Unless your business operations are completely decentralised and have no physical office, warehouse, or retail space, businesses of all sizes, structures, and industries will find some benefit from the installation of a video surveillance system. These systems, formally known as closed-circuit television (CCTV), forms the backbone of many a strong company security system today. CCTV systems, of course, consist of a series of cameras that send continuously recording video data over cables or secured wireless communication channels to a central computer that processes this data into viewable video footage that is stored on the computer’s hard drives for archiving and later reviewing. A video surveillance system can serve a variety of functions depending on the placement of the security cameras themselves – for example, they can be placed to keep watch over critical locations like entryways and rooms that hold valuable equipment, products, or data. Alternatively, they can also be set to view over the workplace itself to help monitor your workforce to identify and address productivity gaps and safety violations.
Now, all this sounds quite interesting, you might think, and as a business owner you might now be looking for a good surveillance system to keep watch over your precious business. But with the wide variety of CCTV systems available in a massive market, how are you supposed to choose the right system for you? Don’t worry, we’re here to help with a short list of things you might want to think about before you make the important investment.
One of the most important things you need to consider before investing in a CCTV system is the quality of the recorded footage. There are two specifications in particular that you need to be aware of when it comes to choosing your security cameras, and that is resolution and frame rate. The resolution (often referred to as ‘definition’) of an image or video refers to the size of the image measured in pixels. A larger resolution will record more pixels per frame, which means the recorded footage will be able to capture more detailed images. Frame rate, meanwhile, refers to the speed at which the security camera captures its footage, measured in frames per second. Higher frame rates mean smoother video footage, which allows the camera to render fast moving objects or people with more detail and accuracy. In most use cases, cameras that record at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (sometimes referred to as 720p or HD) at a framerate of 30 fps is already quite passable, so these camera specifications should be your bare minimum.
Besides price (which we will discuss later), higher frame rates and resolutions have one other major trade-off: video file size. High resolution or high frame rate video capture will transmit more data than video footage of a lower specification, so the recorded footage tends to take up more space in the hard drive of the computer that handles the capturing and storing of that footage. If the computer that you have only has a small amount of available storage space (and you don’t have the money to purchase additional hard drives to increase that storage space), you will not be able to store any more security footage once your computer runs out of storage space. Certain CCTV systems do come with a feature that allows the video capture program to discard and overwrite old footage if it runs out of storage, so these features will be something you might want to consider before making your purchase.
Speaking of which, a majority of modern CCTV systems today come with a variety of features that aims to improve the user experience. As we’ve just mentioned, many CCTV systems have a feature that overwrites old footage if the DVR or computer that controls the system runs out of disk space. This feature comes in various names like ‘loop recording’ or ‘continuous recording’.
There are also camera systems that have “IP” or “wireless” in their name. In a lot of cases, these “wireless” systems aren’t exactly wireless since the cameras and DVR still require socket-based power to function. Instead, the term “wireless” refers to how the cameras send their footage to the DVR or central computer over wireless communication channels like the Internet Protocol (hence the ‘IP’ term appearing in some systems). As the name implies, these systems will need stable Internet coverage throughout their operating area; otherwise they will not be able to record your video footage properly. However, these Internet-based CCTV systems do open up possibilities for other features that can only be done using the power of the Internet. One such feature is cloud storage, which allows the system to upload recorded footage to an allocated space in a remote server over the Internet. Although cloud services do come at a price, they are cheaper in the long run than purchasing your own hard drives for your own local archive, and on top of that, most cloud storage services have their own maintenance teams and customer support to ensure that you will always have access to your data assuming that you have a computing device and Internet access.
Another interesting Internet-based feature is wireless broadcasting, which can either be done locally or through the cloud. Both methods achieve the same effect of creating an online access point to view your CCTV footage live or view previously-stored footage, the only difference being that local broadcasting makes use of the CCTV system’s DVR or central computer while cloud-based broadcasting accesses data stored on a remote server (assuming your system is cloud-based as well). Such features allow you to view the footage from your security cameras from theoretically anywhere in the world provided that you have a computer, smartphone, or tablet computer with Internet access, which is particularly useful for business owners who are often away from their workplaces for long periods of time.
As with all bells and whistles, all of the features we have mentioned earlier will drive up the price of a given CCTV system. High resolution capture, high frame rates, cloud-based storage, secure Internet broadcasts – all of these features have a corresponding price attached to them. On top of that, you also have to consider how many cameras you plan to install in your business, as well as the viewing angles of the cameras and their specific placement.
Now, given this long list of things to take into account, it might be a bit daunting to choose the right CCTV system for you, especially when we mention again that there are a lot of systems on the market with similar features and specifications. For most businesses however, you won’t really go wrong with a wired CCTV system with cameras that record at 720p 30fps, while also making sure that the system is scalable or able to support more cameras if you need them. If your workplace has some concerns with drilling holes into their walls for cable management (as can be the case with rented commercial spaces), you might want to consider getting a “wireless” or IP-based system to cut down on the wire clutter. Any additional features, such as wireless broadcasting, are completely optional and can be done away with unless you really need to have it. Whatever system you want for your workplace, Casa Security is here to provide you with reliable service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us now at 08-9460-5716 for a free, no-obligation quote for your business today!