Whether you’re looking to reduce theft and vandalism, keep customers and employees accountable or simply enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can always monitor your home or business, surveillance systems offer a wealth of benefits. However, these benefits might seem intimidating.
When making an investment in surveillance systems, who you hire to install your system is equally important to what they install. From long-term reliability and proper camera coverage to exceptional video quality and easy to use software, there’s plenty to consider before making an appointment to install.
If you’re unsure what you should look for in a surveillance system installer, these 5 questions offer a simple way to separate the professionals from those who might be installing outdated technologies or unreliable systems.
Question 1: Are You Using IP or Analog Cameras?
There are three technologies used in the majority of CCTV systems today.
Internet Protocol (IP) cameras use compression and digital encoding to capture video at amazing resolutions. Systems exist that accommodate resolutions higher than 4K UHD to ensure that every detail is crystal clear. IP cameras offer a near-endless array of features, designs and prices to suit any surveillance requirements or budget. Both wireless and hardwired cameras are available to provide a wide selection of options for both indoor, outdoor and concealed surveillance. You’ll also find features like thermal imaging, 360-degree fisheye lenses and pinhole-style cameras.
Below IP cameras, you’ll find HD-TVI cameras. These use the same RG-6 (Coaxial) cabling used in traditional CCTV systems but with increased resolution. This works by utilizing some of the compression features found in IP CCTV technologies. However, in most case, resolution is limited to 1080p FullHD. While not as flexible as IP systems, HD-TVI cameras offer a range of 1600 feet from the DVR and are available at lower prices than many similar IP camera options. This makes them a great compromise between features and cost.
Last, you’ll find analog cameras. With the improvements offered by the previous two technologies, analog is all but obsolete. It would take 6 analog cameras to capture the level of detail of a single HD-TVI camera. That doesn’t being to touch to upper ends of the IP camera market. Analog cameras still enjoy popularity simply because they have been around the longest. However, for most modern installations, they are far from ideal. If the company you are considering for your CCTV installation recommends analog cameras, you might want to reconsider your options.
Question 2: Will this CCTV system provide convictable evidence?
Surveillance footage is only useful if it provides details useful to law enforcement or prosecutors after an event occurs. When choosing a CCTV system, it’s important to check with your installer to ensure that their cameras can provide clear images and proper coverage for your needs.
Common Scenarios Include:
- Capturing of license plates in daylight or darkness without losing detail due to direct light from headlights or flashlights.
- Isolating headshots from moving groups of people, such as shoppers, employees or suspects
- Capturing polychromatic (full color) images at night at full framerates
IP cameras and modern CCTV technology make it possible to clearly capture faces and license plates, as well as preserve details and color in low-light conditions. If your installer cannot offer these features, you should look elsewhere.
Do You Offer Warranty Coverage on Your Cameras?
Most surveillance cameras offer a warranty from the manufacturer. However, to take advantage of this, you must repackage and ship your camera back to them. This leaves a hole in your security system until the replacement arrives. Not to mention the hassle of dismounting and remounting your equipment. Always check with your CCTV installer to see what warranties they offer to assist in this matter.
Important details include:
- How long does warranty coverage last?
- How long replacement will require?
- Does replacement include new cameras or refurbished equipment?
- What happens if your equipment model is unavailable?
- What responsibilities will you have in the replacement process?
Never assume you won’t need a warranty. From power surges and natural disasters to vandalism or tampering, there’s any number of ways your CCTV might experience the unexpected. If it happens, a good warranty can make all the difference.
Do You Have Experience with Computer Networking?
Modern CCTV systems and cameras have more in common with computers and smartphones than they do traditional analog camera technology. While many IP cameras only require a power connection to operate, getting the most from the camera will require proper networking and configuration.
This is because they communicate and operate much like your computer. The camera captures video, transmits it digitally to the DVR. It’s then recorded on a storage drive for later access. Remote viewing features allow you to monitor these streams using your smartphone or computer anywhere you have an Internet connection.
If your CCTV installer is just opening a box and following instruction sheets, you might be missing out on important features. Worse still, they might be opening up your security system to hackers and unauthorized access. You wouldn’t hire someone to work on your POS system or computers who didn’t understand them, your choice of CCTV installers should be no different.
Do you have general liability & workman compensation insurance?
No amount of skill, attention to detail or technical expertise can prevent every accident. Should something occur, you want to be sure that your CCTV installer is covered. While things might go smoothly and you never have to worry about it, this question can help you find out which installers are professionals and which are amateurs.
Don’t trust the dependability and performance of your new surveillance system to anyone without coverage in these important areas. If they don’t have coverage, your installation might be part of their learning process, or worse still, a scam in the works.
At Mammoth Security, we combine the latest technologies and years of experience with affordable pricing and personalized service. With locations in West Hartford and New Britain (and many others in Connecticut), we’re always nearby to help you protect your business or residence. With more than 20 camera options, HD DVRs and cameras you can view from your phone, web browser of PC, you can enjoy peace of mind whether you in the office or halfway around the world. Contact us today and start enjoying your new CCTV system in West Hartford in as little as two weeks!