When shopping for a video surveillance system, there is a lot to consider in order to meet your expectations. If it’s your first surveillance system, one of the common misconceptions is that crime will magically stop because there are cameras in place. You’ll need to come to grips with the fact that a surveillance system may provide a false sense of security. There is certainly a deterrent factor, but it will not eliminate the problem of theft.
Not all cameras are made equal so, contrary to Hollywood depictions, identifying what’s inside somebody’s pocket from a street surveillance camera located 50 feet away from a guy walking through a dark alley in an episode of Crime Scene Investigation isn’t going to happen. Conversely, SolutionsIT can equip you with clear license plate recognition from over 100 feet away! The results are created by planning the project with the help of our experienced staff.
The following are our top 5 considerations when shopping for a video surveillance system:
1. Price/value. Let’s address the elephant in the room. Everyone wants to spend as little as possible on video surveillance because it doesn’t add revenue to your bottom line. The expression “you get what you pay for” applies to these systems. There are two costs to ownership; the price you pay for the product and; the price you pay for the product to do what you want it to do. Factors that will affect price include:
a. Lens, sensor and aperture. The best cameras on the market have excellent sensors, able to enhance detail in dark shadowy areas, even when bright natural light might be exposed to the same camera. A low aperture of f 1.8 will provide better clarity in dimly lit areas and will also allow for faster focusing. High quality lenses add the ability to see details needed for identification versus merely detecting “motion” with cheaper lenses.
b. Cold weather operation will also bump up the value of a camera system. For outdoor use, SolutionsIT only recommends systems that can endure our harsh winters, eliminating the need to continually replace failing cameras.
c. IP vs analogue technology will also usually increase the price but also the quality, compatibility, expandability, and flexibility of the system. Analogue systems are famously advertised in big box stores at low prices and, in some applications, they can be the right solution.
d. Storage capacity – the right number of Gigs to accommodate your needs and also the safety of backup storage…just in case.
2. Ease of use. The end goal of any system is to be able to retrieve the data you just recorded on a preferred device, which is usually your cell phone/mobile. Then, is the exported video or photo viewable by your local authorities who will be assisting in an investigation? Some of the factors which determine ease of use are: video compression, operating systems (i.e. Android vs iPhone, Microsoft vs Apple, etc.). We encourage use of a static IP address, so factoring the type of Internet service provider and plan could factor into how many times you’re forced to reset your software.
3. Warranty. Nothing is more frustrating than man-made equipment failing prematurely – unfortunately, it happens. SolutionsIT has tested several lines of video surveillance equipment for over 30 years! We know what works and we stick to these lines. The product lines we represent all have a 5-year warranty. Considering the industry standard is one year, there is substantial peace of mind knowing your investment is covered 5 times longer than cheaply designed systems.
4. Features. The best video surveillance systems have a wide variety of available features that include analytics (traffic counts, facial recognition, license plate recognition, trip line control, heat mapping), cold climate functionality, long zoom lenses, fisheye wide-angle lenses, full motion control, ease and reliability of remote accessibility, resolution, and 24-hour security monitoring.
5. Strategic planning. Not every business is the same – that’s why SolutionsIT is happy to go on-location to give you another set of eyes and ears in helping you solve your security problems. Let our experience guide you in making an intelligent and informed decision.
It all boils down to this. Consultation with the video surveillance experts ensures you’re making the right decision for your application. Give SolutionsIT a call at 204-325-1006, or visit our website to book an appointment.