Today most enterprises use at least 200 IP video surveillance cameras 24/7/365.
Advancements such as IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning might be turning some of the systems into obsolete but video surveillance, in any form of shape, will stay as an integral part of the IT economy of our commercial, enterprise and industrial sectors in foreseeable future.
Proper planning to implement video surveillance solutions can go a long way in achieving objectives of their deployment. Benefits can go beyond addressing liabilities and security issues and assist in gathering critical data and analytics to help forge better operational policies.
In this article, we’ll be looking at 10 basic considerations for those looking to implement video surveillance.
So, let’s jump straight into it.
1-What Is the Purpose of Your System?
First up on our list is identifying why surveillance is needed or could be beneficial. What are your reasons, if any, for looking into surveillance and security? Many businesses and enterprises working within industrial sectors look to surveillance as a solution for various aspects of their operations including for security, safety, and certain operational or management processes. Looking into case studies of video surveillance and security within your industrial field can also help shed light on how best these solutions can be used as well as which types of equipment work best for that specific use case.
2-Where Do You Want Surveillance?
Location is also an important consideration for video surveillance and security systems as it can determine other factors of your systems such as what equipment to use and in what way. For example, do you want your cameras inside or outside? What kind of environment will they be operating in? Will your location mean you need to install additional equipment or hardware in order to get your required results? These are all questions that should be asked when considering the location of your video surveillance and security systems.
3-Do Your Cameras Need to Be Visible?
As well as your systems location, the visibility of the cameras included in your system is another consideration to take into account. For example, If your cameras are there to act as a deterrent, then visible yet unobtrusive cameras are a safer bet than cameras that are completely out of view. In an industrial scenario, where cameras could be used as deterrents for trespassing, theft, or any other criminal or illegal behaviours, placing cameras where they will be seen by those considering such things may cause them to rethink their actions.
4-What Type of Cameras Do You Need?
There are various different types of cameras available on the market today and as many ways to utilise the different designs and functions they feature. What you intend to use your cameras for can largely dictate which type would best suit your requirements and a little research into the different types of cameras available will help make things clearer.
Questions you need to ask are: a) do you need night vision recording with low or no light? Yes? – Go for Infrared Cameras, b) Do you need fixed focus images or ability to swivel, rotate and zoom in? Yes to the latter – Go for the PTZ or Dome camera. Dome cameras, for example, have become largely popular in retail/commercial environments as they have an unobtrusive design that still allows them to be distinguished as cameras and therefore work as a deterrent.
5-How Many Cameras Do You Need?
Having decided which type of camera would be suit your need, you will have a good idea of the coverage and detail each camera can provide. This brings you to the next question, which is, how many of them you will need. This can vary depending on the size of the area needing surveillance and which cameras you have chosen. If you’re planning on using video surveillance outside across a large area, for example, one might consider several rugged cameras strategically placed around that area with appropriate distance so as to offer the best possible coverage.
On a vehicle such as a bus you may work with 4 to 12 cameras, it completely depends on your budge and what you want to achieve. A retail store depending on the size may require more cameras and therefore more NVR devices.
6-How much storage do I need?
If you are implementing video surveillance partly because of liability obligations, you will already know some basic guidelines as to for how long you need the recordings available for any forensic investigation of an event. Coupled with internal policies about the required resolution and number of cameras you should be able to able to come up with an estimate of requirement storage resources for your video surveillance. Calculator requirement of video storage is a critical part before moving to the next step.
7-DVR, NVR or Video Server?
After determining the number of cameras and storage requirements next step is to determine what video surveillance hardware will you use to implement your project. Three basic options include DVR, NVR and Video Server. DVR’s work with analog CCTV cameras connected with coaxial cable whereas NVR works with IP cameras connected with LAN cable.
DVR’s have technological limitations as they are older generation of surveillance systems and offer VGA resolution unlike NVR’s that offer high resolution video stream over IP. Both DVR and NVR can typical connect to a fixed number of cameras depending upon the number of embedded LAN/coaxial ports on them. Both of them offer local storage on the device and remote viewing functions.
Video servers are built for data intensive surveillance workloads. Like NVR’s they also offer remote recording and live viewing over IP network using IP cameras. They can also work with Analog cameras using encoders to convert analog signal to digital prior to entering the server.
Video servers typically use storage area network (SAN) storage software to create redundant storage area networks offering redundant hot failover feature for uninterrupted recording in case one drive goes down. This type of hardware is suitable for large enterprises with internal data centers and sophisticated IT setup.
If you are deploying the surveillance in a commercial, industrial, or a vehicle, you will require a small form factor ruggedized NVR as those have small foot print and also have no moving parts enabling them to offer much higher up-time compared to legacy DVR’s. Choosing an NVR with PoE ports will also cut down the hassle of extra power cables, something you may want to consider in these environments.
8-Is Audio a Requirement?
Audio can often be a highly desirable feature of a video surveillance systems yet can also be completely pointless in others. With this in mind, think carefully about whether it would be necessary in your own case. In some cases, audio capabilities make it possible to communicate with subject within a certain range of the camera, allow for notifications or alarms to be set up if audio levels pass a specified threshold and are also quite simple to integrate into video management systems (VMS). If not required, you may be able to make savings by avoiding cameras with unnecessary additional features such as audio capabilities.
9-Do You Need Analytics?
With an increasing focus on capturing, processing, and analysing the data generated by newer IoT technologies, analytics software is becoming increasingly common in video surveillance and security systems. Using intelligence gathered and specialised algorithms, video analytics systems can notify users of suspicious activity, motion, unrecognised personnel and more. Video analytics has proven to be a great way to enhance and improve video surveillance operations within the businesses and organisations that utilise it and can also provide actionable data by which to continue to improve such operations.
10. What about Future Requirements?
The final consideration on our list is that of the future. What will your video surveillance and security requirements be in five or ten years’ time? How might they change over time and is the system you are considering now prepared to accommodate such changes? With technologies evolving at a quicker rate than ever before in our history, it would appear to make sense to invest in the future and create a surveillance strategy that allows you to incorporate up and coming technologies as and when they are available or there is a requirement for them.