Understanding the Basics of Video Surveillance

We all have seen that news story where they show an image captured by a video surveillance camera asking for the public’s help to identify the suspect. Most times the quality is so bad it is even hard to identify if they are male or female. What is the point of having a video surveillance system if the quality is that low? Fortunately, technology has come a long way in coming up with better quality cameras and capture devices IF you purchase the correct equipment.

Consumers are used to watching content that is high definition so why would anyone want to continue purchasing analog equipment.  There are some larger companies (that sell security systems as well) that are still selling their customers analog cameras that don’t have the quality that measured up to what everyone is used to. With the prices coming down on HD equipment there isn’t even much savings.  However, upgrading to an HD surveillance system doesn’t mean you need to re-wire your entire system as some newer technology allows HD video over the old coax cable.  Some terms to understand when looking at video surveillance systems.

IP Camera System: networked cameras connect like the way computers connect.  They provide video, power & control over a single Cat5 or Ethernet cable.  The quality of an IP Camera System can be quite high.

HD-TVI Camera Systems: High Definition Transport Video Interface (HD-TVI) will transmit 1080p video content over coax cable.  If you want to upgrade the quality of an analog system you can save money by reusing the coax cable and just replace the cameras and recorder

Analog System: Lower quality cameras that can vary in quality depending on the camera.  The resolution is not HD quality

Hard Drive Size: The larger the hard drive size the more video footage can be stored. Sizes are measured in Tera-bytes (TB).  Depending on the quality of the cameras the amount of footage can vary.

Motion vs. Continuous Recording: the video recorder can be set to record only when motion is detected on the camera or it can be set to record constantly.  There are also schedules that can be programmed into the recorder to select when it records motion vs continuous.  If the recorder is setup to record continuous it uses much more space than set to only motion.  Why fill up a hard drive with footage of an empty room?

DVR/NVR: Digital Video Recorder (DVR)/Network Video Recorder (NVR) are the 2 types of recorders.  If you have an IP camera system, the recorder will be a NVR because it is recording from network devices. If you have an analog or HD-TVI system the recorder is a DVR because it is digitally recording the footage. Most NVRs or DVRs can be connected to your computer network so viewers can monitor the cameras from any computer on the network

Remote/Mobile Viewing: Most modern surveillance systems have phone or tablet apps to allow viewing on your phone when you’re at home or off site.  A high speed internet connection is needed to connect to the DVR or NVR.

If you are considering a video surveillance system hopefully this information will help when talking with the sales person or system designer to make sure you are getting a system that will meet your goals.

6 Reasons Every Organization Needs Video Surveillance

Many organizations have video surveillance systems in place.  Others have thought about it but don’t know where to start.  There are many aspects that need to be considered before purchasing a video surveillance system and it must be designed to meet your goals.  We’ll explore some of the reasons to have a surveillance system at your business.

  1. Watch who is entering or exiting your business: Many organizations are moving away from a traditional receptionist that sits and greets everyone when they enter. If there was a surveillance system in place, anyone could watch the front door from their computer.
  2. Asset protection: no one wants things stolen from them and the same is true for organizations. By having a surveillance system, it will detract from people stealing product or robbing the organization.
  3. Watch employee’s activity: At times, it is important to watch what employees are doing. This could be to see what stage of the project they are working on or it could be to make sure they are doing what they are paid to do. Sometimes it is used to watch for safe work practices. I had a client with an employee claiming a box fell off a shelf and injured them and they needed paid time off to recover.  After reviewing the surveillance footage there was indeed a box that fell but it didn’t touch the employee that was looking at some paid time off.
  4. Watch visitor’s activities: What are the people visiting your organization doing? Are they entering an area they shouldn’t be in or acting suspicious? Having a surveillance system will help monitor where people are at and how they are acting in your organization.
  5. Child protection: organization that care for children must have a video surveillance system to protect the children. In the world today children are at risk of abuse from caretakers, If there is surveillance in place it can support their claims. This is a needed system for daycare facilities, church nurseries and classrooms, and schools.
  6. Caretaker protection: While caring for children, caretakers can be reported for abuse and ruin their lives even due to a false claim. A video surveillance system can protect the caretakers from allegations of abuse by disproving the child’s claim.

If your organization is considering a video surveillance system it is important to discuss the goals you’re hoping to achieve once the system is installed.  If you read my other article to understand the basics of video surveillance it will help make an informed decision about your surveillance system.

Card Access

A card access system can be a great long term investment saving both time and money for a company. Card access will let you open a door using a card placed in close proximity to the reader for that door. These systems have many advantages over a standard lock and key.IMG_5077

  • Program each card for any door
  • Put doors on a schedule
  • Don’t have to worry about who has keys to which door
  • Don’t have to worry about what key works for which door
  • People can’t make a copy of the cards
  • Don’t have to get new locks with someone leaves the company
  • Can issue a new card very quickly
  • Open or close every door very quickly
  • See what doors each person has accessed
  • Disable a card at any time

Daily Deals – Video Surveillance

MTS installed a 16 camera video surveillance system at the new Daily Deals location in Greenville. Video surveillance can be very important for a business. It helps protects assets as well as from potential lawsuits if employees or customers get hurt due to their own negligence. It can also be used for monitoring employee performance. MTS was very happy to install video surveillance because we think it will be an excellent long term investment.