on. However, it was purposefully left until the last. If you know your priorities, have carefully considered what you want in a surveillance system, and know what will meet your company’s needs, the pricing should already be clear to you. That’s not to say that pricing isn’t important because it is. It should be a consideration. However, don’t let it be the only point your consider as you research a surveillance system.
Obviously, you don’t want to be taken advantage of by a security company that charges exorbitant prices. Instead, do your research. Look up and compare differences so you know what a fair price is and what your expected benefit will be. Most importantly—know your own needs. A security company can and will offer suggestions, but you need to understand your needs so you can work with the security company to meet them.
LiveView Technologies (LVT)
Obviously, this is a security company blog and so we’re going to discuss our product offering. However, our highest priority is customer satisfaction, so we want you to be sure about your choice in surveillance.
LVT offers a completely mobile, cutting-edge surveillance system. We combine proprietary software with our overt hardware. Our units are easy to set up in 30 minutes or less and can be easily moved for a better view or to an entirely different location. Our flagship product is a solar powered trailer topped with what we call a D3 (detect, deter, defend) head unit. Each trailer is equipped with cameras, a two-way speaker, flashing strobe lights, as well as a flood light that act as active deterrents. However, what truly makes our units special is the software that powers them.
The software, or LVT Platform, is a highly organized, cloud-based solution. It ensures secure livestreaming and automatically archives videos without the need for costly IT infrastructure. This is where you will go to view your live feeds and archived footage, manipulate the cameras, manage the unit’s settings, and view the health of the unit. However, the best part of the LVT Platform is that it is smart. It is programmed to help identify threats and alert you when it requires your attention. Most security footage does not require human eyes simply because it shows that nothing is happening. That’s why we designed the LVT Platform to alert you when something is actually happening.
Experience LVT for yourself by scheduling a free demo today.