Is it time for your business to look into purchasing security cameras or a surveillance system? Great! Welcome to the world of IP cameras, network video recorders (NVRs), hard drives, frames per second, and pixel by pixel resolution. Before you start hanging security cameras all over your building, let’s back up and take a look at WHO, HOW, WHEN, WHERE of surveillance systems. Here are a few primary considerations for implementing a successful surveillance project.
QUESTION 1: “WHO” am I surveilling?
One of the biggest questions for purchasers of surveillance is often the most overlooked but can be the most critical.
Who are you looking at? At TSAChoice, we see these customer requests break down into two categories.
First, External Threats
We see these as outside forces that try to undermine the physical integrity of your facility, through vandalism, theft, or violence, you know, the bad guys.
Second, Internal Monitoring
Some customers are less concerned with break-ins and property damage, and see their issues mainly relating to monitoring their employees or assets, such as:
- How often does a machine have issues?
- At what speeds are the assembly lines running?
- Are employees abusing break-time periods?
- What incidents happen in the facility and are there ways to avoid those?
Of course, many customers want to cover both of these categories. Either way, taking the time to think this through can help with surveillance camera locations and a final system configuration.
QUESTION 2: “HOW” am I surveilling?
The question of “how,” really boils down to this: Once the system is in place, HOW am I (the administrator) going to view the cameras?
- Does my company have on-staff security personnel that actively view cameras?
- Will these employees need special rooms and large displays in which they monitor live footage of my facility?
- Do I plan on hanging cameras around the building, setting them to record footage, and then viewing cameras only when there is an incident?
Answering this question has vast implications on the system.
For example, if I knew that there was going to be someone watching live footage on cameras, I might select a pan tilt zoom camera for that person. Allowing them to use a joystick to move the camera around the room, zoom in, and look for suspicious things.
Alternately, if there were no one to view my cameras live, then there would be no need for that expensive style of camera. I might then select high-resolution, wide-angle cameras to capture the whole scene, recording all incidents as they happen.
QUESTION 3: “WHEN” am I surveilling?
When do I need recorded video footage at my facility?
- Does the facility operate 24-hours a day, or is it a 9-5 business?
- Should cameras record only when the camera detects motion or should they record all the time?
- If recording at night, is there sufficient lighting to illuminate the field of view or will infrared sensors that can record quality images in all lighting conditions be required?
Another consideration here: Once I have recorded footage, how long do I want to keep this footage on my system’s hard drive? A few days, or does the company perhaps mandate a more extended history of footage storage?
Either way, if you don’t answer this question, your cameras continue to record, and older footage, if not exported or archived, will auto delete.
QUESTION 4: “WHERE” am I surveilling?
The question of “where to install security cameras may require some number crunching.
For example, if I want to view what’s happening in the parking lot, I need to take some measurements.
- How big is the area?
- If I think I want to put a camera to view that area on another building, how far away is the building from the area to be recorded?
- How high off the ground will the camera be positioned?
- Are there obstructions? Maybe large trucks park here, or tree’s leaf out in the spring and summer.
Answers to these questions determine our “field of view,” that the cameras have to be able to achieve.
QUESTION 5: “WHAT” do I need to purchase?
When we finally get to the time where we need to make product decisions, we have hopefully got a lot of information to narrow things down. Here are a few more considerations:
- Do we want an older style, analog camera system that runs off of coaxial cable or an existing infrastructure?
- Do our needs call for a more modern IP-based system, with cameras that run as nodes on your facility’s copper and fiber network and utilize switches and servers for operation?
What kind of camera housings will we require?
Bullets are easy to aim and install, for example, whereas domes are a little more subtle and able to resist hits and bangs.
Have we determined what resolution our cameras need to be? Are we looking for general surveillance (identify the color and make of a truck), or will we need more pixels in our image, giving us facial recognition at 40 feet?
Do we need purpose-built cameras?
- Heat detection cameras
- Cameras that integrate with door access or security cameras
- Cameras that can read a license plate
These are just a few items to consider as you start making a surveillance plan for your business.
To contact our security experts in Asheville, NC or Greenville, SC, to request a surveillance project survey, fill out this short form, or click here to contact us directly.