The video surveillance system, referred to in technical terms as a Closed-Circuit Television or CCTV system, is one of the most versatile and effective security measures available on the market today. Having come a long way from the days of blurry images from small analog camera sensors and easily damaged storage in the form of VHS tapes, most modern CCTV systems capture sharp, detailed footage even in low light conditions that are stored as digital files on hard drives that can easily be reviewed and transferred to other storage media. Although such features may have already been available in the past decade or two, more recent advancements in camera and digital storage technology have made CCTV systems with these features much cheaper to manufacture, thereby making them much easier to acquire even for small proprietorships.
Because of the lowered cost of these now-standard features, the market for CCTV sstems is now filled to the brim with all sorts of models from different brands with generally similar feature sets. This can be quite the challenge for new business owners who are picking out a CCTV system for their workplace. Don’t worry though, because this is where this article comes in to help. To help you figure out what you want in a video surveillance system, we have a few questions here that you will need to ask yourself; the answers you give to these questions will give you a list of features that will guide you to the right system for you. Let’s get started.
What sort of things do you need to track?
This question will need you to figure out the use case of your CCTV – common examples include watching out for potential threats and intruders, or monitoring your employees to identify and address workplace safety issues. Knowing your use case is important as this will dictate the specifications of the cameras that you need.
For example, if you will be using the CCTV system to record footage of a potential burglary, it is recommended to choose a security camera that is capable of recording at high frame rates like 60 fps (frames per second), as this will be able to capture the movement of fast moving people or objects like cars, allowing you to more clearly identify these threats. On the other hand, if you will use your CCTV system to identify safety hazards, you will not need high frame rates, but instead high resolutions such as 720p or higher to capture small details (like employees not wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment) with greater clarity.
Does your workplace have provisions for extra wirings?
This question will determine the space and cable routing requirements of your CCTV system. All camera systems require cables that have to be routed throughout the workplace; however, some systems will require more than others. A majority of CCTV cameras require two cables to function: a power cable and a video cable. However, there are certain systems called either IP or WiFi systems that send their recorded footage to the central computer or DVR (Digital Video Recorder). Because the cameras transmit their data wirelessly, they need only a power cable to function, thereby reducing the amount of wires that have to snake throughout the workplace. This will be useful for spaces the layout of which cannot be altered to accommodate your camera’s wiring.
How many security cameras do you need? Will you be adding more security cameras later?
Most CCTV systems are only capable of supporting a limited number of security cameras at a time. Such limitations will not do for larger workplaces, especially if the business owner can only afford to purchase a limited number of cameras up front. For such situations, a scalable CCTV system – one that can support additional cameras beyond those that came in the original set – will prove to be very useful. Although there are certain wired camera systems that allow installation of more cameras, most controller boxes or DVRs will only be able to support additional cameras up to a limit set by the physical size of the controller box itself, as the cameras will need a physical connection to the box in order to transmit its recorded footage. For that reason, many scalable CCTV systems are IP-based, allowing for greater flexibility and support for many more camera units.
Are there any possible legal issues that may arise from having a CCTV system installed?
There is no doubt that CCTV systems have a lot of benefits in terms of providing security and peace of mind to employers and employees alike. However, the same cannot really be said if the cameras are aimed to watch the employees rather than potential burglars. With a lot of issues surrounding the topics of privacy and surveillance, you as the business owner and employer have to let your employees know what the cameras are there for and what sort of information the company management wants to collect.
Do you have an existing alarm system?
Although CCTV systems have useful on their own, they become much more effective when it works in conjunction with alarm systems, electronic locks, access control systems, and other security measures. For example, a CCTV system can be configured to trigger an alarm system if it detects suspicious activity, such as from an intruder. If you already have an alarm system installed however, you will have to make sure that the CCTV system you will choose will be compatible with said system.
How much is your current budget?
By far the most significant factor in figuring out the right CCTV system for your workplace is your available budget. After all, you may think about getting a top-shelf system with high quality cameras and a ton of additional features, but that won’t obviously happen if you can’t afford the system in the first place. Our advice? List down the features and specifications that you absolutely need, then start making a list of the CCTV systems available that meet those requirements. Only afterwards should you start narrowing down your choices based on the features that you want to have, then make your final decision from there.