The Ultimate Guide to Video Surveillance

Mastering the Surveillance Camera System

Video Surveillance Camera

Security and surveillance camera systems provide essential protection against potential dangers such as theft, vandalism, and even intruders. They also provide round-the-clock peace of mind knowing that any security incident can be swiftly responded to, mitigating loss or damage to your property or threats to your personnel’s safety.

Video surveillance systems are an essential part of any business or institution’s security infrastructure, and with today’s expanding market for home and business security solutions and so many options to choose from, implementing a suitable surveillance camera system can be a daunting task.

Read on to learn more about surveillance cameras, security cameras, and what you need to know to make the best decision for your property’s safety needs.

What is business surveillance?

Business surveillance involves using cameras to monitor property, employees, and customers to help prevent criminal activity, among other use cases. A business surveillance system can use a combination of visible and hidden cameras to effectively monitor all areas of your premises during and outside of business hours for 24/7 monitoring and protection.

Business surveillance systems have many use cases, including some that may surprise you. For retailers, cameras placed indoors or outside of businesses can give a clear insight into customer behavior and staff performance to ensure that employees are doing their jobs effectively and customers are safe. Other businesses or institutions can use surveillance systems to ensure regulatory compliance or workplace safety. A high-quality business surveillance system in place also acts as a deterrent for criminals.

How does video surveillance work?

Video surveillance employs a network of cameras continuously recording video and audio in a specific area. Security personnel can both monitor a surveillance camera system live and watch digital recordings. Modern video surveillance systems support high-definition video, transmitting footage over a network connection, and complex analytical tools for expanded capabilities.

Video surveillance systems are useful for anything from security threat detection and response to providing documentation for regulatory or insurance investigations to access control and workplace safety.

Choosing the Right Video Surveillance Systems

Surveillance camera systems are a common sight in public and private places alike, offering monitoring capabilities for crime prevention, safety or security, traffic management, and a vast array of other applications as well.

As technology advances and options for surveillance technology grow in number, it can feel difficult to know where to start when looking into surveillance options. Just a few examples of the types of surveillance cameras available include:

  • Dome cameras
  • Bullet cameras
  • PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras
  • Panoramic cameras
  • Thermal cameras
  • License plate recognition (LPR) cameras

Surveillance technology is constantly evolving, and two increasingly popular options for surveillance cameras in businesses and other institutions today are wireless surveillance cameras and outdoor surveillance cameras.

Wireless Surveillance Cameras

From homeowners to business owners to non-profit and public institutions, wireless surveillance cameras are swiftly gaining in popularity. These more modern cameras, compared to wired analog cameras, offer many advantages and new features by taking advantage of digital video capabilities and network capabilities.

Wireless surveillance cameras communicate with a central hub or cloud server wirelessly through a local connection or WiFi. They can be accessed by authorized personnel at any time, providing heightened security and easy remote access.

Outdoor Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance cameras for outdoor areas on one’s premises are becoming increasingly popular with businesses and other institutions. Outdoor models of surveillance cameras are hardened against the elements and designed to withstand more challenging weather conditions so you can count on them, rain or shine.

Bullet cameras, named for their cylindrical shape and long, narrow design, are a popular type of outdoor surveillance camera that works well for long-distance viewing and boasts weather protection and anti-glare features. Like many outdoor cameras, bullet cameras can be installed on the exterior of a home or business premises and enable monitoring of areas that may be out of sight for other cameras.

Outdoor surveillance cameras are perfect for:

  • Detecting intruders
  • Identifying suspects loitering around the property
  • Investigating theft cases or any other suspicious incidents

Surveillance Cameras vs Security Cameras

What’s the difference between security cameras and surveillance cameras?

For many, the two terms are used interchangeably, but there are actually important differences between a surveillance camera system and a security camera system. Both involve video monitoring and recording, both share similar characteristics, and both share similar goals of enhancing safety, but they have distinct purposes and use cases.

One of the most important differences between surveillance cameras and security cameras is scale. Security cameras are for small areas on your property to safeguard against theft, vandalism, trespassing, or other threats. Surveillance cameras continually monitor larger spaces and are used to document events, behaviors, or incidents in both public and private settings. Surveillance camera systems are focused foremost on situational awareness and information gathering.

Surveillance Cameras – Pros and Cons

The advantages of surveillance cameras over security cameras include:

  • Long-term information gathering for detailed monitoring and documentation
  • Sharper images over wilder fields of view
  • Facial recognition capabilities
  • Providing situational awareness
  • Provide a sense of security to customers, employees, or visitors

The disadvantages include:

  • Employees may perceive a lack of trust or an invasion of privacy
  • Surveillance camera systems can be expensive to purchase, install, and maintain
  • They may provide a false sense of security and reduce vigilance

Security Cameras – Pros and Cons

The advantages of security cameras over surveillance cameras include:

  • Smaller and easier to install
  • Deterrence to potential criminal activities or misconduct
  • More affordable than surveillance camera systems
  • Work well when combined with motion sensors and alarms

The disadvantages include:

  • Can be damaged or bypassed by trespassers
  • Due to small size, cannot cover large areas

What is better – DVR or NVR?

It’s not enough to watch your premises—your surveillance camera system needs to record what it sees, too, and there are two options to choose from: your trusty Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and its alternative, the Network Video Recorder (NVR).

Choosing between the two depends on the specific needs, infrastructure, and security preferences of your business. Let’s look at the advantages of both:

Using DVR Surveillance Cameras

DVR is primarily designed to work with analog cameras, with built-in hard drives for video storage. This makes DVR highly compatible with older cameras and legacy surveillance systems. DVR’s local data storage doesn’t require high network connectivity standards or bandwidth requirements, which makes it useful for institutions with limited network infrastructure.

DVRs are a cost-effective data storage solution for existing analog systems. The drawback of DVR surveillance systems is that you get limited remote access to video footage, making remote operation difficult.

Using NVR Surveillance Cameras

NVR works with more modern IP cameras, which boast higher resolutions and more advanced features than analog cameras. Rather than storing video footage in an internal hard drive, NVRs store it on network-attached storage devices or other cloud storage options, which makes it a very scalable and flexible option for video surveillance.

NVRs have much better remote access capabilities than DVRs, enabling access to live video footage from apps, client software, and web browsers while also supporting cameras with much more advanced features than analog surveillance cameras.

No matter which you choose, as long as you choose wisely and take your budget, infrastructure, and unique needs into account, you’ll still have the peace of mind of knowing your security is under control.

Final Considerations for Choosing the Right Surveillance Camera System

Video surveillance systems come in all shapes and sizes—which is good because businesses and buildings come in all shapes and sizes, and the right security system has to fit your building and your budget like a glove.

From choosing between analog to IP cameras, outdoor cameras, wireless or wired cameras, and security or surveillance cameras—it’s enough to make your head spin. Implementing all of the security measures your business needs to thrive safely can represent a significant upfront cost and requires extensive expertise in the world of surveillance camera systems.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for surveillance and security. At Moffitt Technologies, we’re focused on helping you find the unique security solutions your business needs to provide peace of mind 24/7.

Find the Right Security System for Your Business

As one of Alabama’s most trusted sources for security systems integration technology since 1934, we’re here to provide extensive audiovisual security expertise and more to help you make the best decision for your business and unlock the full capabilities of video surveillance systems.

Whatever questions you may still have about surveillance cameras and security systems, we’re here to answer them. Contact us today!

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