Security is highly important to us for many reasons. It is important first of all to our health and safety (not to mention that of our family and/or employees), but it is also important for our peace of mind, for our finances and our belongings, and for the look and value of our property. CCTV (which stands for ‘Closed Circuit Television’) in particular is very useful for preventing crimes and that includes preventing it by offering some kind of deterrent, catching it in process, and even helping to track down the perpetrators after the fact. At the same time it also has a host of other uses and advantages that you might not have immediately considered – for example allowing you to keep an eye on your property to prevent other accidents or problems such as people tripping or falling, or such as a fire occurring on the premises. If you are installing CCTV in a business such as a shop or restaurant meanwhile, it can have additional benefits such as encouraging staff to work conscientiously as they know they’re ‘being watched’ and can also help protect you from lawsuits etc. From a moralistic point of view, it can also help a business to have a positive impact on the local community as their outward facing cameras can also detect and deter other crimes that aren’t against that business.
So unanimously CCTV cameras are a great invention and one you should certainly invest in. However the question is, which CCTV cameras do you go for, and how do you know which ones to choose?
The first dichotomy you’ll be presented with when you choose your cameras is whether you want a digital CCTV system or an analogue one. This will have fairly large implications on how you use the cameras, and how they run and digital will provide many advantages over analogue. The first good thing about digital cameras is that they can record footage in varying qualities and to any storage device. This means that you don’t have to trawl through hours of footage on VHS, and means you don’t have to delete it or find somewhere to stack all your old VHS. At the same time this also means that you can record multiple tracks at once – and this is one large disadvantage of analogue CCTV – you can only record from one camera at once. Of course if you only need one camera set up for a home security system then this is fine, but if you have a building or office and you need several then it suddenly becomes more impractical. Of course though there are upsides to analogue too or no one would use them, and these are the facts that a) they are much cheaper and b) they are much simpler to use. At the same time this simplicity also means there is far less to go wrong – you won’t suddenly have a crash that means the systems are down at the worst possible moment. All this means that for the layman, this is the best set up and it will cost the minimal amount to install and run. It’s perfect for the home, or for a small shop or restaurant.
However for larger corporations, a digital CCTV set up will be far more appropriate and this can monitor multiple rooms and make use of many other features. On top of all the benefits of being able to store the data in different formats, digital cameras also have other features and benefits depending on your model. For example you can install your digital camera with motion sensors, and this will allow your camera to record only when it picks up movement. This is highly beneficial as it means that you won’t have hours worth of footage to trawl through – just a few seconds here and there where movement has been seen. At the same time it can use image analysis to detect things like human faces to make the recordings even more accurate so that the cameras don’t go off whenever there is a gust of wind or a cat – just cat burglars. This accuracy also allows the cameras to be combined with voip which will mean that the camera can actually call you, or call a security agency when this movement is detected. You or they can then assess the video footage, and then act accordingly depending on what you see. This also makes the use of another type of digital CCTV – IP CCTV which stands for ‘Internet Protocol’ and which uses a wireless connection to stream the footage. This then means fewer wires, and thus more flexibility with camera placement, but also means that you can watch the CCTV from anywhere in the world – even on your phone. Here you will need to choose between centrally operated IP and locally operated IP CCTV, which dictates whether the footage is stored locally on an SD card or built in memory, or whether they all report to one central computer or software.
Digital cameras can also have some benefits for residential use, and in particular for the elderly or the disabled. For example if you combine a digital CCTV with an intercom and a digital lock, then you can create a security system whereby you can check whose at the door by looking through the camera. This way you then can decide to buzz them in or not – no need to let them know you’re in if they look shady, and no need to get up if you do decide to. These are just a few of the different types of CCTV available, and a few of the decisions you will have to make. If you choose digital CCTV you will also need to look into the quality of the footage, the file format, and the other available features. At the same time, regardless of the type you go with you will need to decide on the make and model. Think about the uses for your camera, and how much time and money you’re willing to invest in your security.