Choosing the Right Commercial CCTV Camera System
A guide to help you choose the right system for your business.
Here we examine the most important things to consider when considering a commercial CCTV camera system for your business.
10 November 2020
Choosing a commercial CCTV camera system can be difficult. With so many cameras, suppliers and specifications to choose from it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
This blog article looks at the most important things to consider when securing your business with a CCTV camera system. By the end of this guide, you will be able to make the right decision for your business.
What Problems Are You Trying to Solve?
The answer to this question might seem simple at first, but there are a few business challenges that can be addressed with a CCTV camera system. Identifying the problems you need to solve will help you choose the right system.
Let’s look at some common reasons a business might choose a commercial CCTV system. See if any match your own situation:
Theft and Vandalism
Theft and vandalism are an unfortunate reality for many businesses. It’s common for businesses to become targets and suffer loss of stock and damage to property. However, a variety of CCTV systems can help you address this issue.
There are a couple features to look out for when choosing a system to prevent theft and vandalism. Features such as live video monitoring, full perimeter protection, audio warnings and automatic system health checks should be on your list.
The most effective systems will deter intruders from entering your premises in the first place using detection software and audio warnings. Less effective systems will record the incident, for follow up viewing, without providing any deterrent.
Health, Safety and Liability
Health and safety, and the resulting liability issues, are a major concern for business owners and senior management. If a person has an accident on your premises and you are found to be liable, then you might have to pay a settlement, and this can result in an increased insurance premium.
Many businesses fear this more than the risk of theft and vandalism. They rely on CCTV footage to provide transparency around incidents and claims.
This kind of CCTV system must provide the business with the ability to download, distribute and review footage as evidence. Additional consideration will also need to be given to the location and number of cameras because coverage over a large area may be required.
Using a CCTV camera system to monitor staff is often used by businesses dealing with expensive or hazardous inventory and equipment. There are privacy laws that must be adhered to when implementing this type of system, many of which are covered under GDPR.
If you are collecting footage where employees can easily be identified, you are managing “personal data”. This means you are now acting as a data controller and inherit all the responsibilities that go along with the role. You can find out more about this in a Netwatch article on CCTV and GDPR.
When choosing a system for this type of monitoring it is important to choose provider that can provide guidance around potential privacy implications.
In certain industries, where protection is only required for a limited time, it is common to see temporary camera systems installed. These camera systems can be deployed quickly and are known as Rapid Deployment Units (RDUs). This type of system is often used on construction sites, quarries and other temporary projects.
Some Rapid Deployment Units have the capability to operate without an external power supply or internet connection. These units can be deployed in a matter of hours and integrated with a live monitored solution.
What Options Are Available?
Now that you know the type of problem you’re trying to solve, it’s important to understand the difference between traditional and proactive systems.
Traditional Vs Proactive Systems
Traditional – when people think of CCTV camera systems, they might imagine a network of cameras recording footage 24/7 to a video file storage system.
While common, this system has a major flaw; the footage can only be used after the crime has taken place. The traditional system is a store of evidence and is only useful when used to support investigations and prosecutions, if the culprits are ever caught.
The traditional, reactive system can be an economical choice where budget is an issue, as it does provide some form of recourse should the worst happen.
Proactive –This type of protection will record footage, store it and allow remote access to cameras. However, it also deters intruders before they can commit a crime. It does this by combining live video monitoring with personalised live audio warnings.
In the case of an unwanted intruder, a proactive system works like this:
- A potential threat approaches the perimeter of your site or property.
- This threatening activity is detected by the intelligent CCTV technology.
- An alert is sent within seconds to an Intervention Specialist stationed in a monitoring centre.
- They then visually assess the threat over a live video feed.
- If a threat is confirmed, the intruder is deterred by the Intervention Specialist using a live, personalised audio warning.
- This live audio warning deters 99% of intruders, and if not the Gardaí will be contacted and directed to the problem location.
- The Intervention Specialists stay on live view to the site until it is deemed safe again.
Proactive video monitoring takes action before a crime is committed. It uses intelligent video analytics to identify potential threats and intervenes if unauthorised activity is detected on your premises.
While not prohibitively expensive, a proactive video monitoring system is more expensive than a traditional CCTV system and may be better suited to larger businesses.
Can You Manage the System Yourself?
A commercial CCTV system must be managed by you or a third-party. Managing a camera system yourself has its pros and cons and does not suit all businesses.
When managing the system yourself, you will have full control over every aspect. You can choose camera specs, brands and models.
If you have time to manage the installation and full system setup yourself then you can reduce your costs.
It’s up to you monitor the system and respond to alarms. Effective system monitoring can take up a considerable amount of time and responding to threats can be a stressful experience and potentially dangerous if handled incorrectly.
When managing the system yourself you will need to replace any faulty equipment and upgrade hardware as the technology moves forward. If part of your system stops responding, through a fault or intentionally, you will need to find and fix it.
Understanding the best specs, camera positioning and when to use a particular type of camera requires research. Many business owners find the time involved in this approach off-putting.
What Is Your Budget?
Your budget is a very important factor to consider because it will determine the level of security you can achieve with a CCTV system.
Commercial camera systems can be divided into three main tiers. Each tier is more expensive than the last but offers greater protection.
1. Entry-Level: This is the self-managed system we looked at above. As the cheapest option, it offers little protection and requires a lot of your time. You can pay for the cameras and other hardware of your choice upfront, then hire an installer on a one-off basis. You are fully responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the system.
2. Mid-range: You could pay the above upfront costs and also a recurring fee to a CCTV monitoring service. This offers more protection and requires less of your time. You pay an upfront fee for hardware and setup and then add recurring monthly fee for video monitoring services. You are still responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your system.
3. Full Service: for the highest level of protection you can pay a fixed daily fee for a fully managed service. This includes upgrades, system health checks and maintenance. This tier offers the Proactive Video Monitoring solution. This option means the system design, monitoring, responses and maintenance will be taken care of by a dedicated team.
Tier 1 means you are responsible for the upkeep of your system. That includes maintenance, upgrades and repairs. Your annual bill will depend on those three factors.
Tier 2 adds video monitoring to the items covered above at a monthly fee. Paying that bit extra for Tier 3 means less time thinking about your security system. Once set up, your input will be minimal. While it can seem expensive, it is more cost-effective than a manned guard solution
More businesses are opting for option three; a fully managed service. Here a team of security professionals design, install, monitor and maintain your system for a fixed daily fee.
There are many other advantages to choosing a managed service:
• Clear, fixed daily fee means no hidden costs
• Lifetime service guarantee and warranty for all equipment
• Maintenance, repairs and replacements are all looked after
• Continuous health checks to ensure the system is always working
• Free software updates delivered remotely
Find out more about a managed service to see if it’s the right fit for you.
At Netwatch, we know the challenges faced by companies today. Our duty is to improve the efficiency of your business, while giving you confidence that your staff and premises are protected to the highest possible standard.
Managing a successful business has its challenges. Whether you have historical issues with theft, vandalism or liability concerns, Netwatch is here to provide you with peace of mind through state-of-the-art security.
Netwatch has been providing proactive video monitoring services to businesses across Ireland for almost 20 years. Our experienced team can provide a tailor-made security solution which will meet and exceed your security needs.
Setting Trends in Commercial CCTV Security
For almost 20 years, Netwatch has continually reinvested in research and development. This has resulted in the creation and development of a world-class alarm handling software, Cratos. This proprietary software allows Netwatch to distinguish itself as the industry leader in commercial CCTV security.
The technology employed behind each high definition camera enables Netwatch Intervention Specialists to immediately intervene in the event of unauthorised movement. Our exceptional development team is constantly innovating this intelligent software powering the system.
Netwatch has remained the chosen partner for Irish companies due to its consistent delivery of our core vision “to lead the world, in safeguarding what our customers value most through our culture of care, innovation and passion for people”.