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How to Choose Commercial Security Cameras

Too busy to read? Here’s a summary:

  • The best business security cameras record digitally and transmit their data through cable cords.
  • The first factors to consider before choosing a security camera are the functions required of the camera and the environment in which the camera will be installed.
  • If you're adding cameras to an existing security system or planning for future expansions, integration compatibility is vital. For this reason, look for cameras that comply with ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) standards.
  • Selecting cameras with the right field of view capabilities ensures that critical areas are under surveillance without unnecessary overlap or blind spots.

In a world where businesses are four times as likely as homes to be burglarized, it can be a challenge to choose the right cameras for your security infrastructure. That said, a simple rule of thumb is to only consider hardwired, digital, and Internet-accessible cameras for business security.

How to Choose Commercial Security Cameras

Finding such cameras is easy because most businesses (and hence, most manufacturers) have already switched from old analog cameras to digital cameras. This transition to digital occurred because of their superior image and video quality, scalability, data security, and advanced AI-based features.

However, the best camera type and model for installation will depend on the specific purpose of the surveillance, environmental challenges in the area where it will be installed, and desired features like high-resolution footage.

Keep reading to discover more crucial factors to consider before choosing a security camera.

How to Choose Commercial Security Cameras

Here are the factors to consider when choosing security cameras for commercial security:

Purpose

The purpose of your surveillance plays a pivotal role in determining the type of camera you need. Each purpose demands a different set of features, so understanding your primary surveillance objectives is crucial in selecting the right camera.

For example, if deterrence is your main goal, visible cameras with a robust design can be effective.

For specific tasks like license plate recognition or entry management, specialized cameras with high resolution and zoom capabilities are essential.

Overview footage for general surveillance might require cameras with a wide field of view, while object tracking could benefit from PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) cameras with advanced motion detection and tracking features.

Location

The location of the camera installation significantly influences your choice.

For example, a high-resolution dome camera may be ideal for monitoring the entrance area of a restaurant. A dome's discreet design blends with the interior to prevent customers from feeling surveilled.

For an open-layout manufacturing floor, a wide-angle or fisheye camera inset in the ceiling would provide extensive coverage and reduce the number of cameras needed. Fisheyes make it easier to monitor large areas with minimal blind spots.

In tight corners, compact, corner-mounted cameras are suitable. Their design allows for coverage of hard-to-reach angles, enabling comprehensive surveillance in constrained spaces.

Resolution

When picking security cameras, resolution is key. IP cameras can provide standard resolutions like 1080p and even go up to 4k and 8k. Higher resolution means crisper, more detailed images, making it easier to spot crucial details like faces or license plates.

However, there's a trade-off – high-resolution footage requires more storage space. This means you'll need to balance the need for detail with storage capacity. While 1080p is often sufficient for general surveillance, opt for 4k or 8k if you need ultra-high detail, keeping in mind the increased storage needs.

Analog cameras, on the other hand, typically offer lower resolutions. While this saves on video data storage space, lower-quality footage provides weaker, grainier evidence for investigations and prosecutions.

Frame Rate

Frame rate, measured in frames per second (FPS), is crucial for the smoothness of your footage. Standard frame rates are around 15-30 FPS, which is fine for general surveillance.

However, if you need to capture fast-moving objects or want smoother video, look for cameras boasting frame rates above 45. Higher frame rates provide more fluid and clear footage that is especially useful in high-risk areas or for capturing fast-moving events.

Remember, as with higher resolutions, higher frame rates mean more data, impacting storage and bandwidth requirements.

Remote Access

Remote access to your security footage is a game-changer. It's especially useful for business owners who can't always be on-site but need to keep an eye on things.

With IP security cameras, you can easily access live or recorded footage from anywhere using a computer or smartphone.

Remote access typically isn't possible with analog cameras.

Brands

The brand of a security camera should carry significant weight in your decision-making process.

A well-chosen brand will not only meet your current security needs but also align with your long-term surveillance strategy.

Different manufacturers adhere to varying standards, influencing the quality, durability, and features of the cameras they make. Some brands are renowned for their robust and long-lasting cameras, ideal for harsh environments. Others excel in high-resolution imagery, faster frame rates, and user-friendly interfaces.

When it comes to advanced features like AI, night vision capabilities, and cloud storage, brands also differ. Some offer cutting-edge AI analytics for more proactive and intelligent surveillance. Others provide superior night vision technology, ensuring clear footage even in low-light conditions.

Some brands may require monthly fees for additional services like cloud storage or advanced analytics.

Camera System Compatibility

If you're planning to integrate new cameras with an existing system or if you're considering future expansions, brand compatibility is a crucial concern.

Look for camera brands that comply with Open Network Video Interface Forum standards. ONVIF compliance supports easy integration with other ONVIF-compliant cameras and security systems.

This approach prevents you from being locked into a single brand, offering flexibility for future upgrades or expansions.

AI Features

Video analytics, powered by machine learning, is revolutionizing business security cameras.

A video analytics platform can analyze footage in real-time, providing insights that were previously impossible. AI features can be included in the cameras themselves or can be applied to stream footage by external network video recorders (NVRs), video management systems (VMS), or other software.

Key AI-supported features include facial recognition for identifying individuals, abandoned object detection for spotting unattended items in airports, and motion sensors, which save storage space by limiting recording to periods of detected activity. These and many other AI features make surveillance proactive rather than reactive.

Field of View

A camera's field of view (FoV) is the visible area it can capture. The combination of lens type, sensor size, and aperture settings all contribute to the FoV of a camera.

A wider FoV is ideal for monitoring large areas like parking lots, while a narrower FoV might be better for focused areas like entry points.

Cyber Security Features

To safeguard your video surveillance system from cyber threats, consider wired cameras with robust encryption and regular firmware updates.

Using physical cords for data transmission eliminates the risk of wireless hacking.

Night Vision

There are different types of night vision technologies in surveillance cameras, including infrared (IR) and thermal imaging.

IR is great for low-light conditions, capturing clear images by using IR light. Thermal imaging, on the other hand, detects heat signatures, which are useful in complete darkness or obscured conditions.

The choice of night vision camera technology will depend on your specific needs. For example, IR night vision may be sufficient for well-lit urban areas, while thermal imaging would be necessary for pitch-dark or smoke-filled environments.

Weatherproof

For outdoor cameras, weatherproofing is non-negotiable.

The Ingress Protection (IP) scale measures a device's resistance to elements like dust and water. The right IP rating ensures your camera's function optimally, regardless of weather conditions, providing reliable surveillance when you need it most.

In snowy environments, look for high IP ratings to withstand cold and moisture. For areas prone to dust storms, ensure the camera is dust-tight. In hurricane-prone regions, a camera should withstand heavy rain and wind.

The Importance of Video Recording Technology

Once digital IP camera footage is captured, it's transmitted to a Network Video Recorder, Video Management System, or cloud-based storage, marking the beginning of a sophisticated process of data handling and analysis.

NVR, VMS, and Cloud Software: Efficiency and Benefits

NVR, VMS, and cloud platforms offer efficient storage and easy access to footage from digital IP cameras. They often come with user-friendly interfaces, allowing for quick navigation and management of video data.

A key benefit of using video management systems is their scalability—they can handle footage from multiple cameras and store large volumes of data, making them ideal for expansive commercial setups.

AI Application in Recording Systems

A significant advantage of modern NVR and VMS is their ability to apply AI to regular digital footage. This means that even if the cameras themselves don't have built-in AI capabilities, the recording systems can analyze the footage for intelligent insights.

Features like facial recognition, motion detection, and unusual activity alerts can be integrated at the software level, enhancing the overall security system's effectiveness without needing advanced cameras.

Analog Cameras and DVRs

In contrast to digital cameras, analog cameras use digital video recorders to store footage. DVRs convert analog signals to digital ones for storage, but they lack the advanced features and flexibility of NVRs and cloud systems.

Searching for specific incidents in DVRs can be time-consuming and inefficient, as they typically don't support smart filters or advanced AI applications. Simply put, DVRs are less convenient and less capable than other systems in terms of providing quick, intelligent security insights.

Digital Cameras

For commercial-grade security, digital cameras are in, and wireless cameras are out. Here's why:

Why Digital Cameras Are In

Higher Quality Images: Digital cameras offer superior image quality compared to analog cameras. They capture clearer, more detailed footage, which is essential for identifying faces, license plates, and other critical details in a security context.

Scalability and Integration: Digital systems can be easily scaled and integrated with other security systems. As your business grows, adding more cameras or integrating with access control systems is simpler with a digital setup.

Remote Access and Storage: Digital cameras often come with the ability to store data on the cloud, allowing for remote access. This means you can monitor your business from anywhere, ensuring you're always in the loop.

Advanced Features: Digital cameras often include advanced features like motion detection, night vision, and facial recognition. These capabilities enhance your security measures, making your system more robust and responsive.

Why Analog Cameras are Out for Business Security

Lower Image Quality: Analog cameras generally have lower resolution, resulting in grainier and less detailed images. In a security situation, this lack of clarity can be a significant drawback.

Limited Scalability: Analog systems can be more challenging to scale or integrate with modern security technology. As businesses grow and their security needs evolve, analog systems may struggle to keep up.

Lack of Advanced Features: Analog and basic wireless cameras often lack the advanced features that come standard with digital cameras. Features like high-definition recording, cloud storage, and smart analytics are typically not available in older analog systems.

Professional Installation

The Importance of Professional Camera Installation for Commercial Security

When it comes to commercial security, opting for professional camera installation is a wise decision, and here's why.

First off, commercial properties often have complex security needs. Professional installers have the expertise to assess these needs, ensuring that cameras cover all critical areas without any blind spots. They understand the nuances of camera placement, angle, and field of view, which are crucial for effective surveillance.

Moreover, professional installation ensures that your system is set up correctly and functioning at its best. This includes proper wiring for a stable power supply and high-value data transmission, as well as expert configuration for optimal performance.

Professionals can also ensure that your cameras are integrated seamlessly with other security systems, like access controls or alarms, enhancing the overall security infrastructure.

On the other hand, DIY systems for commercial security can be risky. Without the necessary expertise, you might end up with inadequate coverage, improper installation, or compatibility issues. This not only compromises your security but could also lead to additional costs in the long run, as poorly installed systems require frequent repairs or adjustments.

Choose the Right Cameras with Mammoth Security

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Whether you're looking for the best security cameras for schools, robust access control systems, or efficient telecom cabling, Mammoth Security is Connecticut's one-stop shop for advanced security systems. We understand that every business has unique security needs, and we're here to help you navigate through the options to find the perfect fit.

It’s easy to get started—just click to contact us and fill out the form. You’ll get a free security assessment tailored to your specific needs with an expert from our team.

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FAQ

Yes, security cameras can record even if they don't have visible lights. Many modern cameras are designed to be discreet and don't necessarily have visible recording indicators. However, the absence of lights doesn't impact their ability to record.

The top types of CCTV cameras include dome cameras, bullet cameras, PTZ cameras, day/night cameras, and infrared/night vision cameras. Each type serves different surveillance needs and environments.

The best security cameras for a business often include IP cameras with high resolution, good night vision, remote access capabilities, and advanced features like motion detection and AI analytics. The choice depends on specific business needs and the environment they're used in.

The choice between wireless and wired CCTV cameras depends on your specific needs. Wired cameras are generally more reliable and less prone to interference, while wireless cameras offer more flexibility in placement and easier installation.

The two main types of security cameras are analog and digital IP cameras. Analog cameras are traditional systems that transmit video over coaxial cable, while digital IP cameras send and receive data over a network or the Internet.

360 cameras are often called fisheye cameras because they use a fisheye lens, which is a wide-angle lens that creates a panoramic or hemispherical image. This lens allows the camera to capture a 360-degree field of view.

Yes, dome cameras are a popular type of security camera. They are named for their dome-shaped housing, which makes it difficult to tell where the camera is pointing, adding an element of uncertainty for potential intruders.

A digital video recorder is used with analog security cameras. Analog cameras require a DVR to convert analog signals to digital format for storage, playback, and remote viewing. DVRs are essential for recording and managing footage from all the cameras in an analog system.

A great business security camera system for your business should include high-resolution cameras, sufficient storage capacity, remote access, and compatibility with other security systems. It should also be scalable and adaptable to changing security needs.

Analog security cameras are traditional cameras that transmit video using an analog signal. They are typically connected to a DVR for recording and managing footage.

Recorded video from analog and IP cameras is typically stored on a DVR, NVR, VMS, or in the cloud. This footage can be reviewed, downloaded, and used as evidence if necessary. The storage duration and management depend on the system's capacity and the user's settings.

Turret cameras, also known as eyeball cameras, offer a compact design and flexible positioning. They are known for their ability to reduce glare and infrared reflection.

Box cameras are traditional security cameras known for their rectangular, 'boxy' shape. They offer flexibility in terms of lens options and are often used in commercial settings.

Multi-sensor cameras combine several camera sensors into one unit, providing a comprehensive view of large areas with fewer devices. They are ideal for wide-area surveillance.

License plate recognition cameras are specialized cameras designed to capture and analyze vehicle license plates. They are commonly used in parking management and security.

When considering top commercial security camera brands, several names stand out for their exceptional quality and advanced features. Key players include Ava, known for smart analytics; Avigilon, known for the best analytics; and Hanwha, known for reliable products.

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