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9 Crucial Factors to consider before buying and installing your First Video Surveillance System

by | Jul 2, 2018

Securing a business with a video surveillance security system has always been an issue which needed a guide and the right decision as a wrongly made one could be catastrophic or cost an irreparable damage.

Apart from using CCTV for crime deterrent, video surveillance security system will also bring about productivity as it will make staff to be dedicated to their obligations having in mind that they are being watched.

Video surveillance security for business is a long term investment which you need to really invest in but clients are mostly faced with challenges of making decisions as a result of comparison of technology and their prices.

Nobody plans to leave any stone unturned to make sure a business is safe and secured as best as possible.

In this article, I will try as much as I can to explain you the crucial factors to consider before buying and installing your first video surveillance system.

1) What technology should you go for between Analog HD and IP?

This is the first stage that get most clients confused with. Which technology should they choose? The ability to choose the best technology, it will be very improper to ignore the fact that finance won’t play a major role in the decision making process but like I said earlier that securing a business with a video surveillance security system is long term investment which needs to be invested in.

It is better to choose a system that will stand the test of time whilst choosing a system that is highly flexible for integration in the future, considering a cheaper equipment in this scenario is not an option because it will not meet up the requirement.

  • Analog HD CCTV:

Analog HD is a bloodline of analog CCTV which has been around for many decades. It is also known for its good image resolution, affordability, easy installation and ready to integrate with an already existing analog installation. However, it can’t be integrated with IP CCTV because of their different connexion components.

Analog HD cameras cannot work as standalone equipment because it only has one way communication over a coaxial cable and the video will have to be processed by the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to have a digital video.

 

  • IP CCTV:

Internet Protocol (IP) which can also be termed “network” is more computer related. Unlike analog HD, this system behaves more like a computer which makes integration much easier and a bit fun. With this type of system, you can really push technology to the edge.

IP cameras can function as a standalone equipment without the need of a network video recorder (NVR) because it has its own web server to process the video stream. This system is an ideal solution to secure your business as it is generally loaded out of the box with a lot of functionalities.

IP camera can be classified into 2 categories:

  • PoE Camera: This type of camera will use the same network cable for its data and power. You don’t need to run additional power supply cables for the camera because a PoE switch is provided and will let you power and connect your camera at the same time.

 

  • Non-PoE Camera: This type of camera does not support PoE but requires a standard 12V direct current. A non-PoE camera is not recommended for a business because it is sometimes considered to be low quality.

 

Recommendation:

IP technology is the ideal solution to secure businesses due to all thefeatures it has and it gives room for integration for the future. The only crucial factor YOU MUST CONSIDER IS  that it must be Onvif compatible.

 

Why does it have to be ONVIF?

ONVIF is a global and open industry forum with the goal of facilitating the development and use of a global open standard for the interface of physical IP-based security products – or, in other words, to create a standard for how IP products within video surveillance and other physical security areas can communicate with each other.

Onvif mission:

  • Interoperability – to make sure products from various manufacturers can be used in the same systems and “speak the same language”.
  • Flexibility – to make sure end-users and integrators are not locked within proprietary solutions based on technology choices of individual manufacturers.
  • Future-proof – to ensure that there are interoperable products on the market, no matter what happens to individual companies.
  • Quality – to make sure when a product conforms to a standard, the market knows what to expect from that product.

2) What type of cameras should you pick?

Selecting the best type of cameras is also an important process, you would also like to consider the best solution there is for your situation.

  • Outdoor Cameras: Outdoor cameras are the first point of contact, these cameras must be protected from danger of being vandalised.

Although many outdoor cameras were susceptible to vandalism because their installation height were too low, making them accessible by badly intentioned guys. The correct height as to be determined in order that we can still have a clear facial image and at the same time produce the best detection result.

Even according to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police who also said “We’ve got a strategy to encourage people, with their cameras, is to move them down to eye level.”

 

Recommendation:

  • Vandal-Proof outdoor camera

When making decision on outdoor cameras, another factor to consider is the selection of a camera that will be very highly resistant to high impact which make us to recommend a vandal proof camera with IK10 rating. This will eliminate the risk of being vandalised by criminals.

You can also decide to select your CCTV camera with audio if your requirement will involve recording audio in the environment.
Another important factor to consider is the fact that criminals are now making themselves incognito to the infrared security cameras by using exploit to evading it. They simply wear a high wavelength infrared LED to create a glare to obscure their face from being captured by the camera
  • Thermal CCTV camera
There is no CCTV camera that can fight against aforementioned bizarre tricks since CCTV cameras only work on a visible light spectrum. The only camera that is not being affected is Thermal CCTV camera.

Thermal camera works based on the heat that always radiates from any objects, vehicles or people. Unlike a conventional camera that works on a visible light spectrum, thermal cameras can handle many difficult weather conditions (e.g. allowing operators to see through smoke, haze and dust.)

If keeping close watch on potential hotspot is your main concern, then use Thermal CCTV camera to create layers of protection on outer boundary because they are excellent for detecting people, objects, and incidents from pitch dark to sunlit from a longer distance in a challenging and tough conditions.

Thermal cameras do not deliver images that allow reliable identification – that is why thermal cameras and conventional cameras complement and support each other in a video surveillance installation.

  • Indoor Cameras: These cameras are less prone to danger and attacks because they are sitting in the interior of the building but to further deter crime from being committed by staffs, there is a necessity to have an indoor cameras installed.

Bonus:

Some staffs are just not dedicated to their jobs which can cause the company to suffer less productivity. By installing a CCTV camera in each office or every department, the fear of being watch by the boss or HR will make them to be committed to their respective jobs which in turn will boost productivity.

We recommend the vandal-proof camera simply because with this camera, the lens will not be tampered by desperate employees and also withstand high impact from external force or attack.

You can also decide to select your CCTV camera with audio if your requirement will involve recording audio in the environment.

Of course, watching your employees with a CCTV system isn’t something I would personally recommend because I don’t think it is the solution. If you have issues regarding the productivity of your staff and team you should try to implement a better management process that will better motivate your employees.

3) What resolution should you choose?

This is one of the toughest questions being ask every day by customers. Resolution is very important when it comes to a video surveillance, this is what the law enforcement will also work with in the case of investigating a crime.

And according to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, “Over the last year as facial recognition software has got better we can apply the software to the images of burglaries or robberies and we can compare those images with the images we take when we arrest people.”

If you do not have a good resolution camera, it will be impossible for you to have a crystal clear image and video. It also makes it difficult for you to have an identifiable image.

We therefore recommend at least 720p High Definition camera.

4) What frame per second/frame rate performs better?

Another crucial factor to consider is FPS, many users do not really know the meaning of this feature.

Whilst some users get totally confused with FPS, I will try to make it simple for everyone to understand. This is just telling you how many frames the surveillance camera captures every single second. The higher the frame is, the more fluid the video stream looks like. Slow motion capabilities will also directly depends on how many frames your camera is able to record every second. Check this video have a better understanding:

For instance, you have a CCTV camera that is capable of recording at 25fps but you select 7.5fps on your DVR or NVR, whenever you playback that footage, it will never be like when you were watching it in the realtime which means it will lag. The result of the lagging is the low frame per second being chosen to record with.

But if you choose between 15fps to 25fps, you will enjoy a smoother footage.

Sometimes, getting a good high resolution camera does not guarantee you with a good video stream, especially if you do not pay attention to your FPS settings.

If you plan to use 4 or more 1080p cameras then you need to reduce the fps so that you don’t overload and crash the bandwidth. Unless you are planning to put them on motion detection because 1080p cameras are Full High Definition (FHD) that pull a lots of bandwidth; you will quickly run out of storage space.

Recording with high fps for a long time coupled with high definition cameras take a huge storage space. 15fps is an ideal value to start with.

5) What type of Network Video Recorder should you buy?

Firstly, make sure it is Onvif compatible

Selecting a Network Video Recorder is part of the investment you have to go through. NVR has a lot of functions and security features which make integration easier and funnier. Unlike a Digital Video Recorder which does not support any integrations and only has basic functions. There are two types of NVR on the market:

  1. PoE NVR
  2. Non-PoE NVR

Recommendation:

Buying any one of the two is good but it will be better to buy PoE NVR as it is ready to power the PoE camera

One crucial factor to consider is that, if you are planning to have 8 channel, your NVR should be able to have at least 2 storage hard disk bay, 16 channels should have at least 4 storage hard disk bay.

Make sure your NVR has an eSATA port; this will allow you to have additional external storage box attached to your NVR which therefore expands your storage and let you have a longer recording period.

6) What type of storage hard disk should you buy?

When selecting hard disk, you need to know that desktop hard disk are different from disks build for security camera systems. Desktop hard disks are prone to failure. I have received many complaints from CCTV users who got their home security system crashing. It stopped recording and they were not able to format it correctly to make it work.

Desktop hard disk are not designed for low power profile as for surveillance hard disk. You cannot keep desktop hard disks spinning all day long, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They are not build for that and that is why they do not last.

Surveillance hard disks are designed for high-write workloads, reliability and low-power profile consumption.

7) What compatible PoE switch do you need to use?

There won’t be any need for PoE switch if you already purchased PoE NVR but if not you will need to buy a separate PoE switch that will power all your PoE cameras. There are two versions of PoE standard IEEE802.3af and IEEE802.3at, you need to check your PoE cameras to know which of the two they will require.

8) What compression technology is ideal?

There are three major compression technology used in CCTV: H.264, MJPEG and MPEG4. They are all good compression to use but the standard, newest and the most popular video compression codec is H.264. This is what most CCTV manufacturers use.

9) Do you need to use cloud service?

CCTV surveillance on the cloud is ideal for business especially when it comes to long retention period and it also gives you the opportunity to access the footage from a remote location.

Cloud service is also ideal for businesses that has CCTV surveillance installed in multiple locations or if you have sensitive footages like importance evidence you want to have as a backup on cloud.

Final Thought

Now that the decision process to install CCTV surveillance for your business has been simplified, you should feel more confident the next time you go to your local store.

Remember that securing a business with a surveillance system requires efforts and personal researches in order to find the good solution. It is also important to consider the fact that a security system will need to last in time as much as possible. This is why you should prioritise quality over affordability.