CCTV systems are everywhere in commercial security — you’ve probably seen “CCTV Surveillance in Use” signs everywhere, from your bank to the local coffee shop. But what does CCTV mean, and how does it work?
CCTV cameras are a staple in crime prevention because they help ward off criminals, monitor building premises, and record valuable footage of events. Whether you’re looking to reduce theft and loitering in your business or provide a haven for your residents, it is essential to know the basics of video surveillance CCTV systems.
What Is CCTV?
CCTV cameras are used for security monitoring and surveillance in any facility. CCTV stands for Closed-Circuit Television because security camera systems transmit video footage over a single channel, creating a closed circuit. This means CCTV footage is displayed on limited personal monitors and screens, not publicly broadcasted.
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How Does CCTV Work?
CCTV systems use security cameras to capture video footage of a facility in a continuous recording. The explicit footage is sent to a recording device (a DVR or NVR) and stored for future reference.
It is then sent from the security cameras to a dedicated monitor or even a smartphone or computer, which displays the clear footage in real time.
CCTV security systems are connected with a coaxial cable, network cable, or wireless signal, depending on the system type.
CCTV security cameras are typically placed at business entrances around the perimeter and strategically inside the building. They guard merchandise, data, and the safety of employees and visitors by monitoring and recording everyone who comes near.
CCTV surveillance cameras work to prevent crime around the clock, letting property managers and security staff instantly see and respond to security breaches in all areas of a property. Anyone who commits a crime on the property is taped, providing easy identification and legal evidence.
What Are the Benefits of CCTV Surveillance?
CCTV installation has been shown to effectively deter criminals from targeting your facility and the area around it.
Many burglars know to look around for security cameras to see if they are being monitored — and seeing a high-quality surveillance system in place will convince many criminals to move on. Nobody wants to risk being caught committing a crime on video.
CCTV systems make it easy for property owners and managers to identify anyone who has committed a crime in their facility. Security cameras also help catch and prevent employee theft, especially in retail and industrial settings.
In extensive facilities such as warehouses, security cameras let staff view operations in multiple places simultaneously, enforcing safety protocols and keeping track of progress.
Security cameras capture time-stamped evidence of everything in and around a facility, including accidents, mistakes, and injuries. This helps reduce liability for businesses and settle any disputes that might arise.
Property managers gain insight and control over their facility and business operations with wireless cameras and video surveillance systems.
IP vs Analog CCTV Cameras
Analog CCTV Systems
Analog systems are the more traditional form of CCTV. These use coaxial cables to connect the camera and surveillance monitor or recording system. These systems have a more complex installation process since they require more cabling than IP systems.
IP systems, otherwise known as network cameras, are technically not “CCTV” in the same way as hardwired analog systems — but for convenience, they are often referred to as CCTV systems.
IP-based systems run on digital IP and local area networks — they can run on a company’s existing network or be set up independently if data and bandwidth speeds are a concern. Unlike analog systems, IP security cameras, such as a Cat5E, generally use ethernet cables.
Is an Analog or IP System Better?
Analog CCTV security cameras offer high reliability thanks to their coax cables. Still, they generally shoot in much lower resolutions than their digital counterparts (though HD-over-Coax is possible).
IP security cameras are capable of much higher resolution — up to 4k in many cases — and thus provide better image quality. Analog security systems are usually compatible with many more features than analog-based systems, such as video verification, video analytics, and advanced processing for performance in low-light recording situations.
IP systems feature easier CCTV camera installation and less cabling than analog systems. IP cameras can also be scaled almost infinitely, allowing for far more flexibility and more powerful systems than analog cameras have traditionally allowed.
For instance, while the network may be closed, many even allow remote monitoring with a smartphone app.
Though analog systems lack digital systems’ diverse features and performance capabilities, they offer simplicity and a lower price tag, making them a better choice for some businesses.
However, as most businesses and manufacturers transition to digital systems, IP-based systems, and IP security, cameras are quickly becoming the more dominant form of surveillance.
CCTV Camera Types
Bullet security cameras offer a sleek design and a flexible range of areas where they can be placed, including on walls. The shape of a bullet camera allows it to accommodate a large lens, giving it a more extended range than many other cameras.
Also, an IP security camera makes it ideal for monitoring over long distances. Bullet cameras’ good recording quality, motorized zoom capabilities, motion detection, and infrared make them ideal for outdoor use and use in manufacturing, property management, and farming industries.
Dome security cameras are generally used indoors and mounted on ceilings. This allows them to survey large areas at a wide angle. Dome CCTV cameras are great for retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, and casinos, as they can thoroughly monitor a large room.
IP security is also well-suited to environments that get dirty quickly, such as kitchens and warehouses. Dome cameras offer smaller, more discreet hardware than other camera types.
PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) security cameras are shaped like dome cameras, allowing users to move the camera remotely using an app, joystick, or computer program. This is ideal for panning certain areas and focusing when the camera detects movement.
With the ability to move and “look” around a room, PTZ cameras provide 360-degree coverage and can do the job of several static security cameras. PTZ cameras protect valuable objects, such as in retail settings.
Box cameras are bulkier than other security cameras, which can deter crime by showing people they are being recorded. Box cameras are a modular option that lets users configure the security system for various uses. This allows box cameras to be equipped explicitly for outdoor use in rough weather.
Thermal imaging cameras use heat mapping technology to detect people and objects. These are ideal for obtaining accurate security footage in environments with challenging lighting.
Thermal CCTV cameras can also detect heat loss, gas leaks, and other repair issues in a facility. Thermal cameras are ideal for industrial buildings, defense, traffic monitoring, research and development facilities, and more.
License Plate Reader Cameras
License Plate Reader (LPR) cameras have high-resolution sensors that allow them to capture license plate numbers day and night accurately.
Most security cameras cannot consistently capture license plates in every weather and lighting condition, let alone when vehicles move. LPRs are great for tolling, hotel overstay management, parking lots, and track who enters and exits any facility or community.
CCTV System Storage
CCTV video storage can happen in a few different ways. Depending on the number of cameras, there is a wide range of options for CCTV system storage. Footage may be stored in a DVR or an NVR, or it can be stored in the cloud.
NVR vs DVR
An onsite recording device stores footage captured by the best security cameras in a CCTV security camera system. This is a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) in analog CCTV systems — IP systems use an NVR (Network Video Recorder).
In analog security systems, a DVR recorder converts all video footage to digital format, compresses the file, and stores it on a CCTV hard drive. The DVR can be hooked to a monitor to show video footage or connect to a router and wi-fi modem to broadcast the footage using an internal network.
NVR CCTV security systems connect to IP cameras and use a software program to automatically record video in a digital format. This allows NVRs to transmit data over a computer network instantly.
When using a home security camera, NVRs are recommended to view security footage remotely in real-time on a smartphone or web browser. NVRs are typically newer and more advanced systems that offer higher video quality and more flexible features.
To learn more about NVR vs DVR, click here.
Modern CCTV cameras allow users to store security footage in the cloud, allowing property owners and managers to access live and recorded footage from a mobile device or web browser.
It is an excellent alternative to memory cards because it offers better storage of large video files and more convenience in today’s internet-based world.
CCTV cloud storage allows users to get instant security alerts, making it easy to view and respond to security footage in real-time, even when users are offsite. Many cloud-based CCTV and IP camera systems offer a limited amount of free cloud storage and monthly, annual, or lifetime subscriptions.
CCTV Security System Cost
CCTV monitoring typically costs around $150 per camera per month — about $1,800 annually. The best security system may cost more than others, depending on several factors:
NDAA-compliant security systems with more wires are more expensive to install since they can require expensive trenching, running cables through walls, and post-installation repairs.
Higher-resolution CCTV systems, motion detection, number of cameras, night vision, license plate readers, and cameras with great features (can capture details) typically cost $50 to $300 more. Cloud-based systems that are NDAA compliant also come with cloud storage fees.
Home security cameras need to make an informed decision about their security investment, especially the number of cameras and the specs (night vision, motion detection) they will install.
Are Security Cameras or Guards More Cost-Effective?
Surveillance cameras work best in combination with guards. Still, if there is a choice between the two, surveillance cameras are more cost-effective, especially if you install several cameras (more cameras are better) with motion detection and night vision.
In 2019, the median annual cost of hiring just one security guard was $29,680. At $1,800 a year, a system costs 94% less than hiring a security guard and provides 24/7 surveillance.
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Security Camera Systems Integration
CCTV security recording systems are commonly integrated with new and existing security, including access control and alarm systems. When paired with remote door release technology, security cameras let you see who is at the door before deciding whether to let them in, which can be done with a button.
With intercom and camera technology, security staff can easily talk to intruders, visitors, or employees, enabling convenient facility-wide communication, even at a wide range.
CCTV systems can easily integrate with alarms so security staff can view and respond to intrusions, clearly recording all security events to keep business owners and staff in the know.
Using the best security camera gives you comprehensive security, protecting your facility, merchandise, and data from all angles while avoiding false alarms.
With the wide variety of CCTV cameras on the market and new technological advances, there is a lot to learn about CCTV security cameras. For more information or a free quote, contact Safe and Sound today.
Security Camera System Legalities
CCTV surveillance raises essential legal and ethical considerations. Privacy concerns are paramount, as constant monitoring infringes on personal privacy. Data protection laws vary by region but generally require strict adherence to safeguard individuals’ data.
Striking the right balance between security and privacy is a complex challenge. While surveillance can enhance safety, it must be conducted within the bounds of the law and respect individual rights. A comprehensive understanding of these legal and ethical implications is crucial when implementing CCTV security camera systems to preserve security and privacy.
Do CCTV security camera systems record audio as well as video?
Some CCTV security cameras have built-in microphones for audio recording, while others are video-only. The capability to record audio depends on the camera model and setup.
Are there legal considerations when installing CCTV systems?
Yes, there are legal considerations regarding privacy and surveillance laws that vary by location. It’s essential to comply with local laws and regulations when installing CCTV systems, especially in public or shared spaces.
Can CCTV systems be integrated with other security systems?
Yes, CCTV systems can be integrated with alarm systems, access control systems, and other security technologies to create a comprehensive security solution.