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Video Surveillance Tricks

Surveillance systems installed at your home or business help to enhance your security by allowing you to keep any eye on your property. They can aid in keeping your loved ones safe, as well as potentially deter criminals from targeting you. And after installation, there are ways to make the most of your surveillance system. Review these tricks to enhance your security.

  • Learn The Ins & Outs

Security cameras have different features, so it is important that you choose one that suits your needs. It is also imperative that you learn what your surveillance cameras can do by reading manuals and watching tutorials as necessary.

  • Get The Mobile App

Most surveillance systems have an accompanying app which allows you to access your feed and manage your system remotely, as well as provide alerts. Without it, you miss out on these great opportunities to enhance your security.

  • Register For E-Mail Alerts

When motion or suspicious activity is detected, you will be notified via e-mail which may be accompanied by video footage.

  • Register For Text Alerts

For even faster access, sign up for text alerts. You’ll get essentially the same alert you would via e-mail, but in a text.

  • Choose The Right Cameras

As mentioned, it is important to choose cameras with the right features and functions that will cater to your specific surveillance needs. For example, night vision cameras are great for areas that need around the clock monitoring, and day/night cameras are great for outdoor use where lighting can vary. There are a multitude of security cameras on the market with a variety of features so you are sure to find the ones that suit your needs.

  • Petsit & Babysit

Indoor security cameras can give you peace of mind when it comes to pets and older children who may be home alone.

  • Understand Privacy Mode

If you want to record but don’t want the recordings to be visible remotely, you can turn on privacy mode.

  • Set Scheduled Times

Rather than setting your security camera on motion detection only, you can set the times you want your system to record. You can watch the footage in real-time or at a later date, either on the web or your mobile device.

  • Manage Your Cameras Remotely

As mentioned, you can manage your camera system remotely via an app installed on a PC or smart device.

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If you need helping choosing a new security camera system for your home or business, please feel free to contact us! You can browse our stock online or give us a call 888-203-6294 to speak with one of our representatives directly. Your security is our priority and we are always happy to help.

Enhance Your Home Security

Home burglaries happen more often that we would like to think. While we want to protect our home, families, and our possessions, our security measures may be lacking. Here are some ways you can enhance your safety and secure your home.

Landscape
Walk around your property to identify and eliminate potential hiding spots for thieves. Clear away any overgrown areas and maintain your landscape.

Police
Speak with your local police department as they can offer insight on break-in trends in your area.

Neighbors
Take the time to get to know your neighbors and engage with people in your neighborhood. You can use each other as allies to watch for any suspicious activities or keep a look out when you’re away.

Lighting
Outdoor lighting can play a key role in your home security. Installing motion-sensor lights around your property can enhance your safety and prevent your home from being targeted by thieves. For indoor lighting, you may want to consider implementing timers or smart light bulbs that can be controlled remotely. This will allow you to make it appear as if you are home even when you’re away.

Shopping
Online shopping is convenient, but can also draw the attention of thieves. To deter porch pirates, have your packages sent elsewhere or require a signature for delivery. In addition, your trash may give away that you recently purchased a new computer or flat-screen television. Be sure to break down boxes and keep your trash inconspicuous.

Safety Routine
Establish a routine of regularly locking all doors, shutting windows, and arming your alarm system when you leave your home. And avoid leaving a spare key outside as thieves are privy to common hiding spots. Instead, leave a spare with a trusted friend or neighbor.

Visibility
Be sure that you can see who is at your front door without opening it, whether it be through a peephole, window, or a video doorbell. Do not place valuables where they can be seen from the street and keep your alarm system panel out of sight from windows so that people outside cannot see you arming it.

Outdoor Valuables
Anything outdoors is an easier steal. Sheds, garages, and other outdoor buildings are prime targets, as they are usually easier to access and contain valuables. Be sure to secure your grill, lawn mower, bicycles, and other outdoor gear.

Vacation
Going away? Hold your mail and deliveries, and ask a friend or neighbor to remove flyers from your property. If it’s for an extended period of time, arrange for snow removal and lawn mowing to keep up the appearance that you are home.

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Browse our stock of quality surveillance equipment and security cameras online at SecurityCamExpert.com. Contact us at 888-203-6294 to request a free quote or schedule a site survey.

What Is FRT?

By now, we have all heard about facial recognition technology and how it is becoming more commonplace in our everyday lives. But do you really know how it works and its benefits?

Facial recognition technology (FRT) analyzes the unique features of a person’s face to verify their identity. This advanced technology can be used as identification authentication to protect sensitive areas or information. As this technology continues to advance, we will see an increase in reliability and application.

Learn more about the different types of FRT:

  • Traditional
    Traditional FRT uses a photo or image of a face to analyze the basic geometry of the features. After analyzing, the features are cross-referenced against a database of different faces.
  • 3-Dimensional (3D)
    A more sophisticated technology, 3D FRT uses 3D sensors and cameras at various angles. The 3D sensors capture the shape and contours of the face, while cameras capture traditional FRT data. Both data sets are merged to create a comprehensive understanding of the face, including different facial expressions. Then this data is cross-referenced with the database.
  • Surface Texture Analysis
    Surface Texture Analysis takes an image of a patch of skin (also known as a skin print). The skin print is then segmented and turned into measurable space with complex algorithms. It is then analyzed for any lines, pores, or interesting characteristics. This technology is used in tandem with traditional and 3D FRT and can distinguish between identical twins.
  • Thermal
    Thermal FRT uses more advanced cameras, but has the same basic concept as other FRT. This technology uses both traditional and thermal cameras to create facial recognition in low visibility scenarios.

As you can imagine, all the different types of FRT can be used to ensure heightened security in places housing highly sensitive data as well as keeping unknown persons away from private property. Share your own thoughts about FRT and its future with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Keep an eye on your property with quality security cameras from SecurityCamExpert.com. Let us help you choose the right surveillance system to suit your needs and we can take care of the installation, too! To learn more about our products and services, please call 888-203-6294.

Get Ready For Fall

The Fall Season is upon us and it’s a great time to review these safety tips to help you transition from the summer to shorter days and cooler autumn nights.

  • Check around the furnace before turning on the heat for the first time – always be sure that there is nothing flammable around it. Also, before winter arrives, have your furnace inspected. And for your own reference, be sure that the flame is blue, not yellow or orange. And check the pipe from the furnace to the chimney for rust spots and ensure that both ends are securely connected. If you have radiators, be sure to remove anything that’s sitting on top of them before the heat turns on.
  • Choose light-colored clothing for your kids so that they are more easily seen by drivers. On Halloween, it’s especially important to ensure your kids can be seen. Equip them with a flashlight and glow stick, and if their costume is dark, add some reflective stickers or tape.
  • Remember to change batteries when you “fall back.” It’s a good rule of thumb to replace batteries for smoke alarms and CO detectors twice a year when the time changes (or when the alarm “chirps” for low battery).
  • Practice a family fire escape plan. Don’t have one? Now is the time to devise and practice one. Again, this escape plan should be practiced at least twice a year.
  • Use space heaters safely. Keep any combustibles “three feet from the heat” or “a meter from the heater.” If you’re using a fuel-powered heater, allow fresh air to circulate by opening a door or window slightly. And remember to turn off your heater when you leave the house and before you go to bed.
  • Add outdoor lighting to dark places. Not only will this deter intruders, but it can help to protect against falls. Motion sensor lights are especially beneficial around doors and near steps.
  • Clean out your gutters weekly. If your gutters are hard to reach, you can install a leaf guard to keep most of the leaves out.
  • Have your chimney inspected before you fire it up. If you use your chimney yearly, you should have it cleaned every year to prevent a chimney fire. And if your chimney needs repair, leave it to the professionals.
  • Get your car ready for the winter. Aside from checking tires and fluid levels, you should stock your car trunk with winter essentials. You can benefit from having a blanket, hat, gloves, a bag of salt, sand, or non-clumping kitty litter for traction, extra windshield fluid, and ice scraper, and shovel. In case you get stuck, you should have a brightly colored cloth on hand to tie to your antenna, along with snacks (granola bars, unsalted canned nuts) and bottled water (keep them at about two-thirds full in case they freeze).

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Visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com to shop our stock of quality security cameras and surveillance equipment. You may also contact us at 888-203-6294 to learn more about our products and services and to request a free quote.

Avoid These Home Security Blunders

We all like to think that we implement smart and effective home security measures, but unfortunately, there are vulnerabilities that we often overlook. It may be time to reevaluate your home security and beware of these common home security mistakes.

  • Overestimating Door Frame Strength
    There’s more to door security than a high quality deadbolt lock. When someone kicks down a door, it’s usually the door frame that gives way. Easily reinforce your door frame by using long (3-4 inch screws) to hold the strike plates in place instead of short screws. This is a quick, easy, and cost-effective security measure that can greatly improve your home security.
  • “Hiding” A Spare Key
    It’s the oldest trick in the book that even casual burglars are privy to. If losing your keys or getting locked out is more common for you than normal, try leaving a spare key with a trusted neighbor or friend close by. Or you can invest in a biometric (fingerprint) or digital keycode lock for your exterior doors.
  • Not Securing Garages & Sheds
    Do you lock your garage or shed? If you answered no, you are not alone. Garages and sheds house many valuable things that are often targeted by thieves, so it would be wise to invest in locks to secure these areas.
  • Neglecting Second Floor Security
    You may not bother securing your second floor, but remember, if there’s a will there’s a way. Burglars have used deck railing to reach a second story window, or some have even used the ladder stored in that unlocked shed to gain access. Remember to lock those windows and lock up your ladder.
  • Leaving Home Security Systems Unarmed
    So you’ve gone so far as to install a home security system, but what’s the use if you continually forget to set it? Make arming your system a habit at night and when you’re away. And remember, change the default code that came with the system and create hard-to-guess security codes.

Do you have any stories, experiences, or other tips to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Your security is our priority. Contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com to learn more about our products and installation services, site surveys, or to request a FREE quote!

Campus Surveillance & Security Measures

As students head back to school, it is important to consider campus security and how we can keep our children safe. Surveillance camera systems on campus are important assets in helping to make schools safer – here’s why.

Deter Crime
The mere presence of security cameras is known to reduce criminal activity. Bottom line, surveillance poses a risk of getting caught and criminals simply don’t want that.

Prevent Vandalism & Theft
Because schools and campuses have predictable off hours, it is easy for vandals and thieves to target them. However, strategically placed security cameras and alarm systems can help to prevent this type of activity.

Eliminate Unauthorized Intruders
By monitoring and evaluating surveillance footage, you can more easily identify persons that do not belong in the area.

Monitor Entrances, Exits & Corridors
Since foot traffic is high during the school day, most entrances and exits must remain unlocked, making them vulnerable to intruders. Keeping an eye on these, as well as hallways and corridors, will help identify who is or has been on school property as well as what they did or are doing there.

Visitor Monitoring
Any visitor can pose a potential threat, and surveillance camera footage can keep track of that. Having eyes on the situation allows for quick response if any misbehavior or misconduct occurs.

We carry a wide variety of security cameras and surveillance packages for your home, school, or business. Visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our stock, or call 888-203-6294 to schedule a site survey or request a free quote. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Security Cameras: Analog Versus IP

Whether you are looking to upgrade your analog security cameras, or you are shopping for a new security system, it’s important to know the differences between analog and IP cameras to determine which type will best suit your needs. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of cameras – be sure to review these before making a final decision.

Advantages of Analog Cameras

  • Cost: If you have an existing analog system, it is obviously cheaper to stick with it. If you are on the market for security system, analog cameras are often significantly cheaper, and if you need to add more cameras, analog is likely the more cost-effective option.
  • Availability: You will have an easier time finding vendors and installers for analog system since they have been around for years and are fairly simple to install.
  • Simplicity: Speaking of, analog cameras offer an ease of use that make them very user friendly. The cameras send recordings to a DVR (digital video recorder), which then converts the analog to digital and stores it. And managing and using DVRs is simple as well.
  • Technology: The technology used with analog has greatly improved over the years. High definition (HD) analog offers improved picture quality and resolution.

Disadvantages Of Analog Cameras

  • Frame Rate & Image Quality: Analog cameras have a lower frame rate than IP cameras, so if you’re monitoring an area with lots of motion or need extreme detail, they are not ideal. Analog images are not as sharp and may appear grainy or blurry, and you cannot digitally zoom as you can with IP cameras. However, depending on the type of surveillance you need in a given area, high frame rate may not be a crucial factor.
  • Less Coverage: Covering a certain amount of area may require more analog cameras than it would with IP cameras.
  • More Cables: Analog cameras require a power cable and a DVR cable, whereas IP cameras only require one cable.
  • No Encryption: The lack of encryption leaves you at risk for a hacker to potentially access your information or replace your signal with an outside one.

Advantages of IP Cameras

  • Multiple Sensors: IP cameras can cover a larger area because they can contain as many as three to four cameras in one. All of these become one signal and are transferred through one cable to your system.
  • Cost: Early on, the price difference between analog and IP cameras were drastic. Luckily, the prices have gone down and many IP cameras boast cost-effective prices. Also, because fewer IP cameras are required to the do same job as multiple analog cameras, your investment can be more beneficial.
  • Installation: IP cameras only require one cable per camera and allow you to focus and zoom remotely. So long as your camera is installed at the right angle, you can easily control and manage your video feed from your workstation.
  • Resolution: IP cameras have better image quality than analog cameras, and are available with different resolutions and aspect ratios to suit your needs.
  • Intelligence & Analytics: IP cameras offer the ability to compress and store videos as well as provide a variety of different analytics. Some types of analytics you can program include motion or smoke detection, people counting, color tracking, and more.
  • Security: IP video is encrypted and authenticated to ensure secure transmission.
  • Equipment: IP camera systems require less equipment (analog requires more cables as well as an encoder and decoder).
  • Open Platform: IP cameras are essentially universal and make it easy to add new features and functions to your system.

Disadvantages Of IP Cameras

  • Cost Of Initial Set-Up: Upfront pricing may be more initially, but it can pay off in the long run. Once set up, it is must easier to tailor and scale your system as needed in the future.
  • Storage: Since IP cameras produce higher resolution images, they generate larger files which require more storage space.
  • Learning Curve: There is a user interface that end users may need to get accustomed to. While it is mostly intuitive, there is a certain level of technicality that needs to be learned.

From Analog To IP
If you are making the switch from analog to IP, here are some helpful tips.

  • Bring in an independent consultant. You may have unrealistic expectations for your cameras that do not fit their capabilities, and an impartial party can help you see that.
  • Replace as you can. If budget is not an issue, switching out your entire analog system for IP cameras at once is feasible. However, many of us have limited budgets, so replacing a few cameras at a time may be more practical. In doing so, you are creating a hybrid system, which supports both analog and IP cameras. Start by replacing the most important cameras to IP and create a plan for switching the rest of the analog cameras as they run their course.
  • Find an installer/vendor that specializes in IP systems. It is beneficial to work with someone who understands the technology and networking of the system and is capable of installing your system properly and advising you on how to use it.
  • Discuss what you really need. Just because IP cameras provide a wide range of capabilities does not mean you necessarily need all of them. Determine what you want your cameras to accomplish, what you really need, and how your budget can help you carry out your vision.
  • Revisit your security plan. When making the switch, it is the ideal time for you to revise your security plans and reevaluate your approach.

What other transition tips can you think of? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

If you need help choosing IP security cameras, or would like to request a site survey or free quote, please call us at 888-203-6294. You can also browse our stock of quality security cameras online at SecurityCamExpert.com.

What You Need To Know About Cloud Cameras

What are cloud cameras and why should you invest in them?

A cloud-based security camera, or cloud camera, is a security camera that is closely related to the IP camera. Both cloud and IP cameras connect to the internet, however, with cloud cameras, you need not assign IP addresses to each camera. Cloud cameras make it simple – all they need is a power cord and an Ethernet cable and you’re set. Cloud cameras will come with software or an app that enables streaming and remote camera management via smart device or computer.

On the upside, cloud cameras offer excellent benefits for users. First of all, these cameras are extremely easy to set up as they essentially plug-and-play. They are compact, affordable and accessible.

Cloud-based cameras also allow you to access your video feed virtually anytime from any place. While IP cameras can also provide this benefit, they require a bit more extensive set up to ensure proper performance and security.

In addition, cloud cameras boast automatic updates, device software improvements, and security vulnerability patching. Maintaining any additional hardware and software is no longer a worry.

With these advantages come some disadvantages. Cloud cameras come with monthly fees and limited functionality depending on how much you are willing to pay. And your provider may raise prices at any time, thus you must pay the higher price or purchase a different camera.

Privacy concerns and security risks are another factor, as your video feed is available on an external server. Also, because your cloud camera will be constantly sending data over the internet, it can slow down connection for other internet activities. For those in areas with slow service or data caps, cloud cameras may not be a feasible option.

The important thing to remember is that there are numerous security cameras with different features on the market. You should evaluate your needs and research different types of cameras to determine which type is right for you. If you need some help or have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294. You can also browse our selection of top quality security cameras at cost-effective prices online at SecurityCamExpert.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Back To School Safety

As summer vacation draws to a close, back to school season is here again. If your children have started school, or will start school shortly, be sure to review and apply these school safety guidelines from the National Safety Council.

Transportation Safety
Proper safety precautions are crucial for the trip to and from school. You want to ensure that your kids arrive at school and return home in one piece.

• Walkers
Review family’s walking safety rules and practice walking to school with your child.

• Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available. When walking on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic.
• Before you cross the street, stop and look left, right, and left again to see if cars are coming. Proceed if the roadway is clear.
• Make eye contact with drivers before crossing and always cross streets at crosswalks or intersections.
• Stay alert and avoid distracted walking.

• Bike Riders
Teach your child the rules of the road and practice riding the bike route to school with your child.

• Ride bikes on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in a single file.
• Come to a complete stop before crossing the street and, when clear, walk bikes across the street.
• Stay alert and avoid distracted riding.
• Make sure your child always wears a properly fitted helmet and bright clothing.

• Bus Riders
Teach your children school bus safety rules and practice with them.

• Go to the bus stop with your child to teach them the proper way to get on and off the bus.
• Teach your children to stand 6 feet (or three giant steps) away from the curb.
• If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, teach him or her to walk on the side of the road until they are 10 feet ahead of the bus. Your child and the bus driver should always be able to see each other.

• Driving Your Child To School
Stay alert and avoid distracted driving.

• Obey school zone speed limits and follow your school’s drop-off procedure.
• Make eye contact with children who are crossing the street.
• Never pass a bus loading or unloading children.
• The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children – stop far enough back to allow them to safely enter and exit the bus.

• Teen Drivers
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Fortunately, there are ways to decrease this risk.

• Crashes can be attributed to teens’ inexperience. Practice with new drivers every week, before and after they get their license.
• Set a good example by driving the way you want your teen to drive.
• Set up an agreement between you and your teen driver that helps define rules and expectations of both parties. As time goes on, responsibilities and restrictions can be adjusted accordingly. This is sometimes referred to as a Parent-Teen Agreement or New Driver Deal.

School Safety
Many School-related injuries are completely preventable. Here are some ways to ensure your child’s safety at school.

• Backpacks
Your child’s backpack should have ergonomically designed features to enhance safety and comfort.

• Ask your children to use both straps when wearing their backpack to even distribute the weight on their shoulders.
• Don’t overstuff a backpack – Backpacks should weigh no more than 5% to 10% of your child’s body weight.
• Rolling backpacks should be used cautiously since they can create a trip hazard in crossed school hallways.

Playgrounds & Sports

• To reduce strangulation hazards on playgrounds, keep necklaces and jackets with drawstrings at home.
• A few bumps and bruises can be expected when your child plays sports, but head injuries should never be ignored.

Share your back to school safety tips with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Shop our stock of quality CCTV security cameras and surveillance equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To learn more about our products and services, or to request a free quote or site survey, please call 888-203-6294.

Summer Travel & Cyber Security

Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, cyber security is important and essential. You should always do your best to safeguard your personal data, but business travelers should take extra precaution as both personal and business data may be at risk. Before you leave, be sure to review and apply these smart cyber security tips.

Lock Devices
Most devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets) have a security setting that enables you to lock your device using a PIN number or fingerprint ID. You should enable this on every device. In addition, you should change the PIN numbers you regularly use. Should your devices be temporarily misplaced or forgotten, this will be the first line of defense against a security breach.

Be Cautious Of Public Wi-Fi
If you are traveling abroad, the laws and regulations that govern cyber security are typically not the same as those in the United States. Although free Wi-Fi access can be very appealing, it can be particularly vulnerable to security issues.

Avoid any unencrypted Wi-Fi networks – ask the hotel about its security protocol before connecting. Be extra cautious using Internet cafes and free Wi-Fi hotspots. If you must use them, avoid accessing personal accounts or sensitive data while connected to that network.

Disable Auto-Connect
If your phone has a setting which allows your device to automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks as you pass through them, turn it off before you leave. It can be convenient when you are at home, but it is not something you should allow while traveling.

Disable Bluetooth Connectivity
Along with your Wi-Fi connectivity, you should also disable Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth signals can come from anywhere, and if left on, nearby assailants can connect to your phone and potentially hack into your device.

Minimize Location Sharing
When traveling, it may be tempting to share your experiences in real time on social networks. The problem with this is that it creates a security threat at home. Knowing where you are helps criminals determine that you’re not in your hotel room or at home, leaving these areas vulnerable to physical intrusion. Limit what you post online or save it until after you have returned home to minimize potential threats.

Install Anti-Virus Protection
One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep personal and company information secure while traveling is to utilize anti-virus protection. Choose a trusted brand of security and be sure to regularly update this software as new versions become available.

Update Operating Systems
Much like anti-virus software, your operating system should be kept up-to-date. This also applies to apps on your phone, especially those which you use regularly to conduct financial or personal business.

Update Passwords
Password management is ever important, so if you are going to travel, be sure to change all of the passwords you regularly use. If you must create a PIN for a safe or security box in a hotel room, make sure it’s unique and not something you commonly use. Don’t skimp on password creation either. Take the time to create something that will keep a criminal out of your personal property. Once you return home, you can changes all the passwords back.

In addition to these tips, you should also review the laws and regulations governing cyber security in each country you plan to visit. Be aware of your surroundings, networks, and devices to reduce the risk of cyber threats. Share your own cyber security tips with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a comprehensive selection of quality IP and HD security cameras to suit your budget and needs, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For questions or to request a free quote, please call 888-203-6294.

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