Frequently Asked Questions
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The cost of a camera security system can range drastically depending on the application and environment the system will be used in. It's best to speak to one of our trained professionals about the different types,and price rages, of systems we offer. Our experts will work with your budget and help you find the best products to accomplish your security goals, weather you're a home owner, a small businessman, or a large multinational corporation.
We believe small business are some of our best clients because small business owners personally appreciate the value of the additional management control and loss prevention that our security camera systems provide. Unlike larger firms who may have several levels of management, and who may routinely absorb large losses from inventory shrinkage, the success of a small business owner depends on running a very tight operation. With do-it-yourself security camera systems starting under $500 Camera Security Now has an affordable system for any sized business.
Camera Security Now provides customer surveillance solutions to large and small facilities nationwide. When you consult with one of our security camera experts they will make sure you receive the cameras, and the infrastructure to support them, that are right for your physical plant. Understanding the environment a security camera system is to be used in is a key part of our consulting process. So, rest assured, our cameras are suited for large facilities.
To determine what cameras are best for our clients application we start by finding out what's important to our clients. That information, along with the environment the cameras will be installed in, and any budget constraints, help guide our consultants to recommend the best video surveillance possible.
In most cases having a site survey from Camera Security Now is free.
That depends on the state in which you live. There are "One Party Consent" and "Two Party Consent" laws in which the people being recorded must have knowledge of it. Always check with your state's current laws to be sure.
The ability to watch any security camera, live or pre-recorded, can only be done in two ways, by having physical access to the camera system or by having remote access through the internet. Given that you have physically secured the Network Video Recorder (NVR) then you simply need to change the password for the remote access to be secure as well. Keep in mind you may or may not want to allow your security camera installers to have a password for remote access so they can aid with technical issues.
Yes. If a manufacturer labels a security camera as indoor-only, believe them. Indoor cameras are not built to an Ingress Protection (IP) standard that would allow them to withstand the harsh conditions that exist outdoors. Pro Tip - Not all indoor environments are equal, so if you need indoor security cameras in spaces that you would consider not suited for office workers, be sure to consult your security camera company to discuss what level of IP housing your security cameras need.
When discussing professional-grade security cameras it's important to realize that the camera itself is seldom equipped with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. Though common for consumer (home grade) products you see sold at big-box stores, security cameras in commercial installations would use a more reliable method for wireless connectivity. That method would involve treating the security cameras like any modern network device and hooking them to a network switch that then connects to a Wi-Fi transmitter/receiver combo. This method allows the client to use a Wi-Fi signal of the proper strength and security level that best fits the situation. For example, in larger facilities, it's common to build out a network of wireless security cameras, as described above, and use a Wi-Fi transmitter that can reach ranges of several miles. Which would otherwise be impossible using a camera with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities
In general, each brand of security camera will offer several model lines that appeal to clients with varying needs. Though there are some brands that are known for their entry-level cameras, they too will have higher-end and costlier models that allow a client to step up for a more feature-rich security camera. Between those security camera brands known for their affordability and those brands that target the high-end commercial market, they could vary in cost by 300 to 400%. For example, a typical entry-level camera on the affordable end could sell for $100 and a typical entry-level camera on this high-end could easily sell for $400 or more.
Just as one restaurant chain could be known for their amazing steaks, another could be known for their amazing desserts. Though both may offer the same menu items, they do not deliver the same taste or quality. In a similar way, one brand of security cameras could be known for producing an excellent night vision camera while another brand could be known for its high-quality housings that help its cameras survive in the harshest of environments. Pro Tip - Be sure to consult with your security camera system integrator so that they understand what features are most important to you. Remember, all cameras are not created equal, even if it seems that way on their marketing material.
You can use your computer, laptop, cell phone, or other mobile device to remotely view your camera system. Internet access is required where the security cameras are installed and the site where remote viewing is desired.
The number of days worth of video any security camera system can store depends on several factors. The key factors in this question are how much storage space do you have, how many cameras are recording and for how long, and at what resolution and at what frame rate are they recording at? Obviously the more storage space your DVR or NVR has available the more video you will be able to retain. Standard systems now have anywhere from 4TB to 28TB of storage as standard. A common 1 Megapixel IP camera using H.264 compression, recording at 1208x1024 resolution and 15 frames per second will use approx 1.5GB Per Hour. In that scenario a 10 camera system recording 24 hours a day you could expect to use approximately 10 days of video on a 4TB system, or 20 days of video on an 8TB system, or 30 days on a 12TB system. etc. Be sure to tell your consultant how much video you would like to retain when discussing your system requirements.
When discussing professional-grade security cameras from manufacturers like Univew, GeoVsion, etc, you will learn that any camera is turned into a wireless camera by adding an external wireless transmitter. This is the most common approach for non-consumer-grade wireless security cameras as it leaves you free to choose booth the best camera and an external wireless transmitter/receiver kit that's most appropriate for the distances involved. Given that approach to implementing a wireless security camera, there is no reason to believe that the lifespan of the camera will be any different if it were wireless or not. Pro Tip - Always ask about the manufacturer's warranty for all products involved, including the camera and the external wireless components.
A security camera whose resolution is 720p (1280×720) could, in certain situations, be "good enough" for a large workspace given that the image it provides meets it's intended need. For example, in a scrap yard using security cameras to watch various collections of scrap metal, a 720p camera would be more than capable of telling you if a certain pile of scraps were full, or empty, even at 100 feet away. However, it would be inadequate if the need were to capture the company name or logo on the side of a truck at that same distance. Pro Tip - 720p security cameras are all but obsolete with most entry-level cameras today starting at 1920 x 1080. Don't be fooled, there would be no reason to buy such old technology.
When video from a security camera is stored on the hard drive of a Network Video Recorder (NVR) it is always compressed. The effectiveness of that compression determines the amount of video the hard drive can store before it becomes full and the older video then is overwritten. This relationship determines the "retention period", usually expressed in days of video, of an NVR system. The current and most effective compression algorithm is H.265. The most compact way to store your footage be sure to use both security cameras and an NVR that support H.265 compression.
Similar to the question about mixing different camera brands, your ability to use different camera brands to record video on a single device, such as a network video recorder, will primarily depend on making sure all the components in your security camera system are ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) compatible. Given that all the cameras and the storage device are ONVIF compatible then it's a good bet that the various camera brands will be able to have their video recorded. However, keep in mind that mixing camera brands may lead to various features of each being unsupported by other components in the system. Pro Tip - When compatibility is in question, test all features of a new camera model with a local connection to the network video recorder before running cable or mounting the camera.
The amount of storage space any video takes up on a DVD, thumb drive, hard drive, etc., is always related to its quality and resolution. Much like other video formats have evolved over the years and have gone from older, analog, tube-based television resolutions, to digital high-definition and 1080p, 4k, and beyond, security cameras have evolved in a similar fashion. With each evolution that has pushed resolution and quality higher, the amount of bandwidth required to transfer the video, and the amount of storage space required to keep the video, has increased. Keep in mind the amount of storage space required for any given camera can vary greatly so be sure to ask your security camera provider if your expectations to store a certain time period of video are practical for your budget.
The best type of security cameras for your specific business depends on the environment the cameras will be in and your expectations for the video they will be recording. That being said, there are generally two considerations that will help answer the question of "what's the best type of security camera for my business" and those are how harsh is the environment and how much video detail (resolution) do I need to see. If the environment is very harsh on account of the heat, cold, rain, or even the potential for vandalism or an explosion, then choosing the best camera will start with choosing the most appropriate camera housing to survive given those factors. The second factor, as mentioned before, is the amount of detail you need to have from any given camera. For example, if your goal is to watch over a very large outdoor parking lot, you may decide the best camera is one with a wide-angle lens and a very high resolution, such as 8-megapixels. Conversely, if you want to get a good face shot of people entering your building, you may decide the best camera has a lens with more zoom and a resolution in the 2-megapixel range. When you consider both factors you will then be able to easily narrow down what the best security camera will be for any given application.
Certain security cameras do better in certain environments than others and to make sure you choose the right camera for the right job you need to first look at your expectations and then your budget. With security cameras, you're free to choose the best features and capabilities that today's best technology can offer. The catch is, the cameras will be priced accordingly. For example, it's not reasonable to expect an entry-level camera to survive long in an environment that's constantly exposed to a hot dusty environment nor is it reasonable to expect it will give a good picture at 7:00 am if it's facing directly into the rising sun. However, once you understand the environment and the expectations, it's always possible to choose a security camera that will do better than another, given it's within your budget. Pro Tip - If after discussing your expectations a security camera asks about your budget, give them an honest answer, as an honest company will use that information to get you the best camera possible within that constraint.
A completely wireless security camera needs two things, an internal power source, and either an internal video storage device or built-in WiFi / Bluetooth. An example of such a completely wireless camera would be a "trail camera" or "game camera" sold at a sporting good store. Completely wireless security cameras are not, however, common in business applications.
Different security camera brands are able to be "mixed and matched", with varying degrees of "success" given the cameras are all ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) compatible. The mission of ONVIF is to provide and promote standardized interfaces for effective interoperability of IP-based physical security products. However, this is no easy or simple task and with many compatibility issues to consider, such as plug and play, video streaming, installation, storage and retrieval, etc. So, you should really give serious consideration as to why you want to mix and match brands of security cameras and if the rewards are worth the costs. If however mixing brands of cameras is a must, keep your expectations low and be ready for the issues and shortcomings that will come from running mixed brands of security cameras on the same system.
A professional-grade security camera from a manufacturer like Uniview, Axix, GeoVision, etc should be expected to last between four to eight years. Security cameras that are indoors should be expected to last longer than cameras installed outdoors and security cameras that are properly installed and protected from electrical surges would also be expected to have a longer lifespan. Pro Tip - All electronics will fail. Be sure to source your security cameras from a dependable supplier who will be there when they do.
There are countless brands of security cameras on the market today, and way too many to mention here. There are also many well-known names in the industry whose products are relabeled from low-end Chinese manufacturers. The important thing to remember when deciding what brand of a security camera is right for you is that quality security cameras, like any quality product, will demand a premium price. Secondly, it's worth noting that the brand of the camera is secondary to the service and support you will receive over the life of your entire security camera system from a trusted system integrator. Pro Tip - First find a trusted security camera system integrator and then choose the most appropriate brand from their lineup that fits your need and your budget.
While offering many of the same features and functionality, such as Wide Dynamic Range (WDR), Infrared (IR) ranges, IP ratings, low light ratings, plug and play features, ease of use, etc.., the primary differentiators in brands of security cameras are durability, support, and country of origin. Given that a security camera has a feature set that meets your need, be sure to consider the differentiators mentioned above.
As there are hundreds of different brands of security cameras, there are hundreds of answers to what quality do they record in. However, when talking about the "quality" of recording for a security camera you first need to look at several details of the camera that could make up that discussion. The first detail would be the resolution the security camera is recording in, this is often the first perception of "quality" a person has when looking at the recorded video from a security camera. In today's world, most professional-grade security cameras will have at least a 4MP (2560x1440) resolution or higher. Be careful, however, as the resolution is not the sole arbitrator of "quality". Other factors such as lens quality, frame rate, wide dynamic range support, etc. also play a large role. Once you know the level of quality your project needs, work with your security camera provider to find the brand and model of security camera that is best for you.
Though there are some security camera systems that are 100% proprietary and will only store video on the brand-specific recording device they are sold with, such security cameras are mainly sold through big-box resellers and online e-stores. A reputable security camera system integrator would not use such non-compatible and brand-specific security cameras. PRO Tip - Ask if the Network Video Recorder you are considering is ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) compatible to help guarantee cross-brand compatibility.
Storage options for your security camera's video will vary by booth brand and model of the Network Video Recorder (NVR) you choose. Though some security cameras exclusively use a cloud storage solution, this is not found in commercial-grade security camera systems. As exclusive cloud video storage is only practical in consumer-grade camera systems where large numbers of security cameras and large amounts of stored videos are not involved. When considering storage options for your security cameras ask about the maximum number of internal hard drives the NVR can support, the maximum storage capacity per hard drive, the Video Codec the NVR system will use to compress the video (keep in mind H.265 is the most current standard), and finally, ask if the NVR supports an external Network Attached Storage device.
Unlike consumer-grade security cameras that run on batteries that power on and record video only when they detect motion, a professional-grade security camera will always have power and the ability to record video. In a professional-grade system, it is up to the Network Video Recorder (NVR), its features and settings, to decide if the video is saved on an around the clock basis or only when the camera detects motion. Pro Tip - When deciding on a model of NVR, ask about the software features the NVR supports, in regards to recording, and make sure they match with your specific needs.
Do it yourself security camera systems are available. Ask one of our security specialists to find out if this cost saving option is right for you.
Yes, Camera Security Now has trained technicians around that country ready to setup and install surveillance systems wherever they are needed.
While placing an indoor security camera behind a window to watch something outside is an option, it is so "less than optimal" that it should only be considered as a temporary solution and only in the most desperate of situations, as the drawbacks are numerous and the advantages few. For more information feel free to give us a call or an email anytime.