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Video surveillance is the use of closed circuit or CCTV cameras to view and record actions in specific areas of a building, outside property, a highway, a vehicle such as a train or a bus, or on a body-worn camera. Companies use CCTV cameras for security to determine if unauthorized people or vehicles are entering a property, if theft or vandalism occurs, or to monitor the behavior of employees or visitors. The police use body-worn cameras or dash cameras to record incidents of apprehension which protect both the officers and the suspect.

But how do video surveillance cameras work?

The cameras send signals through network cables to an NVR (Network Video Recorder) in the Security Room which then sends the signals to the CCTV monitor. Normally, there would be about 16 images per monitor. The operator can click on any image to bring it to full screen. They can then go back and view recorded images to determine what happened before the live view. Often the VMS (Video Management System) will have automatic alarms set for line crossing, intrusion into restricted areas, detection of blacklisted faces, a vehicle travelling the wrong way, an alert from the access control system, and the like.

Recordings are normally stored for 30 days at a speed of 30 frames per second (FPS). Some systems record fewer frames per second to increase retention. NVR’s contain hard disc drives which range from 1 Terabyte to 10 Terabytes per drive. Advanced NVR’s can compress images by recoding only the changes in an image. The latest compression algorithm, H265+, allows twice as much storage as the old H264 compression.

Companies that need longer retention periods migrate data to a Network Attached Storage Device or the Cloud through storage services like AWS and Microsoft Azure. CCTV systems can also integrate with Access Control, Intrusion Detection, and Fire Detection Systems to activate cameras when a door, intrusion sensor or fire sensor is triggered.

What’s the difference between Analog and IP cameras?

Previously, most surveillance cameras were based on analog signals called DVR CCTVAnalog security products are much simpler, making it easier to set up and maintain. To fulfil the same security needs, an analog solution is usually more cost-effective than an IP solution.

The more modern IP Camera transmits via network cables to NVR’s or NVR CCTV.  NVR’s contain VMS which allow security personnel to manipulate images. They can also use analytics to identify people or events using facial recognition, license plate recognition, line crossing, and the like. Compared with the traditional analog setup, an IP-based system does so much more. You have better image quality, higher resolution and tons of advanced features including Artificial Intelligence. It also requires fewer devices and considerably fewer cables.

How should I choose which camera to buy?

In general, cameras are classified by use. A dome camera or mini CCTV camera is mostly used for indoors. It is less intrusive and considered more aesthetic than its counterparts. Bullet cameras are usually weatherproof so they are suitable for outdoor use. PTZ Cameras (Pan, Tilt and Zoom) are used to cover larger areas as they are able to move the focus and direction. Normally, the PTZ camera would be preset to pan across an area but an operator can override and zoom in on an incident.

Another factor to consider is camera resolution. Security cameras act as both a deterrent and a record of untoward incidents. But it is only with high-resolution video cameras and Analytical Software that you can properly identify who or what is responsible.

The CCTV camera resolution is rated between 1.0 and 5.0 Mega Pixels (MP). It is even higher for critical sites like in banks and casinos. Did you know that a casino camera can read the numbers on a card from the ceiling? If you don’t need that kind of resolution, 2.0MP resolution is currently the standard. That will move higher as technology advances and becomes more affordable. Some buildings use a 4.0 or 5.0 MP camera at entrances and exterior where the distance is long, then 2.0 MP for the interior.

So what should you be looking for in a CCTV supplier?

It is best to get a professional supplier-installer who can do a survey to determine the sensitive areas of your site, both outdoor and indoor. They can determine the type and resolution of each camera for each specified area. You can also get advice on the most optimal recording, storage and wiring requirements and proceed with CCTV installation.

Many buyers believe that the best CCTV cameras are made in the US, Europe or Korea. Pelco, Axis and Hanwa Techwin are among the well-known high-end manufacturers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a high-quality reasonably-priced CCTV from Hikvison or Dahua, two of the biggest suppliers in the world. A good integrator should be able to give you a custom-designed CCTV package with installation that will match your requirements.

One incident of theft or malicious damage is too many. HMR Solutions can help you find the best solution for your business! HMR Solutions installs Hanwha Techwin Korea (formerly Samsung) CCTV, Hikvison CCTV, Dahua Cameras and Uniview.  We can assess, design and install a system package with the best CCTV camera to meet your budget and security needs.

Check out our brands to see the product catalogues. Or contact us for a free, no-obligation assessment.

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