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Choosing a Surveillance Platform in Four Simple Steps

Making decisions on what CCTV platform to choose can be difficult. Getting it wrong is both expensive and frustrating. Knowing where to start is the first problem in what can be a mind blowing journey.

In our view, the starting point should always be a discussion on your specific security challenges - put simply what are you looking to protect and from whom and what role will surveillance play in your overall security programme? 
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Once that is clear, you can begin evaluating solutions. We generally look at four key criteria:- 

1. The environment 

Where is it that we are looking to monitor? The environment hugely influences the specification of camera. We monitor so much more than traditional indoor spaces. Some of the environments that we monitor include car parks, fencelines and perimeters, construction sites and outdoor spaces and more. All of which influence the camera specification. 

2. The camera 

Once we’ve understood what you want to achieve and the environment that the technology will be operating in, we’ll select the most appropriate type of camera. There are a number of different types of camera - some are listed below. 

Based on your requirements, we’ll select from our range of cameras, which include:

  • Dome CCTV Cameras
  • Mini Dome CCTV Cameras
  • Fish Eye Cameras
  • Bullet CCTV Cameras
  • C-Mount CCTV Cameras
  • PTZ Pan Tilt & Zoom Cameras
  • Day/Night CCTV Cameras
  • Infrared/night vision CCTV Cameras
  • WDR Cameras
  • Specialist LPR and analytics cameras
A separate blog will discuss the merits and uses of the individual cameras but the decision on which to select is usually based on what you want to monitor and your environment, as well as technical considerations such as fps, resolution, storage and bandwidth required.

3. The Technology 

We’ll then make recommendations on the type of technology to use. We’ll need to make a decision on whether to use analogue or IP technology. 

Analogue cameras need two cables to work: a power cable and a coaxial cable, which connects the camera to the network. To store footage, most analogue cameras now connect to a digital video recorder (DVR) which can be viewed remotely via an internet connection. 

The newer alternative to analogue CCTV is the IP camera, which transmits live footage as a stream of data over the internet. These cameras don’t need to be physically connected to hardware to record and transmit footage, so remote video monitoring is much easier to achieve and is usually of a higher quality. 

IP cameras come with in-built functions, such as motion sensors, that send alerts to monitoring stations. They also have remote controls, so it is much easier to change the angle or zoom in on a specific camera without someone needing to physically reposition it. They connect to monitoring stations with one ethernet cable, using a network video recorder (NVR). As IP camera footage is already digital, NVRs do not convert anything, they simply store footage and enable it to be viewed.

Once we’ve decided on the underlying technology, we’ll look at the image resolution capabilities of the cameras themselves. 

4. The Surveillance

Sounds obvious but careful thought needs to be given to who will conduct the surveillance. Do you have the resource, space to undertake the surveillance in a new or existing control room or would you like a partner to undertake the surveillance for you? 

There is lots of detail in each of the four steps that we haven’t explored here but following these steps with an established and credible partner that can give you manufacturer-neutral advice will build confidence and ensure you avoid the risk of wasted spend or security that is unfit for purpose.