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Choosing a CCTV System

CCTV and Electronic Security Systems are constantly evolving and we've seen enormous changes over the last few years. There are increasingly sophisticated systems for monitoring, recording and monitoring activity inside and around your property and/or business premises.

There is a wide choice of products and systems available and selecting the correct one for you or your business can be confusing whether it's a new system or an upgrade to an existing CCTV system.

Electric Spider's engineers have put together the following tips and guidelines to help you.

Why do you want a CCTV system?

Do you need a system to deter intruders and criminals? Do you want to record access to a buidling or a car park? Do you want to monitor your home or office? Do you want to record 24/7 or at specific times or whenever movement is detected? What will you do with recorded footage and images? How long do you need to keep it? How often are you going to review it? Answering these questions will help you to form some clear objectves for your system, Our engineers can help you with the technical stuff such as video resolution, disk stoage capacity, camera lens selection, remote ineternet access and if your system is connected to a computer network, how much bandwidth is required?. By considering these steps, we can ensure your system will deliver what you need.

What do I need?

A CCTV system comprises one or more cameras and a recording facility whcih can be a dedicated piece of hardware or software based facilites on seperate computer. Cameras may be analogue where video signals are transmitted along coaxial cable (like your TV signal) or IP based cameras where they are connected to a computer network using special cable - CAT5 or CAT6 and less commonly used systems, fibre optic cables. There are an increasing number of IP based systems but traditional analogue systems still have their place.

How can I store images?

Although images can be stored on some cameras the capacity is limited. Most systems store images and footage on a computer's hard drive (NVR) or on a digital video recorder(DVR). Better quality systems have the ability to simultaneously handle a number of fucntions. They can be accessed remotely by smartphone or another computer, someone can search for some footage from a logged event and the cameras can be shown on the main monitor all at the same time.The amount of storage capacity really depends on how many cameras you have, the image quality of the recording and the length of time you need to store the footage.

How can I monitor my system?

This is a key factor in your choice. Do you have a control room with trained operators or a remote monitoring centre? Will you need access to the system from aremote location? Do you want to receive email or text alerst if an alarm is triggered? IP based cameras can be individually connected to the internet and higher quality DVR units have the ability to alert for motion detection and other alarm events.

Which types of camera do I need?

There is a huge choice but only higher qulity cameras deliver the best image quality. We are not fans of budget level cameras because they always disappoint whenever conditions become tricky such as very low light level. They are usually inflexible and cannot be adapted and unfortunately their build quality is often poor - breaking down after a year or so.

There are choices for fixed camera in traditional box shaped housings, dome cameras which are vandal proof in many cases and finally pan tilt and zoom (PTZ) cameras which move by small motors remotely operated. PTZ cameras offer the most flexibility and can be programmed to watch a set "tour" of selected area which are panned on a schedule. This is very useful for systems where they are monitored by trained operators. Fixed cameras are best deployed where you want capture of movement at a set location such as a gate, doorway, office or corridor. As they cannot move, there is little chance of missing the important activity. Many more comprehensive system use a combination of both type.

Can I upgrade my current system?

In many cases CCTV systems without a supporting maintenance plan can rapidly become ineffective. Apart from ensuring that your system is working properly, it may be that newer and more effective technology becomes available. Older systems where recording is by video tape are no longer available to buy and carry a high risk that footage is destroyed by tape breaking or stretching. Any such systems should really be replaced immediately.

There may be changes made in your business or you want to adjust monitoring areas of your home or office. New cameras can be specified that vastly improve what you can see and in many cases the original camera can ne used somehwere else where there is a lower risk of crimes or where criminal identity is not as important.

If you are considering a change to modern IP based systems, you existing system can in many cases still be incorporate into your new more comprehensive CCTV security system. At Electric Spider er can advise you about which elelments of your system need an upgrade to digital CCTV so you gaiun the performance you need while saving money on a complete system refit.

What is most cost effective?

This really does depend on your own requirements. IP cameras tend to be more expensive and their image quality is generally better but they are more flexible and are easily reconfigured from a computer. Traditional analogue type cameras may be adequate for a monitoring system and there are specialist cameras that deliver high resolution for special need such as Number Plate Recognition or high resolution for facial recognition in sensitive areas. In some cases a traditional type system with DVR will be fine but many clients are now considering the use of IP based systems especially where a computer network is already in place. If you need to monitor a large area such as car park, a single high resolution PTZ camera might be more cost effective than several fixed cameras.

The choices are many and can be challenging to get it just right. We are here to help you.

Contact Electric Spider using the details on our website page, we will be pleased to hear from you. If a specialist is not available, you can book a return call by filling out the form on the website page.



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