Purchasing a security camera system is a wise investment. These are used to deter vandals and thefts, and their evidence can help convict anyone who harms a company or property. Understanding what type of security camera to invest in, however, can be difficult. The average business owner is not an expert in security cameras, and he does not have time to learn everything there is to know about them.
Here is a guide to the features that are found in the best digital security camera systems. First, this article will discuss a few components every security system, then it will focus on digital security cameras. With this information, an entrepreneur can wisely decide how to protect his venture. Most importantly, he can quickly return to what he needs to be doing.
Components of Every High-Quality Digital Security System
Digital Access Control
One of the major advantages of a digital security system is the ability to grant or deny access via digital readers. In the past, if an employee left the company on bad terms and kept a key, then all the locks might need to be changed. Today, an employee’s access can be denied by simply deactivating his keycard or changing the numbered codes that grant access. Nearly every hotel uses swipe cards to monitor who can access which hotel room, and every digital security system should be able to use the same technology. Any system that uses digital technology to record video should also use digital technology to grant and deny access.
Battery backup is an essential component of any security camera system. Without it, a digital camera is useless during a power outage. Any battery should be able to supply power for at least a day, if not longer than 24 hours. It is also important to connect all cameras and the recording device to the battery. If only the cameras are powered during a power outage, then the recorder will not save any video evidence.
Monitored Alarm Systems
All security systems should have a monitored alarm. There are a few inexpensive systems that only have a local alarm. These are ineffective. Any digital system worth investing in will have an alarm monitored by an outside agency. This agency might be a private company, the local police or the company’s own headquarters. It does not really matter who is monitoring the alarm, as long as they can immediately contact the authorities when the alarm is triggered.
In addition to a monitoring service, the best digital security systems have keypads that allow two-way communication. The keypad is what employees use to arm and disarm the alarm. They also often have a way people can immediately trigger a silent alarm, which alerts the people monitoring it off-site. The best keypads allow for two-way communication between the personnel off-site and the employees in the building. This communication can help the monitoring service determine what the nature of an emergency is, which could save the authorities precious seconds. Furthermore, if the people at a business location can communicate with those watching the cameras, then the people onsite might be able to indicate which cameras should be looked at.
Monitored Digital Security Cameras
The best monitoring services should be able to monitor the digital security cameras, themselves, as well as the alarm. This service requires additional manpower, so it is more expensive. For those companies that have the highest security needs, though, an actively monitored camera system is essential.
There are two ways cameras can be monitored. They can either be watched by an agency that is located off-site. This is almost always the same company that responds to any alarms. In most cases, however, the cameras are watched by an on-site security guard.
Each of these methods of monitoring a surveillance system has its own advantage and disadvantage. If a system is being monitored by a company located in another city, then the response time will be at least a couple minutes. When an alarm is activated, the company must notify the police, who then must drive to the site of the business. On the other hand, an on-site security guard can investigate any suspicious activity within a matter of seconds. The on-site security guard, however, might not have the same level of training that the police do.
Each business will have to decide for itself which method of monitoring is appropriate for its situation. This will be determined by the security needs of the business, its budget and the digital cameras it uses. The most important thing is that every digital security camera is being monitored by someone.
The Best Digital Security Cameras
It is impossible to declare one digital security camera system as the best, because every business needs a unique surveillance system. In some situations, high-powered, infrared cameras are appropriate. In other places, a simple dummy camera is sufficient. Therefore, this section will look at several different types of cameras.
It seems like fake cameras would not have any place in the best digital security camera systems. Nevertheless, in some situations, dummy cameras play an important role. They give people a sense of reassurance that they are safe. Fake cameras must be paired with real cameras, but they are an inexpensive way to increase the security presence in a specific area.
Infrared cameras are typically used for outdoor surveillance, although they can also be used indoors. Infrared technology allows these cameras to see in very little or no lighting. Even in a parking lot that is lit by flood lights, infrared cameras can often record a better image than regular digital cameras. The best digital surveillance systems place these cameras in strategic spots around the perimeter of the business, since they can record footage both in the daylight and at night.
Long-Range Cameras and Short-Range Cameras
Long-range cameras are used to focus on specific points several hundred feet away. These best long-range cameras have large image sensors and high-zoom lenses. These parts of the security camera are also included on digital SLRs and digital camcorders.
An image sensor determines how much light is let into the camera. The most common image sensors are ¼ in. and 1/3 in. A larger number will allow more light in than a smaller number. The amount of light allowed into the camera directly affects its field of view, although its effect is only slight when compared to the lens. Image sensors that allow more light in can capture wider pictures than those that allow less light into the camera. Thus, the 1/3 in. image sensor would provide a slightly wider picture than the ¼ in. image sensor.
The lens affects the field of view more than the image sensor does. Larger lenses are able to focus on scenes further from the camera than smaller lenses can, but the larger ones cannot see as wide an angle as the smaller ones. For example, a 3.6 mm lens can focus on something approximately 12 ft. away, while a 50 mm lens is able to focus on an object about 75 ft. away. The 50 mm lens, however, will have a narrower view than the 3.6 mm lens, and it will have difficulty seeing something only 12 ft. from it.
There are cameras that can focus 10 ft. from themselves, while other can focus 75 ft. from themselves, and still other can focus 200 ft. from themselves. No camera, however, can see both 10 ft. from itself and 200 ft. from itself at the same time. Therefore, a mixture of long-range and short-distance cameras is needed to create the best digital camera security system. Both standard digital cameras and infrared digital cameras are available with different image sensors and lenses.
Fixed Cameras and Flexible Cameras
Whether a camera should be fixed or multi-focusing depends entirely on the area it is surveying. If a camera is intended to watch one specific area, then a fixed camera is adequate. In many cases, however, a camera that can turn and focus on different areas is needed. One flexible camera can often do the work of several fixed cameras. Flexible cameras also can be used to track a person. The must, of course, be monitored if they are going to be rotated. Flexible cameras are more complex than fixed cameras, but the cost of a flexible camera can often be justified by the additional controls it gives security guards.
Image Color and Resolution
The image color and resolution should be discussed together, since they are both determined by the quality of image needed. The best digital security cameras have high-quality, color images. Although color is important, resolution is usually more important than color.
A color image can provide more accurate evidence than a grayscale camera can. A dark figure entering a doorway is unlikely to convince a jury beyond “reasonable doubt,” but a color video that shows the man’s jacket and hair might provide crucial evidence in the trial.
Resolution is even more important than color. A blurry image is useless, regardless of whether it is in grayscale or color. A high-resolution picture, on the other hand, can provide authorities with valuable information. The difference between a high-resolution image and a low-resolution image can determine whether a suspect can be correctly identified or not.
Cameras that are designed to capture license plates are highly-specialized digital cameras. They have a specific task, which not every business will need. For those companies that have a single point of entry and departure, though, these cameras can monitor who comes and goes from a specific location. These work best when there is only one lane into a parking lot or facility.
Capturing images of license plates is one of the greatest challenges in video surveillance, because cars are moving quickly and they are not always in the same place. Therefore, it is worth investing in the best license-plate cameras, if one is going to invest in any license-plate cameras. These should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When they are, license-plate cameras can be very effective.
There is no single digital camera system that is above all the others, because each company has unique security needs. The best system for any situation, nevertheless, will feature digital access control, battery backup, a monitored alarm and monitored cameras. It will also have a unique blend of infrared cameras and standard cameras, which will monitor the entire premises in high-resolution color. Depending on a business’ needs, the surveillance system might also include a camera to capture license plates or dummy cameras.
If you have any questions or looking for further information, please do not hesitate to contact us. It is our pleasure to help you.