Does your business have CCTV? If someone were to break in to your business and steal valuable assets, how would you identify that criminal? Having a reliable and high quality security system is extremely important for any business. When choosing a CCTV system to install, there are many things that need to be taken in to consideration. This article is intended to highlight some of these considerations when purchasing a CCTV system.

Don’t choose a camera that you can purchase at a local department store or electrical retail chain. These devices will have a low quality image, restricted recording ability and the quality of the device won’t be suited to long term use. Most commercial grade cameras have water and dust protection, made of sturdy plastic or metal and have a more expensive camera lens to ensure the image can be used to prosecute a criminal. They also will have a watermark that can be used in a court with the date and location of the camera.

Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) cameras have lens that move through user intervention or alternative move to a set/pre-programmed pattern. PTZ cameras are perfect for companies that have a monitored security control room such as large shopping centres or commercial high rises as they can be adjusted to monitor situations as they happen live. For most small businesses it is best to use fixed lens or birds-eye cameras as these devices are generally a lot cheaper and so multiple devices can be purchased and still save a dollar or two over a PTZ unit. Fixed devices require no user intervention once setup correctly.

Never use CCTV surveillance cameras that use Coax Cable (RG-59 or RG-58) as this technology is now outdated and will deliver poor image quality in most circumstances. You should also avoid using wireless cameras as they usually have low powered WIFI network cards installed to keep the overall camera cost down. Wireless CCTV devices with poor reception will struggle to connect to your WIFI router or access point due to the poor signal transmitted or received. This will certainly will be much more noticeable when installed outside on concrete or brick walls. This wall barrier prevents the wireless signal penetrating to and from the camera.

Modern CCTV cameras will require either a Category 5e (CAT5E) or Category 6 (CAT6) network cable. This cable is required to not be run near power cables and external (outdoor) cable should be used when a camera is mounted outdoors. If you can see a blue or grey cable after installation then the camera probably has been installed incorrectly and the cable life will be affected. If you can see the cable then anyone wanting to kill the camera will just cut the exposed cable which will make your property vulnerable.

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Large commercial properties will require additional installation time so you will need to allow for this when allocating time for installation. Extensive cabling is usually required and a reputable company will avoid using conduit on your walls should cavity access be available or leaving cabling exposed to the elements. A great installation will take some time and will prevent de-installation by a thief or an unsavoury guest.

Cameras that face door entries should be low as to capture persons facial features, but not too low they can be vandalised. A lot of companies will place cameras on the ceiling or in areas as to avoid the camera being noticed. Putting the cameras at the right height will capture more useful footage and will detract thieves from targeting your premises over another. Placing a camera on the counter of a service station or retail store facing the customer is obvious and will detract even the spontaneous of thief and even if it doesn’t, the facial images captured will be a lot more useful than a camera mounted in the ceiling corner.

Always change the default password when installing cameras. Most people will log into the Network Video Recorder (NVR) and change the password there, but most people don’t realise that the cameras themselves have passwords too. It is very easy for some cameras to be picked up through the internet due to incorrect modem settings for your business internet. Changing your passwords will stop the cameras being accessible should your internet connection ever be incorrectly configured.

Don’t expect the cameras to produce DVD quality images when viewed remotely. Most Australian internet connections have about 0.8Mbps upload ability. This isn’t fast enough to stream a single 1080p camera at full 24 frames per second (FPS) let alone multiple cameras from the same location. If high quality video footage is required to be seen external then a fibre, NBN or wireless internet solution will be required. ADSL and Cable (HFC) internet is not recommended should you wish to monitor cameras externally. Ensuring you have enough data allowance on these connections is essential also. You will need to calculate the required data before enabling remote access to prevent bill shock from your internet provider. 3G/4G is generally very expensive to monitor cameras frequently.

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The Network Video Recorder (NVR) should have plenty of storage for storing your footage, and most modern devices will allow you to backup either to an external drive or cloud storage service for long term storage. Depending on the purpose of your system and what it is designed to protect will dictate how long you will need to store your footage. A reputable company will provide suggestions based on the knowledge they have of your business. Setting cameras to record on motion rather than all the time will save an extensive amount of storage space, which means longer periods of stored footage.

When recording CCTV footage at night the distance at which a camera can capture a clear image varies. This is where CCTV illuminators can assist your cameras in capturing clearer images. When choosing an illuminator ensure that you don't choose a low quality illuminator. There are only a few companies in the world that manufacture high quality illuminators that are effective at their job.

If you would like to install a CCTV system in your business give us a call today, we can handle everything from supplying the system to installing and maintaining it.

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