Choosing CCTV Systems – A Guide for Small Businesses

If you own a small business, competition from your rivals is not the only threat you need to watch out for; you must also take steps to secure your premises. Pouring your blood, sweat and tears into your business is not enough. To protect your business interests, you need to come up with a security strategy. Over the years, increasing crime rates have forced businesses to rethink their security strategies. The modern intruder is equipped with a number of advanced devices that aid them in executing their devious plans. To secure your interests, you need to be a step ahead of antisocial elements. A CCTV system helps you achieve exactly that.

CCTV systems: An introduction

Your CCTV system is the eye of your business. It includes high-definition cameras that capture every movement in the area of installation and is controlled from a command centre, which stores footage recorded by the cameras.

You can choose from a range of monitoring cameras including wired cameras, wireless cameras and outdoor cameras.

CCTV cameras are one of the most potent deterrents employed by businesses. A label declaring your facility has such surveillance would be enough to discourage several burglars. Every movement of those who dare to ignore the warning would be recorded, which could be used as evidence to track the wrongdoers. Additionally, CCTV systems help keep a tab on employee and customer theft.

How to choose the right CCTV system for your business

Not all surveillance solutions carry the same elements. While some may include advanced features, many others come with basic functionalities. When buying a CCTV system in UK, you need to consider a number of factors.

1. The intended location of the camera

Most CCTV cameras can be installed both inside and outside premises. With that said, not all cameras are fit to use for outer and inner surveillance. Climatic conditions and the nature of your business can impact your camera’s functionality, which is why you need to analyse both these factors before opting for a CCTV solution.

If, for instance, your business is located in a cold region, a dip in mercury can impact your camera’s functionality. To address this problem, look for a camera with an in-built heater. Similarly, if you have a transport business and use cameras for surveillance while transporting goods, make sure your camera is certified to operate in environments with a high level of vibration.

For factory environments, opt for a camera that comes with additional protection to safeguard critical components against fluctuation in temperature and dust.

2. Coverage area

The next important factor to consider is the size of the area you want to cover. While static cameras are the best option for small areas, PTZ or pan tilt zoom cameras that can zoom in on a particular activity are usually used for large areas. Given that PTZ cameras can cover a large area, using them can help you save costs, as you won’t have to install several cameras.

3. Audio integration

Many CCTV solutions come with audio systems that enable the security team to communicate with intruders. The feature can help prevent and deter an intrusion attempt from the onset. Along with video footage, audio clips can be an important evidence and can make all the difference when it comes to proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A lot of systems employ audio systems as an independent detection trigger method that can be used in the event of poor lighting conditions.

4. The intended use

You can use your CCTV system to either monitor people and your property discreetly or install in plain view to discourage people from attempting any misadventures. If you want to monitor people discreetly, opt for smaller dome cameras that can be easily concealed in different devices such as smoke detectors and fire sprinklers. If, however, your motive is to warn people, look for larger cameras such as pan tilt zoom cameras that are easily visible and can cover a large area.

5. Image quality

If you need general monitoring from a distance or want to cover a small area such as your office, look for standard resolution cameras. Businesses that want a camera which can cover a larger area or provide close-up details must look for high-resolution cameras and have suitable storage for recording the bigger images. Keep in mind that high-resolution cameras aren’t automatically the better option on solely the basis of taking high-quality pictures. To get value for money, consider the level of coverage you need and the area to be covered when choosing between the two options.

6. Monitoring options

Modern CCTV systems come with a number of monitoring options. Many systems can be connected to a Video Receiving Centre. In the event of a security breach, the system sends images to the Control Room who can monitor, issue alerts and warnings over the camera speaker system If you just want to monitor your cameras yourself, look for a system that can be connected to your smartphone, tablet or PC. These systems allow you to control different components from your remote location.

7. Scalability

If you plan to add more security cameras to your system in future, look for a scalable system. Having lots of HD cameras will eat up your storage meaning that you will need lots of hard drive space in order to get many days recordings. A good rule of thumb is that a standard camera will use around 1Tb of space for every 30 days of recording.

8. Advanced features

If you want to monitor video footage continuously, opt for a VMS system. In addition to detecting unusual activities, these systems employ intelligent algorithms and Video Analytics that generate useful data, providing insights into consumer behaviour patterns.

If you aren’t sure when your CCTV system was last maintained, you know who to call.

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