If you’re putting together a business security system, the first thing you are going to need is a high-quality CCTV camera system. This is the basis of your commercial security system, which lets you keep an eye on everything that goes on in your business. So what do business owners and operators need to know about CCTV cameras before, during, and after installation? Keep reading to find out.
What Are CCTV Cameras?
Closed-circuit television cameras, or CCTV cameras, record video footage and send it to monitors and recorders via a closed circuit. Since CCTV cameras only transmit video over a single channel, the footage remains private to you and anyone in your business authorized to access it. CCTV cameras may also send footage to a smartphone app or a web browser, allowing you to view recorded footage on these devices and see live camera streams. There is a wide range of different CCTV camera types and configurations available on the market, depending on which purpose you are using them for.
Why Are CCTV Cameras Used?
CCTV cameras are generally used to strengthen security by monitoring an area. They may monitor indoor spaces or outdoor ones, such as parking lots, building perimeters, and outside building entrances. Using security cameras allows a business to remotely keep an eye on all facilities, deterring crime and capturing any crime that does occur. Once high-quality video footage is obtained, it is easy to identify perpetrators and pursue them or make sure they do not enter your business again.
Some common uses of CCTV cameras include:
- Monitoring businesses for crime
- Keeping track of projects
- Deterring criminals
- Collecting video evidence
- Making business-related decisions
- Keeping records of events
What Are the Different Kinds of CCTV Cameras?
CCTV cameras come in a variety of shapes, sizes, models, and configurations to provide the exact camera for your security needs. Different camera types are suitable for different spaces and purposes. Here are the most popular types of security cameras used in businesses.
- Bullet Cameras: Bullet cameras are cylinder-shaped cameras that mount on a wall or ceiling. These are versatile cameras that are good for monitoring over long distances, thanks to their long range and great zoom capabilities.
- Dome Cameras: Dome cameras are orb-shaped devices that are built for capturing complete views of wide areas. Dome cameras are durable and tend to be less noticeable than bullet cameras.
- Turret Cameras: Turret or “eyeball” cameras resemble dome cameras, but they have a ball-and-socket joint that allows them to precisely redirect their field of view from one fixed location. Turret cameras have their lens and IR LEDs in front of the glass on the housing, whereas in dome cameras, the lens and sensors are contained behind the glass.
- PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) Cameras: PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras offer the ability to remotely control cameras using a computer program or app. This makes PTZ cameras handy for tracking specific people or vehicles across an area. You can also program them to cycle through a 360-degree view of the entire area.
- Fisheye Cameras: Fisheye CCTV cameras provide a concentrated look at a wide angle by strategically warping the field of view. Fisheye cameras are great at capturing an overall picture of a large area.
Which Resolution Should I Get?
The more detail you want your security footage to have, the higher the resolution your CCTV cameras should be. It is important that your cameras capture enough detail that the faces of everyone in the area are clearly visible. If faces are blurry, it may be difficult to identify people in the video. Camera footage is broken into pixels, which are tiny dots on the screen that make up the image. A 1MP camera has 1 megapixel (1 million pixels), giving it a fairly high resolution.
In security cameras, anything over 1MP is generally considered high definition. Many businesses choose 2k CCTV cameras, which use 4MP sensors to provide a clear image at a reasonable cost. CCTV cameras are available in a wide range of resolutions: You can get an 4k 8MP camera for ultra clear footage, or even go as high as 32MP, though the need for resolutions this high in commercial settings is rare.
NVR vs DVR: What’s the Difference?
CCTV cameras send video footage to be stored in a recording device, which is either a network video recorder (NVR) or a digital video recorder (DVR). You can use these to access and view stored video. If your security cameras are Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, you will probably use an NVR connected via Ethernet or a network cable. DVRs are often used with HD over Coax cameras, which use a coaxial cable and are usually not as compatible with mobile viewing as IP systems.
NVR systems are a better choice for businesses in need of modern, flexible security systems. Since these connect to the same IP network, they can be installed and can communicate with each other pretty much anywhere in your building. Buildings with existing coaxial wiring and analog cameras should consider installing a DVR, whereas businesses building a security system from scratch should opt for NVRs. These offer compatibility with higher resolution cameras and are easier to link with your mobile device.
Wired or Wireless Cameras?
Wireless security cameras are a popular option among today’s businesses thanks to their convenience and ease of installation. Many high-quality wireless CCTV cameras are coming out, as companies use technological innovation to enhance security surveillance. Going wireless means you get rid of the need for traditional cabling, which could involve invasive and expensive trenching or drilling through walls.
What Are Some Extra Features CCTV Systems Can Have?
Today’s CCTV cameras have a lot of features you can choose from to enhance business security. Here are a few advanced features your can look for when choosing CCTV cameras.
Some of today’s cutting-edge CCTV camera systems use artificial intelligence to identify the faces of everyone who comes into the camera’s field of view. Cameras scan facial features, then compile a database of individuals and recognize them every time they enter your business. Facial recognition has wide-ranging uses for commercial security. For example, when flagged individuals enter the building, such as people who have committed a crime in your business in the past, an alarm will sound and you may receive instant alerts.
Other cameras do not tell the faces of different people apart, but they can distinguish between a person, an object, a vehicle, and other things in and around your business. This is useful in detecting suspicious activities, tracking events, and gaining more complete control over your business security system. Cameras with object recognition reduce false alarms by telling the difference between a threatening intruder and a tree branch swaying in the wind, for instance.
License plate reader (LPR) cameras can be used to scan and catalogue every license plate that enters the camera’s field of view. Some license plate readers simply use high resolutions and shutter speeds to capture clear images of license plates, while other cutting-edge cameras actually “read” the plate number and store it in a database of license plates. Vehicles with blacklisted plates may be automatically denied entry into the area, or your system may send security alerts to your devices or even to law enforcement.
Cloud-based CCTV systems have a range of advantages over traditional analog systems. Cloud cameras can pair with mobile apps to allow you to view live and recorded camera footage on your mobile device, no matter where you are. You can get programmable security alerts and notifications, so if someone breaks into your business you will know the instant it happens. Also, when you store video footage in the cloud, it eliminates the need for you to deal with a physical server, which may pose inconvenience and security risks. Cloud storage is an easy, accessible, and fully encrypted way to store your footage.
What Else Should I Consider When Buying CCTV Cameras?
- Power and Wi-Fi: First things first, you need to make sure you have the power source and internet connection necessary for your CCTV system. Many camera systems are wireless these days, but they still require a power source to plug into, as well as internet connectivity. Some facilities such as construction sites lack the proper infrastructure for these systems, in which case there are other options available, such as solar cameras.
- Night Vision: If your cameras record unlit areas overnight, they need to be properly equipped with night vision capabilities to ensure everything in the field of view is clearly visible. There is a range of CCTV night vision types on the market, including infrared and even thermal imaging. Even excessive lighting and glare can obscure camera images, so make sure your cameras are equipped for the unique lighting of the area.
- Data Security: CCTV systems may be targeted by hackers or even intruders who steal business footage by taking the physical servers. To combat this, security cameras should always be updated with the latest security protocols, and any physical servers should be guarded with high-quality access control. Opting for cloud-based CCTV cameras lets you store footage in the cloud, meaning it is protected with full encryption.
- Outdoor or Indoor Cameras: If your security cameras are outdoors, especially in areas vulnerable to rough wind and rain, dust, or debris, you will want to invest in outdoor security cameras that are built to withstand these conditions. Many indoor cameras will not be properly equipped for sustained outdoor use, while many outdoor cameras are too large, bulky, and impractical to place indoors.
Can You View CCTV Footage From A Mobile Device?
Thanks to recent advances in security technology, more and more businesses are switching to IP camera systems that let you view security camera footage from a mobile app or web browser. Many of these cameras can connect to your already-existing internet connection, meaning they don’t need to be wired to a computer or server. Cloud-based CCTV camera systems often pair with mobile apps, letting you check video footage on your phone anytime, anywhere.
It is easier to set up mobile viewing if you have IP cameras with an NVR. However, there are some options for businesses that already have a DVR system and want to set up mobile viewing. For example, you can use “plug-and-play” capabilities to remotely view footage by logging into a server provided by a camera manufacturer. However, with the range of high quality cloud-compatible security camera systems on the market, it is becoming increasingly common for businesses to switch over entirely to IP surveillance.
How Can I Protect My CCTV Cameras?
You want to keep your company information out of the hands of hackers. That’s why it’s important to regularly update your security system, and make sure to change the password periodically. Leaving your system with the same password for too long, or choosing a password that is too easy to guess, exposes your system to hackers. If your CCTV system comes with a default password set by the manufacturer, you should reset that as well. Buying encrypted cameras is a good choice, as these cameras protect any signals sent over multiple channels with secure encryption that protects against hackers.
Hardware and Wiring
There are several things you can do to keep your CCTV camera hardware and wires in good shape. You should ensure any outdoor cameras are protected from the weather, which means either placing them in a sheltered area or making sure they are weatherproofed enough to handle the exposure. It also helps to keep cameras out of reach of any potential intruders or vandals who may try to tamper with them. Some intruders even try to cut security camera wires, which means it is crucial to make sure all wires are out of reach and covered up. Professional CCTV system installers know how to choose the right conduits for protecting your security camera wires, as well as where you can put cameras to prevent damage to the system.
Need more info about CCTV camera systems, or want professional CCTV installation services? Get in touch with our experts at Safe and Sound Security today.