In this article we will talk about evaluations of camera security systems and what you need to do and know to perform your own evaluations of camera security systems.
Evaluation of camera security systems can be difficult to do comparatively because of subtle differences in manufacturers’ digital video systems; so when trying to determine what system type or component to purchase, consider performing your own needs assessment first. Then search for the equipment that satisfies those requirements. Finally, you can compare different manufacturers’ or vendors’ brand offerings and prices.
Let’s cover the basics of performing a needs assessment based on the technological capabilities of digital video camera security systems. In order to make things a little easier to compare, we’ll break up the system into its three component parts and consider each component separately.
A typical digital video camera security system consists of one or more digital video cameras, the Digital Video Recorder or DVR, and a monitor. We will confine our evaluations of camera security systems here to standalone systems only.
First, determine what you need to protect or monitor. A room, a building, land, property located outside or inside, a parking lot, people, shoppers, cash register or teller areas, etc. Once you know exactly what you need to record, you can move on to deciding how you will record it. This is where the expertise of a professional installer is particularly helpful. An experienced installer can assess your situation and determine the precise placement and minimum number of cameras needed to do the job.
Once you know how many cameras are required, you can begin to narrow your evaluations of camera security systems. Generally speaking, the maximum number of cameras in a system determines the type of DVR that you will need. Customary DVR camera configurations include four, eight, and sixteen potential cameras (Note: The number of cameras is also referred to as “channels” which is not to be confused with another use of the word “channels” that describes specific radio frequencies). If a system requires more than sixteen cameras additional DVRs are used to satisfy the need.
So let’s assume our system will require seven cameras. We now know we will need an 8 channel DVR, but we aren’t ready to select the DVR just yet. Now let’s go back to the cameras. Of our seven cameras we know that four will be used outside and three will be used inside.
Now you must ask yourself what kind of digital video monitoring do you need? Do you require full time (24/7) day and night, do you track or follow objects (cars and people for example), and is audio required, and so on. Once you know the exact requirements of the camera you can determine exactly what type of camera you will need.
Let’s assume we need four outdoor, wireless, night vision infrared digital color cameras with a motion detector. These cameras will also be battery operated. In addition, we’ll need three indoor cameras without any special functions. However, we do need to determine how we will mount these cameras so we know what type of camera we will need for each of the seven cameras (dome, bullet, or box type cameras).
In performing your evaluation of camera security systems for this set-up you will also need to purchase a four channel receiver unit (a receiver unit that can accept four camera inputs and receive each on a separate frequency). This unit will be attached to the DVR. Speaking of which, we can now return to the DVR to consider what to purchase.
We know we need an 8 channel DVR. Do you want to be able to record for long periods of time without erasing over pre-recorded monitoring? If so, you should consider a DVR with a large capacity hard drive. Do you want to make copies of files on DVDs/CDs or other media? Do you need the DVR to connect to the internet? These questions will help determine the type of DVR you require.
Finally, ask yourself what type of monitor you will need. Will the monitor be used for setting up the system and occasional use or will the monitor be watched the majority of the time? (Monitors used for setup can be very small; monitors that will be used frequently should be large enough to view all seven cameras clearly).
After considering what we need, we can now perform evaluations of camera security systems to determine the best prices and products for our application.