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Security Cameras - Why and How?

So, “ cameras or no security cameras?” When that’s the first question, there are a few questions that follow depending on your answer.

If the answer is no, then the questions might be:

  • Do I know what’s taking place around my facility when I’m not there to see it?

  • Is there a need for recording of events (or persons) for review later?

  • What is the potential cost related to these?

If your answer to these indicates that you’re just as well not knowing; or having the ability to prove details of things you were unable to see first-hand then you may not want, or need security cameras. However; if you find that you would benefit significantly from having knowledge of, or proof of events, or persons entering your facility, then it may be best to look into the best way to provide for it.

About security camera systems

Security cameras are simply designed to record pictures at a fast rate to form video. With this in mind; it’s important that the pictures are consistently of a quality that, when the time comes to use them; they are in fact, useful in providing information to help resolve concerns and problems. Good quality video is also essential to allowing for technologies such as analytics.

With analytics, the use of security cameras allows video to be captured based on many parameters including text (a sign on a truck for instance), clothing or vehicle color, vehicle type, the presence of faces, the lack of presence of video (or video tampering), among many other things. Video recording can also exclude sensitive areas within the view of the camera, or include things such as virtual “trip wires” to alert or alarm when something or someone goes past the protected area.

Having the ability to efficiently review “usable” video and determine what happened is crucial to a successful effort in providing ongoing security for your business.

Picture quality

Quality of pictures captured by security cameras varies vastly based on the vintage, type, technology or medium, and build quality of the cameras taking them, as well as integration with backup equipment.

It would frustrating to have the expense of installing a system that; when the time comes to capture critical information, doesn’t provide acceptable images to review or render the details you’re interested in seeing. A blurry, low resolution image in black and white may, or may not ever help catch a perpetrator or show your insurance company an event in order to properly file a claim.

“A picture may be worth a thousand words, but those words should come in the form of definitive statements, not questions”.

“Picture quality” with regard to security cameras is dependent on these, among other factors:

Camera placement

  • Undesirable: You capture images of the perpetrator that offer no identifiable information (low forensic quality).

  • Acceptable: You capture the perpetrator arriving, cutting his way into your store, pictures of him taking merchandise, and leaving. Best case scenario, you also capture his tag number as he leaves.

Lens facing

  • Undesirable: A camera lens is facing a brightly-lit LED sign across the street. Any movement in your area is shadowy and undiscernible.

  • Acceptable: Your cameras are facing so that adjacent lighting is diminished and there is clear focus of what is happening in your area, or your system adequately rejects light from the brightly lit sign.

Viewing angle

  • Undesirable: You capture your loading dock, but cannot capture a view of the stairs leading to, and from it.

  • Acceptable: You capture the entire loading area, viewing those who enter and exit from the sides.

Area lighting (relative to the camera’s ability to capture light)

  • Undesirable: Your camera system is unable to render facial details in low light, away from well-lit areas. Subsequently, you know “someone” was there and did “something”, but who and what remain a mystery.

  • Acceptable: You’re pleased to have had a system installed that identifies what was damaged, stolen, and can see that is was by someone who is, at least somewhat recognizable by the captured pictures.

The camera’s ability to reject glare

  • Undesirable: Your new cameras captured the perpetrator, the break-in, but upon his departure failed to read his vehicle tag due to glare from the tag.

  • Acceptable: You have it all! Images of the fellow who broke in, the items he what he made off with, and his tag number! You’re ready to help prevent him from violating your space again. The video also helps you recoup your losses.

The number of cameras required to adequately cover an area

  • Undesirable: You only installed cameras over the front and back doors (building exterior). Someone breaks in. You have views of them entering and leaving, but no proof of what they did while they were there. Or you only installed cameras on the inside of the building (building interior) and have views of what they did while they were inside, but being from out of state and not local folks, they left and were never seen again...and all you have proof of is that “they left in a car” after taking “some things”.

  • Acceptable: You install cameras inside and outside of the facility. This allows any actions taken by perpetrators to be captured for later review. Costs a bit more, but you’ll likely be satisfied with the results.

The frame rate of the camera

  • Undesirable: You only installed enough backup server capacity to record at 15FPS for the number of cameras installed. This makes for “choppy” video in which you may not see the perpetrator actually open a display case; but instead, see them walk up to it, then catch them walking away from it. This doesn’t prove they took anything from the display case.

  • Acceptable: Install enough backup server capacity, with the ability to capture at least 30FPS, so you will be more likely to capture what they do in detail.

Camera resolution

  • Undesirable: The new cameras you bought will record at a very good resolution, at which you will likely be able to “zoom in” and see the weapon used during the break-in. But; unfortunately, the backup server you added the new cameras to is older, and unable to utilize the new high-resolution pictures the cameras take. Zooming in only makes for a pixelated view of “something” in the perpetrator’s hand. Maybe his cell phone...who can be sure?

  • Acceptable: You installed cameras with good resolution and a server which will store the camera’s pictures “1080P or higher”. You can more easily see that there was a gun used in the commitment of the break in.

Other factors, both environmental and inherent to the camera design/build:

While there are many, a few factors that impede the success of your attempts at keeping your area safe are:

  • Camera infestations (Insects and wildlife damage)

  • Unreliability (poorly built or installed cameras)

  • Loss of power (without backup power)

  • Electrical interference (WiFi interference due to electrical or physical barriers)

  • The effects of weather on cameras, such as humidity or rapid humidity changes, cold weather, and heat, or power surges due to cameras, power supplies, or network equipment which is improperly protected.

  • Other hazards

Does picture quality matter enough to pay more for better quality?

While a value-conscious buy may look to the best price for a “security camera kit” for their facility, or buy online at the best comparable price for a given piece of equipment, it’s very important to be well-versed in the specifications for cameras, servers, cabling, WiFi, and proper installation of the equipment. There is an active market for both “consumer” grade systems for the home and “commercial” systems for business. The lines between the two are sometimes blurred when “consumer” or “residential” grade sellers; in an attempt to sell products, reach those with “commercial” needs.

How to be assured you’re getting a system that does what it should:

Licensed commercial seller/installers have years of experience in system design and product knowledge. They will also have been witness to the many product and technology iterations that have taken place over those years and be up to date with the latest changes.

Benefits of licensed professional:

Professional installation

  • Knows about WiFi interference, server capture conversion and capacity, cabling, network components, and network configuration, etc.

Knowledge of systems

  • Engages in ongoing education about security systems and their proper design/application

Long-term planning for growing business

  • Knowing what’s happened and what’s next, they can save you money and keep you current

Equipment support

  • When you buy online, you “may” have the option of returning it for credit/replacement...or not

Software support

  • Software tech and security updates are often a part of your purchase from a Licensed Professional

Installation support

  • Things change in a facility. Sometimes you change them, or things may change without your knowing they have...until they affect your security system, but if the installation was professionally installed, then it’s very likely any problems will be addressed. Licensed Professionals have probably seen most any problem you will encounter, and will be able to address it much more quickly.

The Good News...we at 1PointUSA; “Licensed Professionals like those referenced above”, have sold, installed, and are currently maintaining commercial security video systems in both large and small business facilities. We will be pleased to discuss your need for security video for your business at no charge.

Just contact us, and we’ll begin working for you.

Be Secure...

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