Buying cctv systems may be the most important step anyone can make this year. The demand for security systems has risen over the last 10 years due to the changing needs of people and the type of technology that has been developed to serve the industry. Time and again, security systems have proven their worth in gathering evidence, discouraging the commission of a crime and in helping catch perpetrators in the act.
Uses of CCTV Systems
Cctv systems are utilized for a number of reasons, such as:
CCTV systems are frequently installed in areas for the purpose of observing people, events and activities. They may be monitored by a live observer such as security personnel, detectives, law enforcement staff or civilians. The number of electronic equipment used for surveillance has increased significantly over the last decade, for use mainly by governments and commercial establishments. Surveillance is the main reason why countries such as the U.S., the U.K. and China use CCTV systems and equipment.
Employers use cctv systems to observe and monitor the performance of their employees on the job. This is a common practice particularly in high-risk and high-security industries such as banks, financial institutions, IT companies, production and manufacturing industries, medical hospitals and facilities, shipping, logistics and even securities exchanges. Employers often use cctv systems to keep track of employees, products, customers and suppliers.
Traffic cameras are ubiquitous in many large cities where these are utilized for monitoring and managing traffic flow. Live cctv systems are often combined with surveillance technology in order to observe and measure the flow of traffic and provide information to concerned agencies and residents regarding problems and issues on the roads and highways. Security cams also play an integral role in ensuring the efficiency of road emergency services and in implementing traffic-related issues.
Marketing and Customer Service:
CCTV systems often serve a double purpose at public places such as malls, museums, amusement parks, theme parks and resorts where they are used to gather demographic data. The compilation is later analyzed to determine human traffic patterns. This allows facilities to match their products and services to the specific segments that are the most likely to be interested in buying or participating. Data from these cctv systems is also used for product placement and positioning in order to maximize customer interest and increase sales. CCTV systems also perform double duty at stores and shops where they are used to ensure that store customer service policies are being implemented. This aids establishments in improving service and increasing customers' loyalty to the brand.
Different Types of CCTV systems:
There is a wide range of cctv systems available for different purposes. Before investing in a system, it is important to determine several important issues, such as:
- what you want to watch or monitor
- where you intend to install the equipment
- the conditions where the equipment will be placed (size of the area, number of rooms, location - indoors/outdoors, the environment in general)
- purpose of the installation (security, surveillance, monitoring of employees, children or the elderly, observation of activities within a given area)
- types of principal equipment and accessories you will need to fulfill the specific purpose/s you have
Wired or Wireless?
CCTV systems come in two major categories: hardwired or wireless. Either setup has its own advantages and disadvantages that have to be considered carefully in order to maximize the use of the system. Put simply, wired systems are connected by wires while wireless systems rely on microwaves to transmit signals from a transmitter to a receiver. These microwaves may be radar, laser or radio waves, depending on the system.
Getting the best out of cctv systems requires correct understanding about the technology behind it. Here are some of the most common terms used by manufacturers:
CCD and CMOS - these are two types of image sensors, the part of the security camera that converts light to electrical signals that are then transmitted to be converted again to an image that can be viewed. CCD (Charged Coupled Device) image sensors generally produce images of great clarity and detail, making cameras equipped with this technology better suited for industrial, photographic and scientific applications. CCDbased cctv systems are generally larger than CMOS-based units.
CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) technology makes smaller cctv systems possible. All the image processing features and functions of the camera can fit into the CMOS chip, allowing for more compact designs. Smaller cameras, such as spycams, are generally equipped with CMOS image sensors.
DNR - stands for Digital Noise Reduction. This feature is particularly useful for low light applications. Without DNR, the lens of a camera becomes susceptible to image interferences such as dust and tiny particles that may be present in the air. Since light can get scattered, this combination produces grainy images. In cameras that are equipped with motion detection, this scenario can produce false motion. With DNR, the camera can detect 'noise' or image interference and digitally eliminate it to produce a clearer image.
Lux is a measurement of the level of light that the lens is capable of capturing. It is usually applicable to units that utilize infrared, although low light cameras may also have this rating. Lower ratings indicate a more efficient lens while higher ratings indicate a less efficient lens. IR cameras typically have a 0 lux rating, which means that they are capable of capturing images with no light.
TVL stands for TV lines, referring to the horizontal lines made up of light-detecting cells in the CCD. The more TVL there are in a unit, the more capable it is to produce good quality images.
Security cams that are marked 'Day/Night' are units that can automatically switch from day mode to night mode. They capture color images at day time and black & white images at night.
DSP stands for Digital Signal Processor. It is the part of the camera that receives information from the CCD and turns that information into images in video frames. It plays a key role in producing clear, crisp images.
FOV stands for Field of View. This refers to the width and height of the picture as produced by the camera lens. The FOV is adjustable depending on the type of lenses used. On a camera with a fixed or monofocal lens, however, the FOV remains the same. Determining the FOV of the camera allows you to choose which one is best for a specific requirement.
Varifocal refers to the type of lens that can be used to produce different images of an object through the zoom function. Unlike the fixed lens, the varifocal lens allows adjustments to be made on the focusing power of the camera.
Wide Dynamic Range or WDR cameras are used for situations where two or more different lighting conditions are present. For example, a camera which is mounted on a wall outside a warehouse is focused on a scene in front. The area where the camera is located is dimly lit while the area it is focusing on is illuminated by bright sunlight. A camera without a WDR function will project an image that appears dark in some places; a camera with WDR, however, will produce a bright image. This is because these units are equipped with the capability to optimize images and adjust automatically to create a better picture.
When it comes to details of cctv systems, the issue is usually about the quality and capability of the camera more than its number. However, using multiple cctv systems for one area may be necessary to obtain important details from different viewing points.
If recognizing facial details is an important consideration, a good rule of thumb to follow is the rule of 10 heads. To test your cctv systems, look at the image of a person projected by the camera, then imagine 10 of that same head stacked on top of one another. If the 10 heads or less fit in the screen, then the camera should be able to provide sufficient details. If the screen requires more than 10 heads from top to bottom, then the viewing angle may not be able to produce a clearer picture.
What are Ideal CCTV Systems?
For most scenarios, there should be at least 3 security cameras in place - one camera at eye level to capture faces, one camera for a wide angle shot and one camera for the high risk area. This number can and should change, obviously, since different buildings have different needs. The goal for the cctv systems is to meet your security and surveillance purposes.
Buying CCTV systems isn't easy. It takes patience, research, and a lot of time to find and buy the best security camera system for your needs. If you're buying cctv systems to protect your family, make sure you get the most effective and reliable one in your budget.