Security has become a greater concern across all types of organizations today and your business should be no exception. Billions of dollars are lost each year from shoplifting and employee theft alone. Given that a business is four times as likely to be burglarized over a home and almost 80% of burglaries go unsolved, a capable surveillance system is something no organization should be without. Keep your business safe, secure and insured.
With the right combination of cameras and a digital video recorder (DVR) you will have a solution that immediately deters theft and provides the insurance you will need if anything ever does happen. A surveillance solution can also be leveraged to improve your business by monitoring employee performance, prevent dishonest claims and discourage misbehavior. Whether you are a small retail store, business office, school or production facility, the question is if you can afford not to have a surveillance solution in place.
What are the Key Benefits of a Surveillance System ?
- Prevention – Deter theft, vandalism and fraud. When people know they are being watched they act accordingly.
- Productivity – Ensure workers are doing their jobs correctly and see ways to improve efficiency.
- Peace of Mind – Know that your business assets are protected and you have the insurance to back up claims.
What is Surveillance?
Most people know that a surveillance system consists of cameras and some kind of recording device but many do not know how much things have advanced form the VHS tape days. Modern surveillance systems can do a lot more than just record when something goes wrong. Advanced scheduling and conditional recording along with higher resolution cameras allow for very efficient and finely detailed surveillance that were not possible in the past. A well designed surveillance system will be easier to operate and provide greater security.
The first step in any surveillance system is determining if you will go with a traditional analog or IP based system. In an analog camera system, each camera will have a power connection and a video signal connection that will have to connect back to your DVR. In larger facilities this may be a more serious concern as running cabling can be costly and time consuming. An IP camera system will utilize a business’s wired network to transmit the video information. This may be easier to install since many businesses will already have Ethernet wall ports throughout their facility. However, IP cameras often have very high resolution video output which can be very taxing on any network so you will need to be sure your network has the bandwidth to support an IP based system.
With a system type decided on you can start planning how many and what type of cameras you will need. It is best to identify the most important surveillance areas first to prioritize your camera selection. Cameras are available in a wide range of types with vandal-proof enclosures, pan/tilt/zoom controls, dome housings and covert options to fit any application. Many systems will employ multiple types of cameras. Choosing the right camera and lens will ultimately determine what and how clearly you can see anything. Always keep in mind that your system can always be expanded to provide coverage for less critical areas as well.
The difference between a surveillance system and regular video recording is that in reality you do not need to record at full video rates nor every minute of the day. Many systems will be set up it up to record only 5-12 frames per second as nothing occurs at such fast rates that you would not be able to capture it. To identify an individual you only need a single clear image. The DVR and surveillance software will also allow you to schedule when the system records. You many only need to record after hours or certain times of the day. More advanced systems can even set movement thresholds so that it only records when someone is moving in frame. These types of scheduling features help optimize your recording habit so you can use less data storage space while still capturing video when you need to.
Access to your system is another concern when determining a suitable DVR and software. Easy previewing and indexing of the recorded material is key to making any system easy to use. Many businesses will also want remote access to their system through the web or email notifications when an incident occurs. All of this will depend on the software and hardware you implement.
What Should You Address When Making a Surveillance System?
When putting together an effective and suitable surveillance system there are a few key questions to answer:
- How large of an area you need to monitor? Which areas are high vs. low risk?
- Will you need to monitor indoors or outdoors?
- Do you need monitoring throughout the day or at scheduled times?
- Will your system be unmanned or managed?
- How many days of surveillance will you need to store?
- Do you need remote access through a web interface?
- Will you require an email notification when an incident occurs?
- Will you integrate the surveillance system with a POS or access control system?
What are the Components of a Surveillance System?
A surveillance system consists of four essential components:
- Digital Video Recorder (DVR) – The DVR is a specialized PC all your cameras interface with and will run the surveillance management software you use. Making sure your DVR has enough inputs for cameras, data storage and expansion options will be essentially to a productive system.
- Surveillance Camera Software – Along with the DVR, the software you use will determine how you monitor your system. Reporting, remote access and notification features are some of the features to consider when deciding on suitable software.
- Security Cameras – Whether you go with analog or digital models, there are a variety of form factors that cameras come in to support any type of environment.
- Camera Lenses – Many cameras are not sold with lens and choosing the right one will literally determine how much you can see. Lenses will vary depending on their maximum viewable width and clarity at different distances.