Surveillance Camera Basics For Business Owners

Surveillance cameras can be a business owner’s 24 hour policeman always watching out for your best interests. They allow you to keep an eagle eye on your business when you can’t be there and help you know exactly what’s may be going on while away from your location. Today’s newer digital systems can record images directly to Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), they capture high resolution images and are far superior to VCRs tapes in terms of quality, speed and amount of data they hold. Some surveillance camera systems even transmit surveillance video from the Web or from other PCs in your office.

Good surveillance camera systems are not cheap. To understand what you need to consider when you invest in a surveillance camera systems consider the following uses of surveillance camera systems:

  1. Crime repellent – Whether it’s the break-and-enter robber, or the cashier who might want to steel $30 from the register, just the visual presence of a surveillance camera will tend to keep employees more honest and make a robber think twice about robbing you blind.
  2. Crime investigation – Amy times a crime will happen and you can’t remember any details needed for a crime investigation? Surveillance Camera systems will give you real live action of the crime and a date and time it was committed which will make your crime case much more believable in court.
  3. Business tool – Increasingly, surveillance cameras aren’t being used solely to catch criminals. Store Retailers can track how shoppers move through their stores; new software can even count customers by analyzing video footage. Your cameras can be a business profit tool also.

Technology in Surveillance Camera systems is moving fast with many improvements over older systems. Five basic types of cameras exist today for business use:

Traditional fixed camera
The less expensive option. These cameras are “fixed” on one area and can be fitted with different lenses for a wide angle of view, an up-close-and-personal shot, or anything in between. Newer models record in full color and in higher resolution. Many models are available, including day/night cameras that can automatically adjust to the amount of light available. Some models are known as bullet cameras, owing to their shape and low profile.
I recommend:  Professional
surveillance cameras are usually high resolution resulting in a very sharp image with great detail.

Dome camera
A favorite, because the domes 1) can protect the camera from vandalism and 2) don’t let your perpetrators know exactly which way the camera is pointed. The basic dome camera is fixed and hidden inside a smoke-colored dome. Look up to the ceiling in any department store, and you’ll understand how popular this camera can be and why it is used so much in business.
I recommend: 
Pro Dome Cameras are simply board cameras built into a dome housing.

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Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras
Typically housed inside domes, the camera can rotate about inside. Most PTZs are used as secondary cameras and are controlled by your security personnel, enabling them to move a camera and zoom in on points of interest, but they can be set in “patrol” mode to automatically follow a set path. Expect more cost for PTZs, plus the additional cost of the control systems and personnel to operate the camera.
I recommend: 
Pro Dome Cameras are simply board cameras built into a dome housing and rotate inside.

Infrared cameras
These are for specialty applications, such watching an area in complete darkness. They use infrared-emitting LEDs to illuminate the scene (the light is totally invisible to the naked eye), and are often rated for viewing to a particular environment. They’re not typical at most businesses, but your business may need cameras for low light applications.
I recommend: 
Professional infared surveillance cameras are great in low light conditions.

Network cameras
Network cameras function like computers on your business IP network, moving video around just like email. They reflect a fast growing segment in the surveillance market space and today many companies are fully wired for Internet access across their premises, and are steadily replacing the traditional cameras that are connected using coaxial cable or wiring.
I recommend: These complete systems that allow you to view complete video over the Internet.
 

Surveillance Camera Equipment Tips
Here are some things to consider when looking at surveillance camera equipment.

  • Many businesses use surveillance cameras as a crime repellent, but with the advent of smaller and harder to detect cameras, these devices may not be as noticeable as they once were. Put up visible signs to let potential criminals know that your business is protected by surveillance cameras.
  • While some smaller, off-the-shelf systems can be self-installed, you’ll probably want to contact a security systems dealer to properly set up the equipment. They will work with you to determine proper camera placement and view areas. They can also help you determine how long you should store the video, and provide installation expertise to make your surveillance camera installation clean and neat.
  • Most of today’s digital surveillance camera systems will allow you use your laptop or PDA to check on your business property when you’re at home and away from your business. They allow the business owner to be have control 24/7.
  • Before buying a surveillance camera recording system, think about how long you will need to store the video. as a rule of thumb you should keep the video for at least a week because you may not notice something right away, and because digital media prices is getting cheaper, keep the video on file for longer periods gets better and better.
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