This is an excerpt from a longer article titled "10 Items to Consider When Evaluating Video Surveillance for your Business". There is a button at the bottom of the article if you wish to download the article in its entirety.
Using video surveillance to protect and help manage a business has come a long way from humble beginnings. These original systems were as simple as a camera linked to a monitor that would provide a live feed of video. Often, the resolution was poor, the images were black and white, and video recording technology was still years away.
Today, video surveillance systems take full advantage of a wide range of (mostly) digital technologies to enable incredibly high resolution streaming video—even to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.
With so many video surveillance technologies to choose from, it can get confusing. As you evaluate video surveillance systems for your business, consider the following list of important items.
1. Are you looking to observe or identify?
The resolution (clarity) of the system you install should be taken into consideration when deciding whether you are looking to “observe” or “identify”. As the following examples show, there is a big difference in the resolution needed for these two actions.
Reviewing footage to confirm how often a table is ‘flipped’ during the lunch hour. High resolution video is not required for this action.
Having the ability to zoom in on footage to see if an employee is using a personal phone while on duty (and customer facing). High resolution video would be recommended for this action.
2. What features are important to you?
A very popular feature today is the ability to view live or archived video from a mobile device. Consider other features such as event notifications (when motion is detected) and system “health alerts” (when the power is out or the internet goes down). Also consider a maintenance agreement or warranty, and ensure that it is tied to both the equipment and the installation.
3. Where do you want the video stored?
Video surveillance systems today offer local storage, and some offer cloud-based video storage. In cloud-based surveillance systems, the recorded video is not stored on site, rather it is held off-site in a secure data center, allowing a user to access it remotely.
Cloud storage has the benefit of security (often during a crime, a DVR or NVR is a targeted item for theft resulting in lost evidence from a crime), tamper resistance (some folks just like to push buttons—even when they shouldn’t), and stability (there have been many instances where a DVR or an NVR fails because it’s tucked in an office, covered with books, boxes, and coats and the device simply overheats).
The downside of cloud storage can be the amount of internet capacity that may be consumed by a system that is constantly streaming video from a local camera to a cloud environment. Additionally, if the internet goes down, some cloud-based storage systems are not able to record as they use the internet to link between the camera and the off-site storage.
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