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Top Tips for Choosing a CCTV System


CCTV technology has come a long way in recent years and today’s IP-based systems offer a wealth of capability for recording and remote monitoring of premises. But what are the key factors you need to consider when installing a new system? Here are some of the important questions you need to ask yourself and your supplier before installing new CCTV system at your home or office location.

Surveillance IP camera, also known as CCTV system camera

What is it For?

Before you start it’s important to sit down and think about why you want CCTV. What suits your neighbours or other businesses in the area may not be right for you.

Do you have a specific purpose in mind? Perhaps to deter intruders or to monitor access to a certain part of your property?

You then need to consider how often you’re going to access the recorded footage, how long you need to keep it and what image quality you require. All of these will help define the type of system you need.

CCTV System Equipment Basics

A CCTV system at its most basic consists of a camera and some form of recording apparatus. Traditionally these have been hard wired together using copper cable, but today it is more common to use IP technology to transmit the pictures from the cameras over the Internet to a central monitoring or recording location. The big advantage of this is that it makes it much simpler to add extra cameras or relocate parts of the system as required. It also means that you can monitor several different sites from a single location.

Images are usually stored on a computer or digital video recorder (DVR). This allows you to record multiple channels simultaneously. Most systems use some form of image compression technology which allows you to store larger amounts of footage at the expense of some minor loss of image quality. Because the recording system is attached to the Internet you can check on it from anywhere, so you could keep an eye on your home whilst you’re away on holiday for example. Digital recording also means no loss of quality over time.

Camera Types

If you’re looking for CCTV cameras, you can find a great choice in South Africa has plenty of suppliers to choose from. There are various different types of camera available for indoor and outdoor applications. You may choose a fixed camera to watch a specific location such as a doorway. Alternatively you could opt for a moving camera that can be programmed to sweep a particular area automatically or be controlled by an operator. For indoor use you may opt for a wide-angle camera that can cover a large area even though it’s fixed.

Quality is important too. Low resolution cameras are cheaper but if you require good quality footage it’s worth investing in more expensive kit. You could always go for a mix of kit with higher resolution equipment to cover important areas.

Adding motion detectors allows the camera to respond to movement and begin recording when someone enters a particular area. You might want to think about cameras that can record audio too. It’s possible to incorporate a speaker too so that you can play a recording or have an operator speak to intruders to warn them they’re being watched.

Integration

For a more sophisticated option it’s possible to integrate your CCTV with other security systems. You can link cameras to an alarm or to a door entry system for example to begin recording when the system is set or the door is locked for the night. You could also choose to record for a few minutes, such as each time the door is opened in order to monitor staff access to secure areas.

Chris Hoole writes regularly on security matters and knows that when it comes to choosing CCTV cameras South Africa has a good choice of professional suppliers.
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