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This is a full guide to choosing a commercial video surveillance system in 2021. Learn what to consider when buying security cameras for your business.
Want to make your office safer with a high-quality video surveillance system?
You've landed on just the right page. In this post, we are going to share some of the factors you should consider when purchasing a video surveillance system for your business in 2021.
So, let’s cut to the chase and dive right in!
Always ask how sharp the image will be and how much mechanical and optical zoom is achieved. This is probably the most important thing you need to know when purchasing a security system for your business. You should look for cameras that can record at least in 4MegaPixel resolution, which is double the 1080p HD. This is because you will require the camera to zoom in and zoom out to identify people and objects with more clarity. In addition, higher pixel density is a key parameter. We recommend at least 4Mpx cameras (1080p is full HD = 2Mpx), which is double the HD. Field of view, especially the horizontal field, is likewise equally important. The field of view as this determines how wide the camera coverage is. The wider the angle, the larger the area the camera is covering.
The frame rate is another important factor you’ll want to consider. Now, frame rate is something that determines the smoothness of the recorded video. Frame rate is the number of stills a camera stitches together in one second. If the camera has a high frame rate, the video will render smoothly. The lower the frame rate, the choppier the footage will be. We highly recommend going with a camera that supports at least an 30 FPS rate For situations where objects move relatively slowly (office environment), frame rate can be reduced to 10-12 FPS. Specialty cameras are available for applications where objects/vehicles move fast (tolls, street surveillance, sports venues) and allow to record video at up to 60FPS.
There are a number of camera models and form factors available on the market. The sheer variety of the camera models might make it overwhelming for you to choose one for your business. But if you have your needs and requirements penned down, you won’t find it difficult to choose the right one. Some of the most common camera models you will find on the market are bullet cameras, dome cameras, thermal cameras, panoramic, and pan-tilt-zoom cameras.
So, where exactly are you planning to install your security cameras? Are you buying the surveillance system for indoors or outdoors? You must know if the cameras are weatherproof or not. Will water or dirt affect their functioning? The cameras should have good build quality to resist the effects of adverse weather conditions. Do check for the IP (Ingress Protection) rating of your security systems before you make a purchasing decision.
You want your commercial security cameras to function at all times. There are cameras on the market that are able to capture footage in dark conditions using low-light infrared technology. The camera covers the darkened area with infrared rays and unlike humans, it is able to see the rays and shoot the footage when the rays hit the object and wavelengths reflect back to the camera. To be able to capture footage in dark conditions, the camera needs to have more of these IR LEDs. Consider cameras with advanced low-light technologies like Starlight or LightFinder. These cameras are capable of producing high-quality color pictures in extreme low light conditions without IR illumination. WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) technology allows certain camera models to produce a better picture in circumstances with inadequate lighting (i.e. bright sunlight coming through a window in a very dark room; the special lighting of a jewelry store, etc.).
The audio sensors in commercial security cameras play an important role in the security system of your business area. However, most of the cameras you will find on the market don’t pick up audio at all. It really depends on what you want. There are manufacturers who do enable the cameras to record audio as well. Audio sensors help in triggering the camera to do certain actions like turn on or off, close in on a subject, or rotate to capture the footage of the person speaking. It can also be used for communication. Please don’t forget to check with your local laws and regulations as audio recording may be illegal in certain state/ municipalities.
Motion detection is the most basic technology available in any modern camera system. The more advanced high-end security camera systems also include video analytics software and capability to detect and classify objects like people (distinguishing from male, female or child), vehicles (sedan, SUV, truck, specialty vehicle), as well as specific events (loitering, groups of people (a fight for example), vehicles moving too fast, vehicles moving in the wrong direction, vehicles parked in a fire lane, and so on. Each particular event can generate a specific response – police being automatically dispatched; security personnel notified via walkie-talkie radio or/and SMS/email; pre-recorded message pronounced via a speakers system, etc. They do have a higher price-point but one will definitely see them becoming more common in the future of surveillance systems. Analytics makes the commercial security cameras smarter. With the help of video and audio analytics, the CCTV cameras detects and alerts the owners or security guards about detection of unusual sounds and movements. The owners are alerted by a notification sent on their mobile app.
It’s important to note that, with few exceptions, wireless systems (which are not 100% “wireless” as they still require connection via a power cable) are mainly suitable for residences. Businesses often opt for wired surveillance systems as they are fast, efficient and today offer better technology than ever. There are many options of surveillance cameras for commercial purposes that can be tailored to your business requirements.
So, how much storage will you need? We are talking about video recorders that are going to function all the time. They will need active storage devices that have high capacity. The first thing you will have to consider is the number of commercial security cameras you are going to install, their resolution, and the number of days you intend to keep the footage in your server. It’s true that you can always set the security system to overwrite the oldest footage once there’s no more space available. But, you should always invest in the highest capacity storage devices that you can.
Today, many businesses consider using cloud storage services to store their security camera footage. The cloud storage services are used in addition to the physical storage devices you install on the server. What this does is provide the security camera extra space to store footage and also help the security team and owners access the footage remotely. The subscription fees may vary depending on system type (residential vs commercial vs enterprise), camera resolution and compression. These fees have been going down, which makes Cloud-based and Hybrid systems more and more popular However, you will have to make sure top cybersecurity measures are taken to protect your data.
“End-to-End solutions” from the same manufacturer can indeed work very well, however, open-platform systems that allow mixing and matching of different cameras, are also popular and come in handy when specialty cameras are required for a given project. It also allows flexibility for when you require advanced video management software. More robust third party software integrates well with a wide range of cameras and brands.
Your surveillance system should be able to efficiently compress the footage transmitted to the recording device. Video compression allows to reduce network bandwidth requirements and increase video storage capacity of the recorder. Not just that, it also makes the recorded video load faster when security team has to go through the footage in case things at the office go wrong. The most used compression technologies for HD videos are H.264 and H.265. Some manufacturers improve compression technologies even further, for example ZipStream from Axis Communications.
Finally, you will need to weigh the cost, features and benefits of each type of surveillance system against your business budget. With smaller budgets, you may need to compromise on some features, but not with important things like camera build-quality, quality of wires, and quality of storage device. Also, make sure the surveillance systems have at least a one-year warranty. Extended warranty may be available with certain systems when you buy through Authorized Partners. Also keep in mind the lifetime cost of the system as some systems may be cheaper to buy, but will have a number of issues with software/firmware and require a lot more intensive service and support.
There you have it. We have shared some of the most important aspects of purchasing a video surveillance system for your business in 2021. Have questions about a security system for your business? Please connect with our security experts and we’ll be glad to answer any questions you have and walk you through the best options for your business needs!