Choosing the best CCTV systems for your business
As a business owner you need to take the right steps to protect your staff and your premises, and that means choosing the best CCTV system for your business.
To protect your business interests, you need a security strategy, because increasing crime levels and increasing demands on the police means that businesses of all sizes, in all industries need to re-think their security arrangements.
The modern intruder is armed with more than a crow-bar and a swag-bag these days. They are equipped with advanced devices to aid them in their illegal activities. You and your business need to be at least one step ahead of the criminals and those who deal in anti-social behaviour. A CCTV system gives you the security to achieve this.
An introduction to CCTV Systems
CCTV systems are the eye of your business and come in a variety of packages from basic systems to ultra-advanced, hi-tech models. High-definition cameras capture every movement in the area if installation and are controlled via a command centre where all the recorded footage is stored. The recorded images can be used in court to aid prosecutions.
In some cases, a label declaring that your business premises have surveillance in operation is enough to deter would-be burglars. But CCTV systems also keep track of your employees and customer theft.
When buying the best CCTV system for your business, you need to take the following into consideration.
The location of your CCTV system is crucial to its success. Cameras can be positioned both inside and outside – but beware that weather conditions can influence the functionality of cameras. Some CCTV units have in-built heaters for exterior cameras.
There are also other things to consider. For example, if you are thinking about installing cameras in areas where goods are transported then you need a CCTV system that can handle a high-level of vibration - and you may need environmental housing. Similarly, indoor CCTV systems may have to cope with temperature fluctuations and dust in the air.
Restaurant’s kitchen areas for example can produce amounts of grease in the air, which can affect cameras, and bars and clubs are known for using smoke machines, which can make your CCTV system redundant at certain times.
It just depends on what sort of business you operate, as these factors contribute to the quality of results.
It’s pointless spending money on a good CCTV package and then not thinking through the type of security system you really need for your business.
Static cameras are the best for small or confined areas. Larger areas usually use ‘Pan-Tilt-Zoom’ (PTZ) cameras. These can zoom in to a particular activity. PTZ systems can save you money as it means that you don’t have to install several cameras.
Do you want an Audio CCTV system?
Many businesses have begun to use CCTV systems with an audio facility. Depending on your system, security staff can communicate with intruders, which can act as a deterrent from the onset.
Audio can provide vital evidence, and it can also be used as an independent detection trigger method. This can also be used where lighting conditions are poor.
What’s the purpose of your CCTV?
Is it to keep a discreet watch on people and premises or is it to deter illegal activity such as break-ins? If you are looking for low-key surveillance, then smaller dome cameras are perfect, as they can fit inside smoke detectors and fire sprinkler systems.
If you are looking to discourage illegal activity, then larger cameras in plain view will get the message across. Some cameras have what is a called a ‘vandal dome’ – these tend to be used in sensitive areas and although not indestructible, they are housed in a more robust casing with security bolts for extra security.
There are basically two options when it comes to image quality. Standard resolution cameras are fine if you only need to capture images from a distance, or in a confined space, such as an office or reception area. High-resolution cameras need to be used if you want to cover a much larger area and record images in close-up detail.
You need to assess each space individually so that you are spending your money wisely.
Areas inside and outside will experience different amounts of sunlight throughout the day, and don’t forget seasonal adjustments too – so you’ll need to work out where the light will be, and when. Also, will there be reflections to contend with?
Certain types of business will have peculiar problems. For example; in clubs, strobe lighting can be quite common, and the reflections can have an effect on the camera.
There are a variety of technologies which will help you capture usable footage in a range of differing lighting conditions. Specialist filters can be used, depending on what you need to achieve.
Monitoring the action
Many CCTV systems are linked to a video receiving centre. When your system is triggered, then images (and audio, if you have it) are available live in the receiving centre, and then agents can issue alerts, warnings and contact the emergency services if required. They can even speak to the intruders through the cameras audio system.
The most cost-effective way to monitor a small business is to do it yourself, and there are some great CCTV systems available for those on a very tight budget. There are excellent security systems which you can now control remotely from your smartphone, tablet or PC.
If you think you might need extra cameras added to your security system in future, then you need what is known as a ‘scalable’ system.
IP cameras are perfect should you wish to expand your security as they connect over a wireless network which means there are no additional wiring costs.
If you are considering installing more HD cameras, then they will eat up storage, so you’ll need lots more hard drive space. You’ll need to speak to a specialist about this.
If your business is the type where you need to monitor footage continuously then you need to opt for a VMS system. These systems also employ intelligent video analytics that generate useful data, providing insights into consumer behaviour patterns, such as the number of people who walk in to a shop, and how they shop once inside. This information can help with store layout, giving customers a much better shopping experience.
This can be extremely helpful for certain businesses.
Secure in the knowledge…
When choosing the best CCTV for your business you have to consider exactly what you are looking to achieve. Good planning at the start will enable you to select the right security system for you and your business.
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