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Security Camera and Surveillance Trends

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.

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.

Workplace Surveillance

Some may argue that video surveillance in the workplace can be an invasion of privacy. However, as long as employee privacy is respected and existing surveillance laws are abided by, it can actually benefit both the employer and employees. Aside from decreasing misconduct and increasing safety, workplace surveillance has its advantages.

  • Reduce Risk Of Employee Theft & Fraud

Employee theft, also known as “shrinkage,” is a growing problem for businesses. It is a bigger threat than identity theft and cyber fraud according to the FBI. In addition, fraud by employees is still a major issue, mainly for businesses in the financial and retail sector.

Video surveillance systems work to combat these issues, providing a way to keep a watchful eye over employees while producing video evidence when necessary.

  • Improve Operations & Productivity

Businesses thrive on success and profits, therefore, anything that can increase productivity and improve operations is good thing. Installing security cameras in the workplace influences employees to stay on task, thus, plays a role in productivity and efficiency.

  • Ward Off Illegal Visitors

Security cameras not only safeguard the business, but work to keep employees safe and protected. An effective surveillance system will help deter intruders and provide video evidence should a break-in or other incident occur. Security cameras can also monitor the different visitors your business has throughout the day.

  • Enhance Safety

Workplace safety is expected and non-negotiable. All employees should feel safe in the workplace and security cameras can enhance that feeling. When safety measures are blatantly disregarded, management can review these instances and deal with them accordingly to prevent any unnecessary accidents in the future.

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Whether you’re looking for a surveillance system for your home or business, let us help you! Visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call us at 888-203-6294 for more information or to request a FREE quote!

Hiding Security Cameras

Despite the presence of security cameras being a visual deterrent for potential burglars, some home owners would rather conceal their surveillance system. When security cameras are present, intruders may often attempt to damage or disable them, so hiding them may help to keep them safe. Visible security cameras can also be an eyesore, and may make it a bit awkward when you have guests over.

However, if you’re going to conceal your security cameras, be sure to abide by the laws in your country and state. To be safe, you may want to consult with an attorney about legalities and the specific ways you plan to use your hidden cameras.

Here are some clever ways you can hide your security cameras.

  • Plants
    Whether real or fake, hiding a camera in a potted plant is a great idea. Plants are a great way to liven up a room and not many would suspect to find a camera hiding there. Just be sure that the view is not obstructed by leaves or other parts of the plant.
  • Bookshelf
    Not many burglars dart to the bookshelf when breaking and entering. You can place a small camera in a section that is rarely accessed, or even toward the top shelf for a better viewing angle.
  • Birdhouse
    For outdoor security, you can hide a security camera in a birdhouse. Because there is often a restricted view with this, be sure to aim the birdhouse at the area you wish to monitor.
  • Box Of Tissues
    Many of us keep tissue boxes around the house so why not hide cameras in there? You can make necessary holes in the box to hide the camera, and position as many as necessary around the home.
  • Plush Toy
    This is a popular choice for nanny cams as you often find plush toys in the child’s bedroom or play rooms. Some hidden cameras are sold as plush toys, or you can do-it-yourself at home. Simply cut a small hole in the back of the toy, position the camera inside the head with the lens aligned with one of the eyes, support the camera with the stuffing and sew up the hole.

Do you have any other hidden camera locations to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For the best selection of indoor and outdoor security cameras and surveillance equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Aside from our surveillance systems, we also offer installations services, site surveys, and free quotes – call 888-203-6294 to speak with one of our experts today!

Video Surveillance For Businesses

Installing a video surveillance system for your business protects your employees, customers, inventory, and your business itself. Understandably, such an important asset can take a considerable amount of time and money when it comes to shopping, deciding, installing and implementing a comprehensive security solution. If you’re on the fence on whether or not to purchase and install a video surveillance system for your business, review some of these priceless benefits you can enjoy.

  • Reduce & Prevent Theft
    Strategically placed security cameras can prevent vandalism and theft. Year after year, companies lose thousands due to theft, whether internal or external. By installing surveillance videos, you can deter bad behavior or collect evidence when needed.
  • Real-Time Monitoring
    Most modern cameras allow for remote video monitoring. This can be extremely helpful for business owners who are not always on site. In addition, approved employees can monitor critical areas of the property, enabling continuous surveillance. If you have multiple locations, you can connect all the cameras to the same network, allowing you to keep an eye on every location remotely.
  • Improve Productivity
    The presence of security cameras can influence employees to be efficient and on their best behavior. The cameras can also improve communication between different locations and departments, which can boost productivity overall.
  • Resolve Business Disputes
    Much like cameras can provide evidence for thefts or vandalism, video footage can prove valuable when a dispute arises as well. Managers can reference video footage along with firsthand accounts to find out what happened in order to come to a fair resolution. Security cameras can also play a role in reducing workplace violence.
  • Provide Evidence For Investigations
    As mentioned, video surveillance footage can provide evidence when an incident occurs. By reviewing the footage when criminal or suspicious activity occurs, you can potentially identify the persons involved. And you may submit footage to authorities as needed.
  • Make Digital Storage
    In relation to reviewing footage, digital storage makes it much easier to search and find footage when needed. IP camera systems store all recorded footage digitally using a hard drive, network served or an NVR (network video recorder).
  • Improve Customer Experience
    With the use of data analytics with your surveillance, businesses can optimize store traffic patterns and improve product placement. They can also offer a better shopping experience as customers may perceive the presence of security cameras as the business caring for the safety and security of their customers and employees.
  • Save Money
    Video surveillance systems can be more affordable than hiring full-time security officers for the grounds. And thanks to advanced night vision features, most security cameras can give you peace of mind even when your business is unoccupied overnight.

Whether for your business or home, shopping for a security camera system can be overwhelming. If budget is a concern, or you are unsure of what you need, we can help. Call 888-203-6294 and we can guide you to the cameras and equipment that would best suit your needs and budget. We offer a wide variety of affordable security cameras and surveillance systems – browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You may also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Choosing The Best Battery-Powered Wireless Security Cameras

When it comes to security cameras, wireless seems to be the easiest and most convenient option. While some wireless security cameras are not always completely wire-free (most still need to be connected to a power source), battery-powered wireless security cameras are making it much easier to build a completely wireless security system. Here’s what you should look for when it comes to battery-powered wireless security cameras.

  • High Definition & Clear Quality
    This is a must for any security camera, regardless of the type. Consider what you want to monitor and look for specifications and features that will satisfy your requirements.
  • Night Vision
    Whether indoors or outdoors, if you want your surveillance around the clock, look for a battery-powered wireless camera that provides quality night vision. With these cameras, you should know that there are two types of night vision functions: infrared and starlight.Infrared is the most common and allows cameras to capture a clear vision in darkness thanks to IR LEDs built in around the camera lens. Starlight night vision has yet to gain popularity, but makes the most out of natural light to provide a crisper image than infrared.
  • Wireless Capability, Wi-Fi Range, & Internet
    Because battery-powered wireless security cameras are not tied down by a power source, you must really take the internet connection and Wi-Fi range into consideration when choosing locations. If you place your cameras in areas where there is spotty connection, your footage and overall security system could be compromised. Also, you must consider how many cameras you will be installing and whether or not your internet connection can handle it.
  • Durability
    This is especially important if you will be installing your cameras outdoors. You want to choose security cameras that are strong and durable to withstand harsh weather conditions as well as normal wear and tear over time. For outdoor cameras, look for IP66 or IP67 weatherproofing casing as these ratings provide effective protection. IP stands for Ingress Protection, and this rating is the rate of effectiveness of the enclosure of the camera against dust and water. The numbers rate the protection against dust and dirt (first) and the protection against water and moisture (second) – the higher the number, the better the protection.
  • Battery Life
    Fairly obvious, but battery life should be taken into consideration because without the battery, you have no functioning camera. Most of the cameras on the market today boast 6 months to 1 year of battery life. And most cameras deliver just that, while others do not. Be sure to pay attention to reviews and specs to ensure that you are getting what you pay for. But also, it is important to have backup batteries on standby.

What else do you look for in battery-powered security cameras? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Find a great selection of security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more when you visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Call 888-203-6294 to request a free quote or schedule a site survey today!

Restaurant Security: Night Vision Cameras

Night vision cameras offer a bit more than standard security cameras. The ability to see in low light to near darkness enables surveillance around the clock. While you may understand how this can help you feel safer at home, many businesses can also take advantage of these benefits. Here are some of the ways night vision cameras can be a great asset for restaurants.

  • Vision In Darkness
    Aside from keeping an eye on the premises overnight, night vision cameras can do their duty during late night business hours. If customers are staying late, it can help make the closing staff feel safer.
  • Easy To Install & Use
    Most night vision cameras are fairly straightforward with their design, some being plug-and-play, making them easy to install and use.
  • Central Monitoring
    Depending on your system, you should have access to any camera feed at any location at all times. If your system permits, this may even be accessible remotely via your smart device or a laptop.
  • Transferrable Feed
    Your recordings can immediately transferred to disk for long term storage. This backup allows you to review past video or share footage promptly should authorities require video evidence of an incident.
  • Prevent Theft
    The simple presence of a security camera can deter burglars from acting. However, in a restaurant setting, these things can easily be overlooked. With surveillance cameras, you may be able to improve inventory control and prevent employee theft.
  • Prevent Over-Pouring
    Along the same lines, if you have a bar in your restaurant, you can keep an eye on your bartenders. Over-pouring is way to lure customers to leave larger tips, but can leave you at a loss. If you come across this issue, you can refer to your footage and correct the problem.
  • Reduce Violence
    Whether among customer, employees, or both, security cameras can help to reduce violence or provide helpful evidence when a problem arises.Night vision cameras can also make your employees feel safe, as mentioned. Employees are happier with employers who show that they care about their safety and well-being.
  • Boost Productivity
    Security cameras in the workplace can alleviate management from the task of security as well as motivate employees and keep everyone on task.

For a wide selection of night vision cameras, surveillance system packages, and more, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

The Benefits Of Video Analytics

More and more surveillance camera systems are taking advantage of video analytics, which help to provide a better understanding of the areas being monitored. Whether they are added to your system via additional software or they are built-in to your security cameras, video analytics have advanced over time and deliver more practical and reliable performance.

Not only do video analytics improve overall security, but they can also provide valuable data for business intelligence. Here are some common and helpful video analytics functions and how they can benefit business.

  • Facial Recognition
    This function can identify individuals in real-time by cross referencing distinct characteristics against public and private databases and/or watch lists of known individuals. With that said, this function makes it easier to identify and locate wanted criminals if they are captured on smart cameras.

When it comes to casinos, for example, facial recognition can be used to detect cheaters. On the other hand, it can also be used to detect high rollers for VIP attention, or to detect high profile shoppers in a retail setting.

  • Heat Mapping
    Heat mapping measures and rates motion in a given image and uses color to portray the intensity of motion in that area. You might wonder how this data could help businesses, but there are numerous ways it does.

For example, retail stores can use heat mapping to better understand the flow of traffic. Knowing which way customers tend to travel when they enter the store (straight, left, right) can help business owners create a better floor plan. They can identify merchandising areas for optimal product placement which can then lead to increased sales. In addition, the data collected allows management to determine the high volume shopping days and times for more effective staffing and product placements.

  • People Counting
    This function is self explanatory, as it literally counts the number of people entering or exiting a specified area. This is especially useful for sports and entertainment venues as the data can help improve staffing for concession stands, ticketing areas, and entry/exit points. And since it is based on real-time data, security can better respond and allocate personnel when a large number of people quickly gather at an entrance.
  • Occupancy Estimation
    Similar to people counting, occupancy estimation can determine on average how many people are present, even at different times of day. This data can benefit any type of venue or building. For example, event planners can optimize the use of space, improve staff planning, help determine business hours, and adjust lighting and temperature conditions accordingly. And in emergency situations, security can use this data to communicate with first responders to determine the best response.
  • Tripwire/Intrusion Detection
    This acts as a virtual fence, which can detect when an object or person crosses the virtual line. When detected, security is alerted so they may assess the situation and address it right away. This can also reduce false alarms, and thus eliminate the added costs that go along with them. In warehousing and manufacturing environments, digital fencing can improve compliance by notifying personnel when people or materials cross designated work zone areas.
  • Motion Detection
    Last but not least, motion detection has already proven extremely beneficial for security purposes. Nearly every security camera is equipped with motion detection, and with reason. This function allows you to designate an area of any shape or size, and when any motion is detected within this area, you will be alerted. Museums, for example, can benefit from this technology as it can be used to determine when people are getting too close to an exhibit, or when an object is picked up or moved.

Have you employed video analytics within your surveillance systems? Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a grand selection of affordable, top quality security cameras and surveillance systems, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions, would like to request a free quote, or want to schedule a site survey, please call us at 888-203-6294 and will be happy to help.

Surveillance Camera Features

Choosing the right video surveillance system can be tough. With various technologies to consider, as well as your own personal requirements, there’s a lot to consider. For your convenience, here are some common terms and technologies to help you choose the right video surveillance system for you.

Resolution
Because of our smart, HD televisions, we are all likely familiar with resolution as well as the units used to measure it (pixels). From its beginnings at 720 pixels to 1080p, we are now up to 4K and 5K resolution, with further advancements on the horizon.

The goal for resolution is to produce the clearest image for usability. This is defined by detection, recognition and identification and generally requires 80p around the face. Previously, pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) technology was employed to get a usable image. Now that camera resolution has greatly improved, less features and cameras are necessary to create high quality video surveillance.

Frame Rate
Another term you are likely familiar with is frame rate. The minimum requirement for the HDTV standard is 30 frames per second (fps). A higher frame rate is ideal, as it will produce a smooth, clearer video, however, it may not be practical. A higher frame rate also requires more bandwidth and storage space as these tend to be larger files. In this case, you should evaluate and prioritize your needs to determine the frame rate for you.

Networks & Storage
Security cameras are a small percentage of the overall cost of a surveillance system (the cost for cables and storage quickly accumulates). With that in mind, you should figure out what you intend to do with the footage so you can make the best decision for networks and storage. For example, ask yourself if you would like to store the footage for later review, actively monitor your feed, or would you like to do both.

Once you determine your goals and how long you need to retain footage (if at all), you can figure out how much space is necessary before your data gets overwritten. Depending on your system and needs, you may be able to refine these details per camera/location as necessary.

Video Compression
Since higher frame rates lead to larger files and more required storage, video compression technology works to counter that. As it advances, it promises to reduce bandwidth and storage to provide more affordable and convenient options for consumers. Currently, H.264 and H.265 are the standard, depending on the cameras you choose.

Light Sensitivity
As you may know, extreme light levels can interfere with a security camera’s ability to capture useful images. However, low light technologies have improved and can produce images in little to no light environments. For example, ‘lightfinder’ technology enables cameras to produce color video down to below one lux (one lux is a dark room, zero lux is an absence of light).

There’s also wide dynamic range, which allows cameras to capture usable images in varying lighting conditions. This feature adjusts and filters light to prevent washed out images, and is useful for hallways and doorways that can open into bright lights.

Software
While most systems come equipped with software (which should be updated and patched regularly and as necessary), you can find and install software applications that deliver specialized features and functions that you desire. Just remember that the higher the cost of the system means more features, which can translate into more training required to learn how to use it.

If you have any questions about security cameras or need help choosing surveillance systems and equipment, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294. You may also browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com or connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Security Cameras Have Come A Long Way

It may be hard to believe, but the video camera has been around for more than 100 years (Fun fact: Thomas Edison helped develop it). A while after its inception, a handheld version was created, making cameras small enough to be out of sight. This technological advancement then spurred the beginning of video surveillance.

Before there were internet-connected cameras, there was Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). For a long time, CCTV was the security camera. CCTV security cameras were installed and directly connected to monitors. Then, you could either pay someone to monitor your camera feed or review recordings after the fact. Neither of these options was ideal – the former was costly, while the latter was not helpful in preventing incidents.

Luckily, improvements in technology have made it easier and more affordable to employ surveillance systems. We can now access live feeds from our security cameras remotely, which would not be possible without the advent of wireless security cameras and IP cameras. Here are some of the more prominent milestones of security cameras.

Streaming vs. Recording Cameras
As mentioned, most wireless security cameras these days are streaming live footage rather than using CCTV. It was about 20 years ago when IP cameras entered the market and changed the security industry. At this time, the video quality and technology were not yet up to par, but over time that changed. Continuing advancements brought forth IP cameras with high quality video along with the ability to stream online and control cameras remotely.

Hazard Detection
Video Content Analytics were first introduced about 10 years ago. The integration with security cameras enables multiple functions:

  • Motion Detection: recognizes when a image changes as new subjects enter the field of view.
  • Auto-Tracking: camera can follow a specific subject automatically.
  • Smoke/Flame Detection: recognizes hazardous conditions related to fire to possibly prevent excessive damage.
  • Tamper Recognition: camera offers real-time notification and works to suppress surrounding noises when tampering or disturbances are detected.
  • Shape Recognition: allows face recognition to automatically identify people that enter the field of view.

Laser Focusing
One of the challenges with security cameras was poor footage with dark, unfocused recordings. Fortunately, laser focusing was introduced and provides better picture and recording in limited lighting environments. Security cameras that have laser focusing deliver improved zoom and picture quality as this feature enables nearly immediate focusing via laser. Infrared technology also improves visibility in dark conditions (much like night-vision goggles).

For a great selection of quality security cameras and surveillance systems, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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