Security is important for every business, and choosing the right system can sometimes seem difficult. Here we will take a look at the top considerations you should take when choosing a video surveillance system.
Video surveillance offers many benefits as a stand-alone solution or when used alongside other security measures. We will look at proactive vs reactive systems, camera types, the benefits of thermal imaging and how many cameras you will need to cover your site.
Who Will Monitor the Cameras for Threats?
This is something often overlooked by businesses when considering a security camera system. What’s the advantage of covering the interior and exterior of your premises with cameras if there is nobody there to view them. Without some kind of video monitoring in place, your cameras will simply record criminals as they steal from your business.
This recorded footage can then be reviewed by Gardaí to see if the criminals can be identified. At this stage, the damage has already been done. The criminals have taken what they wanted and most likely have hidden their face from view.
This is where Proactive Video Monitoring has an advantage. Proactive Video Monitoring combines advanced analytical technology with human detection. Every camera is monitored 24/7/365 by intelligent software, this software is designed to detect movement within the protected zone. Once detected, a signal is sent to the Monitoring Centre where an Intervention Specialist will visually assess the situation, and take the appropriate action.
If a threat is identified, the Intervention Specialist can issue a live audio warning over a speaker system and if necessary contact the Gardaí. The response protocol is always pre-agreed with the customer and is specific to each business needs. This form of security stops criminals before they have a chance to commit a crime.
To get the most from a camera system it should be monitored by at all times by advanced technology and trained professionals. Otherwise, you are just recording the crime and hoping the footage can identify the culprits. For more information on Proactive Video Monitoring request a callback using the form below.
Can’t I Just Monitor the Cameras Myself?
Yes, you can choose to monitor the cameras yourself but this approach comes with some drawbacks.
- Self-monitored systems can be hacked and disarmed leaving your premises unprotected.
- Can you monitor cameras while away on a business trip, holiday or event?
- How will you know if a camera stops working? Who will repair this blindspot and what is their turnaround time?
- Incidents reported by trained professionals tend to receive quicker response times from Gardaí.
- Hiring a security guard to monitor cameras is very expensive and doesn’t guarantee a threat will be detected.
- It’s also impossible for a security guard to monitor multiple camera feeds simultaneously. They can only focus on one feed at a time even when scanning through screens.
How Many Cameras Are Required?
This is a really important question when building a system. There are many variables at play because no two business sites are the same, but here are some points to consider in order to get a rough estimate.
Sketch out your premises – It’s always a good idea to work off a scaled sketch of your premises. The sketch doesn’t need to be perfect, just enough to help you visualise the setup. You can also use an online map.
Camera span – A good quality camera will have a span of about 70 degrees so keep this in mind.
Max range – While many cameras specify a range of 70 metres or more in their documentation, the max range for easily identifying faces is about 35 metres.
Installation distance – With max range in mind, you will want to install a camera every 35 metres along straight walls.
Camera direction – When fitting out the external walls of a building, every camera should be pointing towards the next camera in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. This camera-on-camera technique prevents any blindspots and is the most efficient installation method.
Professional installation – Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the experts. We have a team of security professionals waiting to get your system up-and-running. Use the form found in the footer of this article to request a callback.
How Should I Power My Cameras?
The supply of power to each unit is a major consideration and will require the help of an electrician. You might want to explore the use of Cat5 specification cables upwards along with Power Over Ethernet (PoE) switches. This type of system can be used to carry both power and video feed to and from each camera limiting the amount of wiring required.
Will I Need Indoor and Outdoor Cameras?
Most modern cameras are weatherproof and designed to work equally well both indoors and out. It’s a surprising fact that spider webs often present a bigger challenge than weather conditions for intelligent surveillance systems like that provided by Netwatch Proactive Video Monitoring. Spiders are attracted to cameras for the small amount of heat they produce. They also offer the perfect anchor points for web building.
Will Additional Lighting Be Required?
Good lighting does have an impact on your camera system and overall security. A well-lit area makes video surveillance easy but modern camera systems will work in all conditions.
Another benefit of good lighting is the extra security it provides. Criminals prefer to work under the cover of darkness and usually avoid well-lit areas. So, lighting up the perimeter of your business makes sense. Of course, not all businesses have the means to implement these measures. In these cases, infrared lighting and thermal imaging cameras offer the perfect solution.
Infrared Lighting Or Thermal Imaging Cameras
Additional lighting gives security cameras extra coverage and works as a deterrent for thieves. However, a robust system should be able to detect intruders without the aid of lighting. This is where infrared lighting and thermal imaging cameras come in to play.
Netwatch Proactive Video Monitoring comes with infrared lighting providing 40 metres or 130 ft of illumination in the darkest of conditions. The cameras can still operate in colour with very low light conditions, but also have the ability to switch to infrared lighting if required.
Next, we have thermal imaging cameras. This type of camera is specialised and best suited to businesses that need to cover long distances in very dark conditions.
The downside to thermal imaging cameras is picture quality. The resulting images are black and white and best used in conjunction with intelligent video software like the Cratos, the unique Netwatch technology. For most businesses, a camera with infrared lighting capabilities will be enough to protect your business regardless of the lighting.
IP Cameras Vs Analogue Cameras
Resolution – IP cameras have a much better resolution compared to analogue. An IP sits somewhere between 1 and 5 megapixels while an analogue operates at half a megapixel.
Analytics – IP cameras can easily incorporate video analytics while analogue systems cannot.
Cost – Analogue cameras are typically less expensive than IP. However, costing a full system for your business may surprise you. IP cameras have a much better range of view and often result in the need for fewer cameras. This means both analogue and IP systems cost the same on average.
Should I Use a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) OR Network Video Recorder (NVR)
Any surveillance system needs a central unit to transmit and sometimes archive recorded footage. Some of the key differences between the two recording units are:
Resolution – DVRs offer 720 x 480 resolution while NVRs offer 1080p resolution.
System Expansion – A DVR system needs one cable for every camera. When all cable ports have been used you will need to buy a new DVR. NVRs are much easier to scale up because the cameras don’t need to be wired in.
Camera Choice – Most NVRs are used with IP cameras while DVRs are used with analogue cameras.
Issuing Audio Warnings to Intruders
Live, personalised audio warnings are incredibly effective at preventing crime before any damage is done. In proactive video monitoring systems like that provided by Netwatch, an intruder will be picked up by a monitoring centre within seconds. The threat level is then assessed by an Intervention Specialists and an audio warning is given directly to the intruder over a speaker system.
In almost every case, this warning will cause the intruder to flee the scene.
Can Video Surveillance Replace a Security Guard?
Cost – Security guards are a lot more expensive than a proactive video monitoring system like that provided by Netwatch.
Coverage – Proactive video monitoring covers all areas of your business simultaneously. A security guard is restricted to their foot patrol, time table and attention span.
Reliability – Security guards can fall asleep, call in sick, and be intimidated. Factors that can result in significant loss or damage. Proactive video monitoring never sleeps and is impossible intimidate.
Health, Safety and Liability – Confronting criminals is dangerous and best left to the Gardaí. A proactive video monitoring system can detect and engage criminals within seconds. Instant live audio warning along with the arrival of the Gardaí is the safest option and avoids possible liability issues.
Response times – A proactive video monitoring system relies on an off-site intervention specialist to quickly detect and deal with threats with audio warnings and/or a call to the Gardaí. A security guard will be on-site and can confront criminals once they realise the threat exists.
If the security guard is unaware of a threat then nothing will happen and the criminals will be free to work undisturbed. Some businesses use a hybrid of the two; proactive video monitoring provides full coverage and instant detection while a security guard will be able to confront the threat.