As the prices and practical applications of Smart CCTV camera continue to fall and rise respectively, more and more people are opting to install indoor and perimeter security cameras in order to protect their property.
Along with motion detectors and security lights, they are not only a practical visible deterrent, they light up your arrival home, making you feel safe and secure. So what are the deciding factors to consider when deciding which CCTV system is right for you?
1 Indoors or Out?
There are a great range of CCTV and home cameras to choose from. Indoor cameras let you keep an eye on pets, kids, and elderly relatives who may need a little bit more assistance from time to time, but they don’t necessarily act as a deterrent to burglars and vandals. For that you need specially designed exterior cameras which are designed to withstand weather, birds and squirrels.
2 Discreet or Visible Deterrent?
While a visible deterrent is an effective way to prevent crime, it can spoil the aesthetic of a property, and some say that security measures actually attract thieves, since they appear to say ‘I’ve got something worth protecting, and if it’s worth protecting, it must be worth stealing.’ Discreet cameras will let you collect high quality audio and visual footage without making visitors, customers or guests feel as if they are being observed or spied upon.
3 Covering Large Areas: Wide Angles and Zooms or Multiple Cameras?
When you’re covering a large area, such as a parking space or grounds it may not be possible to place multiple cameras to cover all angles, in that case you need to consider motion tracking, a good zoom and image enhancement. Wide angle is standard for most CCTV, which is fine when you want to identify people close to the camera, however, a CCTV camera with a good optical zoom is necessary for people or vehicles which are further away.
4 Audio And Two Way Communication
Many cameras now come with a mic and speaker built in. Mics are great for capturing additional evidence, imagine several people have broken in and keep their faces covered but use one another’s names. That kind of supporting evidence is a gift for your case when it comes to court. The inclusion of a speaker means you can not only tell potential intruders that they are being filmed before they break in, if someone is lost or making a delivery and you can’t get to the door, it gives you an opportunity to speak to them without having to go to the door if you’re busy elsewhere or not even on site.
5 Image Quality
Everybody’s seen the footage on TV of crimes being committed in front of the camera, but the quality is so poor or the angle so bad that it’s impossible to really make out what’s going on. CCTV is supposed to be as much a deterrent as it is an evidence gathering device, but if the criminal knows they just have to look in one direction to avoid being caught and that the images will be so poor as to me worthless. Look for a camera which not only provides high resolution or HD, but also performs well in low light as perfect pictures of darkness won’t get you very far in court. As well as speakers and mics, lights are also among the options that come attached to many brands of camera, lighting the picture, and acting as a security light too.
6 Low Light, IR And Night Vision
As mentioned above, integrated lights are one of the options you have when choosing your camera. You also have cameras designed to work in low light, or use infra-red or even night vision. These options are more expensive than the standard general purpose cameras, but they capture images of superior quality in adverse light conditions without alerting intruders to the fact that they have been triggered, or turning on security lights whenever someone comes near. This can be important if you live near others who don’t want to be disturbed by having bright lights come on in the middle of the night each time a cat or fox wanders across your lawn!
7 Expandability And Including Other Devices
Because there are several different platforms and data transfer protocols (wifi, Bluetooth, lifi, NFC, IR et cetera) compatibility is a potential problem if you choose to start small and expand at a later date. The products may work perfectly as stand-alone devices, but synchronising function may not be as simple as desired. However, these problems aren’t insurmountable if you’re prepared to invest an afternoon synchronising them via a home hub. And this is apparent drawback is actually a good thing in terms of data security insomuch as a hi-tech intruder may be able to identify and disable a system that works with one protocol, such as wifi, but their work is doubled if there are two protocols to crack.
8 Additional Benefits
You may start out shopping for a camera which you can use to keep an eye on potential shoplifters and maybe light-fingered staff, but the benefits of CCTV and Smart security aren’t limited to crime prevention. Fire, smoke, motion and CO detectors are a desirable addition to your health and safety. Because they’re Smart they send you a text or email to let you know when the batteries are getting flat. As well as sounding an alarm when they are triggered, they can also trigger the CCTV so you can check on evacuation and they will call the emergency services too.
CCTV can also help with customer insight too. If you want to find out how people move around inside your shop, discover basic demographics such as approximate age, gender, et cetera, being able to watch people behave as though they aren’t being observed is incredibly enlightening!
9 Motion Detection and ‘Active Motion Areas’
Motion detection is a really useful tool. Since the camera only works when there is activity you save on hours of useless footage being recorded and stored. Instead you only have to review the moments when people or vehicles are moving. However, if you have to locate a camera where it regularly picks up movement which is utterly innocuous you can set an ‘active motion area.’ This means you can select an area on screen where motion won’t trigger recording, however, should anybody leave the selected portion of the screen and enter the rest of the screen then they will be recorded.
10 Access, Control, Data Management and Security
Your Smart CCTV security system can record and store data for a month, a year, or permanently depending on the options you choose. It’s easy to download, email or burn a DVD of the footage, or you can have it streamed to your phone, tablet or computer too. The options of who you do or don’t share the data with are only limited by your decisions of who can access the info. Once you have the footage you can add layers of admin to control who can do what with it.