After you purchase and install a home security camera system, it is important to maintain it in order to preserve its quality and performance. From the surveillance cameras to the cables to video storage, all parts must be working properly to ensure optimal surveillance and security. Here are some helpful maintenance and troubleshooting tips for your surveillance system.
Check your hard drive regularly by simply playing back recent video. To make sure your cameras are properly recording, check the field of view and filter through different dates and times. Make sure you are getting the proper recording duration. A surefire sign that something is wrong is if the duration of footage stored has significantly decreased. For example, you used to get weeks or months of footage, but now it seems you are only getting a few days worth.
Cooling fans assist in preventing your DVR from overheating. Unfortunately, when they suck in the cool air, dust begins to build up as well. The accumulation of dust can damage the fan, resulting in overheating. Cleaning your cooling fan regularly can prevent this and is relatively easy. Computer dust sprays are available at many computer stores and you simply aim at the vent areas and spray.
The IR (Infrared) lights on your security cameras tend to attract spiders and bugs. Because of this, spiders tend to build their webs around the cameras in order to catch the bugs attracted to the light. Consequently, these spider webs interfere with your videos. Check your playback or live feed to see which cameras are affected. If you cannot kick the problem, it may be better to use cameras without IR and install a separate light source to illuminate the area.
Every so often, you should use a soft cloth or wipe to remove any dust or debris and clean the camera lens. A dust mop with a long handle can help you reach higher mounted cameras that are typically out of reach.
Camera sensors and other parts can wear out over time and will eventually need to be replaced. In addition, camera connections may need maintenance as environmental factors such as heat, cold, and moisture can affect them. If you see any signs of connections issues, such as lines in the image, flickering or other image issues, you should address these immediately to prevent further damage or total image loss.
Issue: Security cameras are out but the DVR is working.
Issue: DVR or NVR is not reachable by Internet (no phone or computer access).
Issue: DVR is not playing back video.
If you need help choosing the right security cameras for your property as well as installation services, feel free to contact us! You may browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to schedule a site survey or get a free quote. You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Video surveillance can be an excellent security measure in various environments. While retail stores and remote ATMs are commonplace locations for video surveillance, its benefits can also be seen when applied to a wide range of businesses and homes. Here are a few examples of these video surveillance benefits and why you should consider investing in it (if you don’t already).
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When it comes to securing the perimeter of your home or business, you want a surveillance system that can perform in various conditions. For 24-hour monitoring, night vision cameras have been the popular solution. However, the emergence of thermal cameras has provided a more advanced solution. Learn more about the different types of night vision cameras and how thermal cameras differ from them.
These are also known as day and night cameras and electronically and automatically adjust lighting capture settings based on the time of day to produce optimal video images. During the day, IR cut filters are used to “cut out” IR illumination, allowing for color images. At night, the filter is removed entirely to allow the maximum amount of visible and IR light to reach the sensor and produce a monochrome image. The downside to these cameras is that they are completely dependent on lighting conditions. That is, too much light or no light at all will result in unusable images. Thus, the amount of visible light available drastically affects the image.
IR cameras have a lens that is surrounded by LEDs which emit a beam of near-infrared energy to bounce off objects in its field of view. The image sensor is then able to create a picture; however, distance plays a crucial role in performance. Because the reflected IR light can only reach so far, these cameras are often limited to short-range applications.
Night Vision Cameras
Night vision goggles (NVG) and cameras capture visible light photons. As the photons penetrate a photocathode tube (which acts as an image intensifier), they are converted to amplified electrons that pass through a phosphorous screen and converts them back to visible light to create a picture (often in a greenish hue). Because these devices need just the right amount of visible light to function, they are virtually useless when there is ample light outside (ex. twilight) or in conditions where light is blocked (ex. smoke) or no light is available.
Rather than performing based on light availability, these cameras produce video surveillance images based on the measurement of the electromagnetic heat radiation emitted by all objects and individuals. Their performance is unaffected by bright lights, complete darkness, foliage, and light fog. No matter how small, differences in heat are picked up and produce images with high contrast, which are essential to the success of video analytics and intrusion detection. These cameras may be better suited for properties which require strict perimeter security (ex. oil and gas industries, data centers, mines, power stations), and are often combined with other layers of protection (ex. fence sensors, microwaves, PTZ cameras).
Thermal cameras also boast long-range detection capabilities, thus, reducing the number of cameras needed. They can also be a good substitute for fences where fence installation is not possible. For example, ports and oil refineries have acres of water and land to secure and monitor. Thermal imaging and video analytics can create “virtual fence” and can be a more feasible and affordable solution than installing a physical barrier.
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If you need help deciding which night vision or other security cameras will best suit your surveillance needs, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com today!
Over the years, video surveillance has made great improvements in regards to design, features, functionality and application. As our technologies continue to evolve, the surveillance industry is bound to grow and expand even further.
In 1996, Axis Communications introduced the first IP Camera. This was originally used for monitoring the sea for oil spills, saving their customers from having to take two flights a day. Decades later, digital cameras are now the norm, from entertainment to security purposes.
When it comes to security, because we are very visual and use our eyes more than any other senses, we tend to prefer video. This is why we see CCTV surveillance cameras nearly everywhere these days. But how can we improve it?
Video surveillance can be valuable to businesses, however, monitoring the live feed 24/7 is not very realistic. Other detection tools, such as perimeter breach or motion detection, in conjunction with an alarm or alert system helps to improve security. But, as with most things, it has its flaws. These can include problems with detecting the breach, a bad judgment call in regards to what is seen, how long the feed is monitored and the length of backtracking.
Video analytics is more prevalent these days and makes efforts to address this issue. Thanks to advancing software and artificial intelligence (AI), video analytics can determine a human from an animal, eliminating false alarms caused by a pet at home. It also eliminates human error and takes motion detection a step further, as some systems can also distinguish between a known house member and a stranger.
Business and home protection continues to advance as more security camera systems integrate video analytics along with alarms, PIR sensors, and smart recordings. And thanks to edge computing, these technologies are becoming more accessible. By performing data processing at the edge of the network, close to the source of data, edge computing ultimately optimizes system performance.
But aside from all these advancements and improvements, privacy is still an important issue. Many feel uncomfortable having cameras watching over them and having their video streamed into the cloud. But what if our security systems became so advanced that video surveillance became unnecessary?
Hypothetically, an “Optical Analytic Sensor” could use edge computing to process new, updated analytics without having to transmit video. Instead, detailed descriptions of events would serve as data, eliminating bandwidth requirements and video privacy issues. Using advanced tools and AI, this sensor device could learn how to distinguish between known users and strangers. Thus, the device could automatically grant access t authorized users, eliminated passwords, codes, pins or keys. In a commercial setting, this device could sound an alarm for any unauthorized persons while ignoring those who are allowed to be there.
Again, this is all hypothetical and we may be years away from such an advanced and sophisticated system, but this shows how video analytics have the potential of enhancing various security applications.
What do you think the future holds for video analytics and surveillance technology? Share your predictions and thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
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To better understand the current surveillance industry, you should know a little history. Without going into great detail, here are some important milestones of the video surveillance industry from the past decade.
Ten years ago, SD analog cameras and DVRs reigned supreme. While video management software and IP cameras were available, they had yet to become a mainstream solution.
Also around this time, some megapixel cameras were offered. They only supported MJPEG encoding (which made storage and transmission of these more expensive), but they boasted better quality than analog cameras.
And still in the early stages, but a topic of interest, were analytics, which had limited deployment during this time.
Around 2008-2012, IP cameras got a boost from the adoption of H.264 for megapixel cameras. Because IP camera usage was up, VMS software followed suit. The benefits of this upgrade were clear, making it easier for consumers to understand and accept the price increase.
As megapixel and IP cameras grew in popularity, interest in connecting cameras to the cloud was rising. While the dream was to eliminate any on-site recording and maintenance, bandwidth limitations and poor cloud VMS killed the dream.
In 2011, video analytics remained off the radar thanks to performance problems, unhappy customers, and ObjectVideo suing the industry. Even today, analytics are still slowly crawling out of the hole.
In the next few years, edge storage promised the elimination of NVRs and recorder appliances since the storage and software would be housed within the IP camera. Unfortunately, reliability issues deterred early adopters, and the introduction of inexpensive recorder appliances pushed edge storage to the back burner. Rather than becoming a main solution, edge storage was more commonly employed to provide redundancy for higher-end applications.
WDR & Low Light Conditions
Over time, surveillance camera technology has improved to better accommodate low light environments. Before, WDR (wide dynamic range) cameras, which automatically adjusted to harsh lighting conditions, were expensive and limited in availability. Low light performance was generally poor, and even worse in MP cameras (WDR in these were relatively non-existent). Today, the enhancements in quality are evident.
Smart CODECs dynamically adapt compression and I frame interval to scene conditions, which ultimately reduces bandwidth requirements and offsets the need to move to H.265. Within recent years, we have seen a rise in this technology. Moving forward, broad support of Smart CODECs will eventually drive down storage costs and remote network challenges.
For more than a decade, IP was the only practical way to deliver MP/HD, however the introduction of HD Analog has successfully killed off SD analog. HD analog uses coaxial cable for transmissions and has dominated sales for homes and small businesses. Some argue that it is just a temporary fix, while others say it will expand features and options to become a mainstay.
Cybersecurity has only recently become a major topic in video surveillance, however, many still brush it off. Though recent events have spurred concerns (ex. Sony hacking, Hikvision hacks, Axis’ major exploit), most users perceive a low risk of cybersecurity. As our systems become more connected, we can only hope that cybersecurity is better addressed and taken seriously among manufacturers and consumers alike.
Chinese manufacturers have grown as contenders, with their earlier deployments showing poor quality and performance. However, over time, their products have improved and yet still maintain relatively low pricing. These manufacturers were originally OEM suppliers to Western brands, but recent years have shown their branded sales increase in the West.
Drive Down Costs
It seems manufacturers are in a current race to offer the lowest prices (whether to gain share or stay afloat) and consumers seem to be driving this shift. With numerous DIY and simple home solutions, we will see where the video surveillance industry is headed next.
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Often times, businesses don’t realize the importance of security camera systems until it’s too late. Rather than installing them prior to opening, they tend to invest in them after a burglary or incident occurs. This may happen because businesses believe that they cannot afford it, or they think the task is too overwhelming and complicated. Luckily, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you choose the best security camera system for your business.
Before you shop, it would benefit you to really take some time to evaluate what you want and need when it comes to a security system.
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If you haven’t already, it might be time to upgrade from analog security cameras to an IP security camera system. IP security cameras are easier to use and connect to your home network. Your surveillance feed is more readily available and can be accessed remotely, and your storage space can easily be expanded or adjusted based on your individual needs.
While there are many benefits of upgrading, IP cameras can be more vulnerable to hackers. The good news is that these issues can be combated with smart security measures. Here are some things to consider to protect your IP surveillance feed.
Keep your firmware up-to-date. Manufacturers are always watching for any system or security vulnerabilities. When one is found, they work hard to address the issue and inform their customers of the necessary firmware update. Pay close attention to these notifications so that your system is secure. Checking your camera manufacturer’s website can also help, in case you don’t receive, or happen to overlook, any notifications.
Keep Cameras Local
Plain and simple – if you don’t want your feed to end up on the Internet, don’t connect your cameras to the Internet. Keep your cameras on a local network with non-routable IP addresses (ex. 192.168.0.5 or something similar). Though, even with this measure, your cameras could still be exposed by software that sets up port forwarding or uses UPNP to expose your cameras to the Internet. Be sure to visit your camera manufacturer’s website to learn how to set them up in local-only mode.
Any password can be better than no password at all. Most cameras do not have password protection for video feeds set on default. After you install and set up your cameras, be sure add password protection to secure your feed. Create a username and strong password, and make sure you change it periodically to increase security.
Do your cameras come with default usernames and passwords? Change them immediately after setup and installation. This is the easiest way for hackers, or anyone, to gain access to your feed.
When it comes to wireless cameras, the only network you should connect it to is a WPA2-encrypted wireless network. Encryption adds protection and will keep hackers away.
Think about the placement of your cameras. Only place cameras in areas inside your home that you are comfortable with being monitored. No matter how secure your system is, there is a chance a new vulnerability has not been found yet and you could become the victim. Remember, when in doubt, leave the camera out.
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There are plenty of security camera options out there today, from formal, elaborate security camera systems to simple, more straightforward DIY options. The latter seems to be a more affordable approach for home owners or pet owners who want a better sense of security. However, before investing in a DIY system, it is wise to understand your needs and the differences between devices.
Webcam vs. Security cam
While webcams can offer some security features and a live video feed, usually accessible from your phone or device, they fall short if your focus is safety and security. Some products do provide customizable alerts for when something happens (ex. motion detection alerts), however, others do not. Therefore, unless your eyes are glued to your live feed, you won’t know if something is happening.
If you’re simply concerned about checking in on a pet while you’re away, webcams are likely better suited for you. The security features of webcams can be great as a supplement, but if you want to secure your home or property, it may be best to invest in professional security cameras.
If you’re considering live streaming or need quality recorded footage, HD may be the way to go. HD resolution can either be 720p or 1080p, however, your WiFi connection can dictate which is better for you. If you have less than stellar WiFi connection, the HD video can consume a hefty amount of bandwidth, resulting in significant lag times.
Alternatives to HD include VGA, standard definition, and 640×480 cameras, which are typically less expensive and require less bandwidth. Unfortunately, video quality isn’t as clear, but if you only need a general video or photo of the area you’re monitoring, they are a smart option.
Most DIY options come with a simple base that can be placed on any level surface. Others also offer magnetic bases for mounting on refrigerators, file cabinets, or other magnetic surfaces.
Some options require power adapters, which means you’ll have to consider outlet locations or employ extension cords depending on where you place your camera. Most new options are battery powered, making it easier to move around from location to location. Some products even boast their abilities to be used indoors and outdoors as well.
Also, it is important to consider that these devices usually operate on WiFi, which means choosing a location with strong WiFi signal is key. An unstable WiFi connection may interfere with your camera’s performance.
Cloud vs. Local Storage
When it comes to storage, you can either choose to store your footage in the cloud, usually for an extra fee, or locally on a micro SD card. While you may pay a bit more for cloud storage, you will also benefit from added features which may include facial recognition or third party integration.
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Security cameras can put your worries at ease. You can actively monitor what’s going on at your home or property whether you’re there or not. You can even store your recordings for later review. Thanks to new innovations, some security cameras can use facial recognition and motion sensors to alert you when something suspicious is going on. If these security cameras can make you feel safe at home, why not extend this protection to the public arena?
It is met with some hesitation, but public video surveillance can be a great help when crimes occur, and even in prevention of crimes. Studies have shown that when people know that they are being watched, they tend to modify their behavior to what is acceptable. Because surveillance cameras can produce evidence, criminals will likely be deterred from acting on their impulses. In areas with high crime rates, installation of public surveillance cameras could possibly help crime rates drop.
If a crime has occurred, public security cameras could provide crucial evidence to verify witness accounts and identify the wanted suspects. Some law enforcement have even set up private security camera registries for their local areas. These registries are voluntary and can help keep your neighborhood safe. Your private security camera footage could assist authorities is capturing a potentially dangerous person.
While security cameras are not the answer in eliminating crime or stopping crimes all together, they can play a very vital and important role. The use of public surveillance or even a registry of private security cameras for law enforcement has already proven itself. Countless crimes have been solved, partly in thanks to surveillance footage helping to identify the suspect and providing evidence and important details of the crimes.
Is there a public surveillance system or a private security camera registry in your city? Do you find that these have succeeded in making your city a safer place? Share your thoughts on public surveillance with us! You’ll find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
If you have any questions or are looking for security cameras and installation, please call us at 1-888-203-6294. You can also visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com, where you’ll find more information about our products, services, and us. We’re happy to help you protect yourself and your loved ones.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the stress may be setting in for the procrastinators out there. To lighten the mood, we’ve decided to share ten fun facts about the love-filled holiday.
1. In 1537, England’s King Henry VII officially declared Feb. 14 the holiday of St. Valentine’s Day.
2. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”
3. The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine’s Day.
4. The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
5. Each year, over 50 million roses are given for Valentine’s Day worldwide.
6. In order of popularity, Valentine’s Day cards are given to teachers, children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets.
7. 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day each year.
8. Richard Cadbury created the first Valentine’s Day candy box in the 1800s.
9. About 8 billion candy hearts will be produced this year; that’s enough candy to stretch from Rome, Italy to Valentine, Arizona 20 times and back again.
10. Over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day in the U.S.
Bonus Fact: Were having a sale! Starting on Monday, February 9, 2015 until Valentine’s Day, when you spend $300 or more at SecurityCamExpert.com, you’ll receive a complimentary box of chocolates. Consider it our way of showing our adoration for you; a little Valentine’s Day gift from us to you.
This offer applies to both phone orders and online orders, however, you must mention the promotion when ordering. For online orders, please use the Order Comments box to note the promotion. This offer applies to website pricing only, and orders of at least $300 or more. This offer may not be combined with other offers; limit one per customer. Offer valid February 9-14, 2015.
Which facts were surprising to you? Do you have any facts to share? You can reach us on our social networks – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. And be sure to act fast – our special offer ends on Valentine’s Day!