In modern business practices, security is imperative – your bottom line can take a significant hit if your assets are not well protected. Plus, video surveillance can ensure employee safety, accountability as well as enhance the efficiency of an organization.

The security needs of every business are different. Some businesses need advanced functionality and multi-location cameras storing footage centrally or in the cloud, accessed by multi-level users; while others only require a basic system to capture and record footage. You can tailor your surveillance system to your business’s specific needs.

Not sure where to start? Read our guide to help break down the components of a video surveillance system.

A Typical IP Video Surveillance System

IP video surveillance system components

Types of Cameras

The two primary types of cameras that can be wired into a surveillance system are internet protocol (IP) cameras and HD analog cameras. IP cameras offer many advanced functionalities over analog cameras and obviously, therefore, are higher in the price range. You can purchase IP cameras that are up to 30MP on a single camera which provides incredibly clear video compared to HD analog that is starting to introduce 4K/8MP. Another benefit is that they have built-in video analytics that can automate the camera to record footage only when there is something important in the camera’s field of vision. This prevents the storage device from filling up too frequently.

The Area to be Monitored

When selecting the cameras for your surveillance system, it is important to keep in mind the type of space you will monitor. A large parking lot would give you much better results with a very high resolution (up to 29 Megapixel) camera that enables you to effectively zoom in to recorded footage. But this camera is going to be high in price and therefore you don’t need to use it to monitor a uniformly lit indoor lobby to keep an eye on who is entering your building. For a space like this, a relatively lower resolution (2, 3 or 5 Megapixel) dome camera is probably enough.

Surveillance camera WDR (wide dynamic range)

But the resolution is not the only factor to consider here. Let’s say if your lobby is not uniformly lit, when the door is opened it is flooded with light, the camera footage may be completely washed out if the camera is not of higher quality.

Lighting levels, as well as variances in light conditions, are 2 very important factors when selecting your camera. That is why the price of a 2 MP camera can vary widely across different brands and models.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that when you have a higher resolution camera with high Frames-per-second (fps) you will get great quality footage but it will take up higher bandwidth on your internet connection and also require a larger recording device – a DVR or NVR. Your security service provider can help you find the optimal balance for your premise if all this sounds too confusing.

The complexity of the System

When designing your system also keep in mind how many people will be using this system. Would you require a single person to be occasionally monitoring the whole system from a designated location? Or do you need multiple users to be controlling the system, each with different permission levels, accessing from different locations simultaneously and in real-time? These factors will determine the system you will require to store and retrieve the footage.

In the first scenario, it may be enough to just purchase a simple network (or digital) video recorder (NVR/DVR). You can also consider a cloud-based video surveillance system that eliminates the headaches of maintaining extra hardware. The second will require a more complex video management software (VMS).

Of course, the complexity of the system will impact the complexity or ease of installation, not to mention as well as the system cost. The user-friendliness and the option to integrate with access control systems are other useful factors that will help you design the optimal system for your unique need.

Scalability of the System

So after scrutinizing all these details and carefully picking all the components of your video surveillance system, you would expect there is nothing more to be worried about, right? Well not quite done yet.

One more factor you should consider is how your security need is likely to evolve over time. Security is a worthy investment and you want to make it scalable rather than scrapping the whole system every 4-5 years and starting from scratch.

A well-designed and well-cared for system can serve your purpose for years to come with a few additional expenses. If you know your business will grow in the next few years and you will want to monitor a larger area, it will be better to design the system with scalable equipment.

For example, video management software or VMS-based network video recorders (NVRs) record higher quality video and allows for systems to be scaled up much more easily than digital video recorders (DVR) or embedded network video recorders (NVR). You can select a slightly larger capacity network switch than you initially need so that additional cameras can easily be added to the system. Also, it will be better to keep all software licenses up-to-date to save in the long run.

So there you go, a basic guide to help you evaluate your own security needs. Want to make this process simpler? Select a security service provider who will guide you to design the perfect system for your needs. Any business can now have access to immensely powerful surveillance systems at relatively affordable prices. While the up-front costs of installing a video surveillance system can seem a little steep, the long-term payoff and the peace of mind are definitely worth the expense.

Intrigued to know more? Schedule a free design session with us.

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