Security cameras help to protect homes, businesses and various properties from burglaries, vandalism and more. Unfortunately, if they are not installed properly, they can do more harm than good. Before you invest and install a video surveillance system on your property, review these security camera do’s and don’ts.
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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.
Video Content Analytics were first introduced about 10 years ago. The integration with security cameras enables multiple functions:
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).
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Installing video surveillance for your business may be a significant investment, but it can also provide numerous benefits. Although concerns about privacy and costs may prevent businesses from seeing their true value, many will find that business surveillance not only protects the owners, but also the employees and customers alike. Overall, a business surveillance system can prove to be a valuable asset for businesses. Here are just some of the reasons why.
In addition, businesses with video surveillance systems may be eligible for savings on insurance. The potential savings for having a security system installed may be significant and should be taken into account when determining whether or not to invest in surveillance.
If you need help choosing the right security camera system for your business or home, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our selection.
PTZ security cameras offer Pan, Tilt, and Zoom capabilities for more advanced and comprehensive surveillance. Because of their unique flexibility and broad coverage, PTZ cameras are often chosen to remotely monitor large areas such as parking lots or stadiums. If you are considering installing PTZ surveillance cameras for your property, here are some of the best PTZ camera features and benefits.
Large Field Of View
Depending on where you install your PTZ camera, it could have a 360 degree field of view. In addition, most cameras can be pre-programmed to provide specific viewing angles at pre-determined times. Pan and Tilt can also be pre-programmed. Thanks to this, PTZ cameras can do the job of a multi-camera installation, making them a cost-effective and smart alternative for large area surveillance and protection.
Most PTZ cameras come with built-in tracking which can be set to detect motion and track a person or object, automatically panning, tilting or zooming to follow the person or object as it moves. This feature can prove invaluable should a theft or vandalism occur on your property. When choosing a PTZ camera, full motion tracking capabilities is a must.
This is an important feature in nearly all security cameras, but especially in areas with poor lighting conditions. The modern, more advanced PTZ cameras can capture images in total darkness thanks to LEDs and special IR filters. The small LEDs emit infrared light, which is not visible to the human eye, but with the special IR filter, the camera sees a well lit area.
Remember that a PTZ camera that is rated for a detection range of 600 feet or more will usually be rated for a max range of 400 feet for night vision. Also, it is recommended that you set up your PTZ cameras in the same lighting conditions they will be recording in, whether dark or light.
If you will be installing PTZ cameras outdoors, they must be weatherproof. Most PTZ cameras are designed to withstand harsh elements, but it is wise to double check the specifications to ensure their durability. Weatherproof PTZ cameras can be installed in very remote locations such as rooftops or the sides of tall buildings.
PTZ security cameras have a detection ability that ranges from 150 feet (on the low end) up to 1,000 feet (on the higher end). The ability to zoom in on a person or object ranges from 12X to 36X for higher level PTZ Speed Domes. This makes them ideal for large parking lots or building tops as it allows the camera to be discreetly out of sight while still providing the option to zoom in for a better picture of what is happening.
The best place for a PTZ camera is mounted high above the ground, which enables the best view possible, a wide 360 degree range, and added protection. As mentioned, most PTZ cameras are built tough, with rigid metal housings and high-strength polycarbonate domes that are virtually shatterproof to vandals.
Most PTZ cameras have four alarm inputs, which connect to other important devices (ex. motion detectors, door contacts, glass break sensors). The camera can be programmed so that when activity occurs in a given area, other programmed activity is halted in order to zero in and record what is going on.
The good PTZ cameras will have full range auto focus built in. This ensures clarity no matter where you pan, tilt or zoom. In addition, most have an auto adjust IR LED that quickly focuses the picture when moving the camera in areas of complete darkness. This feature is almost always missing from cheaper cameras.
Because they can cover a wider area, it may be more cost-effective to install a couple PTZ cameras to monitor your property (ex. parking lots, garages) rather than implementing several fixed security cameras. You can save on both the initial cost and installation of your system.
High Definition Options
Higher end PTZ Speed Domes are also available in IP versions, which will deliver resolutions from 720i to 1080P, and with HD-SDI technology, which provides high definition video in full 1080P resolution. The HD-SDI PTZ cameras are easier to install and maintain than IP cameras since they are installed and set up exactly the same way as standard analog cameras.
These types are only recommended when you need the highest resolution images possible. They require 2-4 times as much hard drive space as regular analog security cameras and are rather expensive for large installations.
For a great selection of PTZ security cameras and other surveillance system equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Surveillance camera systems help to provide home and business owners security, protection, and peace of mind. But did you know you can use your security cameras for additional purposes? Here are some lesser known uses and benefits of security camera systems.
Some cameras come equipped with a time lapse feature which can allow you to create videos to display changes over time. These are great for construction or demolition sites, for capturing weather, nature, or wildlife.
Do you manage a barn, farm, or ranch on your property or remotely? Security cameras can save you time and travel costs by allowing you to check in on your animals remotely. And if you have pregnant livestock, you can keep an eye on the progress and possibly record the birth.
If your family is a fan of pranks, security cameras can come in handy. Features like two-way audio and alarms can startle your unsuspecting guests, and you can capture the reactions as a souvenir.
Did you know security cameras help when checking the forecast? When you see images and footage from remote areas, such as when you are checking a weather application, those are taken from strategically placed security cameras.
Whether it’s your baby’s first steps or first words, you may be able to capture it on video. If you were away when it happened, you can review it later, and you can also share the special moment with other family members and friends.
While the cost of security cameras may discourage homeowners, the benefits of having it should be considered. Aside from peace of mind, insurance agencies often offer a discount as well. And this discount can help to offset the costs of the system.
Nanny cams help to ensure that your babysitter is behaving properly and that your children are safe. On the other hand, nanny cams can also help you keep an eye on your elderly family members and caregivers to make sure your loved ones are not in danger.
Speaking of seniors, especially those who live alone, some home security systems come equipped with emergency pulls or medical alert pendants. When triggered, these instantly dispatch emergency assistance to homes.
Whether it’s the neighborhood kids or unwelcome intruders, your security cameras can help to prevent any trespassing or vandalism.
Have things gone missing or end up in random places in your home? Want to know who finished your leftovers in the refrigerator? You can review your surveillance footage to solve the mystery.
For the gardeners out there, you can set up security cameras with motion detection to monitor your goods. If squirrels, raccoons or the like are ruining your crop, you can set up your motion sensor to sound an alarm to scare off the critters.
Security camera systems enable you to have peace of mind when it comes to latchkey kids. Your system can alert you when someone enters your home, therefore, you will know when your kids get home from school. You may disarm the alarm remotely or have your children do it.
Having a surveillance system already installed in your home can increase the resale value of your home. It can also keep your home protected during the selling process as you can keep an eye on the strangers that come and go during open houses and inspections.
Let us help you choose and install the security camera system of your dreams. Browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today!
Night vision security cameras are very helpful in providing around-the-clock surveillance for homes and businesses. Their ability to see in the dark is thanks to advanced IR (infrared) surveillance technology. However, when shopping for a night vision camera, simple wording such as “infrared (IR) illumination” and “night vision” is not enough. You want to look for specific features to ensure you are choosing the best night vision security cameras.
Three important features to look for include:
The quality of your night vision security camera will be determined by these features.
IR Cut Filter
Night vision security cameras with infrared cut-off filters improve image clarity (especially in daytime) and can prevent out of focus images. The way the filter works is quite simple, yet makes all the different in video and image quality.
The IR cut filter is physically moved over the lens when daylight (white light) is detected to block out the IR light (that would affect the image quality). When the light levels drop to the point where night vision is necessary, the camera will move the lens out of the way. This “filter switch” allows the camera to pick up the same colors as the human eye to record natural looking images and results in better images overall. Without these filters, there’s no way to prevent full-spectrum light, thus, daytime images would suffer from distortion and possible loss of focus.
Powerful Illumination (IR LEDs) Beam
Simply put – the more powerful the illumination, the better the night vision will be. For example, if you are looking for outdoor cameras, you want cameras that produce something in the neighborhood of 100 ft. of IR illumination.
Before discussing IR illuminators, the Field of View (FOV) should be understood. If you think of it in terms of binoculars, the field of view is everything you see when looking into them. What you cannot see is outside of the field of view. Often times, the infrared illuminators in a night vision security camera don’t match its FOV, thus the IR-beam is not illuminating the total area captured by the lens.
For the night vision cameras with an IR illuminator narrower than the FOV, you get a bright area in the middle of the image with the darkness growing as you get further from the center (ex. the spotlight effect). This is problematic as it makes it nearly impossible to identify areas outside of the center of the image. Finding a night vision camera with an IR illuminator that is equal to the FOV may cost more, but is well worth it.
Although seeking out specifications and ensuring that night vision cameras meet your expectations and requirements seems like a tedious task, it is well worth the security and peace of mind when it comes down to it.
Need help choosing a night vision security camera? Contact us at 888-203-6294 to discuss your options. You may also browse our stock of IR night vision cameras and other surveillance equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. For the latest updates, connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Security cameras equipped with motion detection can be very helpful for home and business owners. Motion sensor cameras allow users to rest easy knowing the built-in sensors will alert them when activity is detected, eliminating the need for monitoring live feeds around the clock.
While motion detection can be very convenient, it can also prove to be a nuisance. False alarms caused by various reasons, such as pets, natural environmental changes, or even changes in lighting, can be frustrating, confusing, and a waste of time. In order for you to make the most of the motion detection feature, here’s what you need to know.
Types of Detection
While there are many different technologies that detect motion (ex. light pulses, thermal measurements, radio waves), for consumer security cameras, there are two methods that are commonly used.
Passive Infrared (PIR)
This method detects the ambient heat emitted by all living beings and is sometimes referred to as “heat vision.” The sensor is triggered when it detects enough movement of these warm “objects” and/or a significant temperature disparity between the object and the background scene. When triggered, it signals the security camera to start recording, and thus, the user is alerted.
Computer Vision (CV)
This approach involves camera software that analyzes sequential frames of live video for differences and registers a motion event when a significant change is detected. With that said, CV includes many different methods, which depend on the desired outcome and technical preference of the designers.
Of these methods, one of the easiest involves looking for a significant change in pixels over short periods of time compared to the longer term average. This will produce a simple ‘something happened’ signal. Another method tracks groups of pixels and tries to identify directional patterns in order to recognize moving objects.
What all of these methods have is common is the end goal – to detect motion and, if possible, determine the shape of the object that moved. Once that goal is achieved, more advanced methods can be applied to classify the moving object (ex. person, animal, vehicle, tree) to determine which detection signals are important (ex. person or vehicle) or irrelevant and can be dismissed (ex. animal or tree).
Pros & Cons
Of course, false alarms are one of the most frustrating downsides to motion detection. Luckily, manufacturers are aware of this and offer different ways to reduce these instances.
Motion detection is still a work in progress, and at this point, you likely get what you pay for. The good news is that our technologies are always improving, thus, motion detection has the potential for greatness on the future.
Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our wide selection of affordable CCTV security cameras and surveillance packages. Call 888-203-6294 to request a site survey or free quote today!
Security cameras offer great benefits for various settings. From protecting your business or property to keeping an eye on nursing homes or daycare centers, surveillance camera systems can be incredibly helpful.
The extensive surveillance market is like a double-edged sword. While there is likely a security solution for nearly every need, sorting through the options to find the best security solution for you can be seemingly endless. However, with the proper approach and assistance, you can find a suitable surveillance system in a timely manner.
When shopping for security camera systems, it is best to evaluate your needs and research which solutions may better suit you. For example, choosing between wired or wireless security cameras can be determined by weighing their advantages and disadvantages, while understanding how these can play into your specific requirements.
To help you choose which is better for you, here are some basic pros and cons of both wired and wireless security cameras.
Wired Security Cameras
Wireless Security Cameras
Other things to consider include the structure of your property or building and the location of power sources. While some may prefer strictly wired solutions, and others choose wireless, it is possible to create a hybrid system, incorporating both wired and wireless cameras. It is best to consider different options before deciding on a security system.
Let us help you create the best security camera system. Browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to discuss your options. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
There’s something to be said about low-light security cameras. Because lighting conditions in different environments are not always ideal for surveillance, low-light security cameras enable us to capture respectable footage in these situations. And with new technology, the quality of low-light camera images has vastly improved.
But before you invest in low-light security cameras for your home or business, here are some important facts and tips to know to make the most of your security systems.
Here’s some important information in order to make the most of your security systems.
First and foremost, you should know the related terms you may come across:
All of these terms refer to the same classification of surveillance cameras. And while some of these terms are trademarked by manufacturers, the most commonly used terms for these cameras are “low-light” and “day/night.”
How It Works
Despite the sometimes confusing terminology, the basic components remain the same for all low-light cameras: a lens and sensor and some level of image processing. And to be clear, low-light cameras are different than thermal cameras (which track heat rather than motion or images) or cameras with IR illuminators.
A majority of low-light cameras use an IR cut filter, which is a mechanical filter that sits between the lens and the sensor (CMOS chip). The name is derived from its ability to “cut out” or filter out IR illumination during the day to improve color quality. At night, as available light diminishes, it slides out of the way to allow more light to get the sensor, thus improving low-light video quality. In order to help the video quality, it is also captured in black and white. In most cameras the filter is mechanically driven by an algorithm, however, some cameras allow manual control.
Because nearly all the cameras contain IR cut filters, it comes down to the lens and the processing to set these items apart from one another. The lens transmits light to the sensor and then the data on the sensor is processed by a processor. The variance among cameras is often in the optics. You want to be sure that both the lens and the sensor are of great quality, otherwise the potential for stellar images will be wasted.
Aside from the optics, processing is an important factor in determining the best low-light camera for you. Most manufacturers employ the same OEM processor yet make their own adjustments to them. The ability to control the tuning of an image is crucial as the tuning of an image during daylight will likely not hold up at night or in complete darkness.
Pay close attention to image toning, noise suppression, and the ability to maintain color and contrast in low light as these often differentiate one camera from another.
Typical IR cameras will capture images between 1 lux and 0.1 lux, however, the latest technologies can allow .01 lux to 0.00001 lux. This means that what would have been a completely black image a few years ago now looks like a near-daytime picture thanks to new low- and ultralow-light sensors.
While this achievement is impressive, in reality, there will rarely be any situations where there is complete darkness. Some ambient light will likely be present, whether it is from street lamps, the moon, or even the stars.
Spec Sheets Vs. Live Demo
As discussed, the impressive low-light sensitivity and lux will likely be included in the spec sheets, along with other important features. However, these spec sheets often represent technical specifications as opposed to actual performance.
Instead of simply relying on spec sheets, try to find a manufacturer or company that will provide you with a live demo and comparisons. This will give you a better idea of the low-light camera’s performance and whether or not it lives up to your requirements. In addition, third party reviews can give you more insight as well.
Just because a camera boasts a high megapixel count does not necessarily mean it will produce a better low-light image. With higher resolution and higher megapixels, each pixel becomes a smaller percentage of that sensor. For example, image the sensor has a fixed size, yet the resolution is doubled. The pixels are smaller, thus, the sensor for each pixel is also smaller, increasing the amount of sensitivity needed to maintain the same level of quality.
The speed of the lens is important and investing in a fast lens and better optics is crucial. The lens determines what information reaches the sensor, and, because of this, you get what you pay for when it comes to lenses and optics.
Positioning & Distance
Proper positioning of your security cameras is critical. Focus on what you want to capture and the level of detail you need when choosing the location of your cameras.
Position surveillance cameras so that the common range of motion is moving across the field of view rather than having common movement coming toward the camera. Also, avoid bright light pointing directly at the lens – this can cause flare or “fog” on the image.
Consider the field of view in terms of distance. The level of detail from the camera is highly dictated by how close the camera is and how much it’s zoomed in.
And when it comes to distance, you want the right combination of lens and camera that factors in the distance from the area you are trying to monitor. If you need to detect motion from long distances, your best bet would be to switch to thermal cameras. Activity will be detected, however, it will be harder to determine whether it is a person or an animal.
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There’s no denying that video surveillance technology has come a long way over the years. From grainy videos in its early stages to the quality software and clarity today, video surveillance continues to make great strides and advancements.
The goal of security cameras and surveillance systems is to capture, detect, and deter any unlawful behavior in and around homes, businesses, and public areas. Before, installing a security camera system was a costly and laborious job, involving lots of wires and cables running throughout the building. As technology progressed, security cameras became more accessible and affordable, allowing more users the opportunity to invest in their security. Now there are numerous DIY solutions that make it easy for homeowners to install and set up on their own security systems.
For businesses, implementing a team of people to actively monitor security cameras at all times was once the only option. Now, much of the monitoring aspect of security and surveillance systems can be automated. Rather than having the mundane task of watching numerous monitors, security cameras now have the ability to detect any suspicious or abnormal behaviors and will alert a security officer as necessary.
While we have seen the security industry flourish over the years, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our technology will continue to advance and amaze us in ways we never thought possible.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in video surveillance enables the “smart” features we now see with security cameras. In general, security cameras enable us to monitor situations in real-time or go back to review previous footage. With the integration of AI technology, not only can we monitor in real-time, but potential issues can be identified before they become real problems.
With the emergence of video analytics, footage can be analyzed immediately to identify any abnormal activity or threats early on. This technology helps the software ‘learn’ what is normal in order to identify unusual behavior and is meant to make up for human error, rather than replace human monitoring all together.
While it was always a goal to integrate AI and video surveillance, the technology, from a hardware standpoint, was not ready. One of the issues that needed to be addressed was decreasing the power demand to a level low enough that would allow the technology to be embedded into the cameras.
As more cameras emerge with new AI technologies and processes, we will begin to see more advanced features including crowd density monitoring, facial recognition, stereoscopic vision, and behavior analysis.
Behavior analysis in particular is what a lot of tech companies are focusing on. By implementing a technology that can identify and recognize precursor patterns associated with crimes and other bad behavior, we may be able to greatly improve public safety and security.
A great example comes from the West Japan Railway, where it was found that 60% of people hit by trains in Japan were intoxicated. They have now installed security cameras that can automatically search for and detect signs of intoxication. Sleeping on benches, stumbling, falling, or standing motionless for long periods of time are behaviors that are recognized by the AI system. Human attendees are then notified and sent to check on the person.
Of course, a conversation about video surveillance always includes concerns about privacy. No one wants to feel like they are constantly being monitored, but developers insist that these systems know when to stop collecting information and monitoring. As these technologies continue to develop, you may soon be able to “teach” your system when to record and in which situations recording should halt.
Although it is still in its early stages, AI technology and video surveillance is heading in a positive and exciting direction. Mass adoption may still be a ways to go, but it’s great to see AI being applied in a new setting.
What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence and the video surveillance industry? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Browse our selection of security cameras and equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To learn more about our installation services or to request a free quote, please call 888-203-6294.