Security camera systems or CCTV systems have been in use for decades for widespread application in the field of security and surveillance. Closed circuit security architecture means that surveillance footage is only visible to authorized people and particular areas can be monitored in real time. In UAE there is a specific need for security camera systems in high rises, malls, and public places. In major areas like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, CCTV systems can be seen deployed in most public and commercial establishments, and contribute significantly towards heightened security, quicker response to emergencies and easier resolution of conflicts and legal matters.
Security camera systems also act as a deterrent to crime and common malpractices, and their use is strictly governed by government regulations and laws. If you are looking to set up a security camera system for your own needs, you need to understand the underlying technology, the mechanisms and the various hardware components that are involved. Whether it is for home security or for large commercial spaces, knowing more about security camera systems will let you make an informed, smart decision.
Rudimentary security camera systems are not complicated in the least- if you can attach a cable from a camera to a display unit or a hardware recorder; you have in fact a working security camera system. Of course, with the advancement of technology and the increased need of specialized security around the globe, security camera systems have evolved. There are now many different kinds of products that have different feature sets and can yield different results based on your requirements. From basic home security to intricate, multi-camera networks that can cover entire buildings and even roads, security camera systems come in all sizes. For your explicit requirements, you need to choose the right system and the right components to achieve the desired results.
The front-end and arguably the most important part of a security camera system is a camera. Even a basic camera capable of capturing video data can work as a security camera, provided there are means of real-time transfer of video feed. For specialized needs, you can take a look at many different options to ascertain what you need. Among these are –
- Standard – Standard security cameras have basic features and come in many designs. Common among them are the box design, the dome design and the bullet design. These can effectively monitor a set range or area and continuously send video feed to monitors or recording equipment for effective surveillance.
- Feature – Feature cameras have added features which can come in handy if you have very specific requirements. If you want surveillance in the dark or low light conditions, you can opt for night vision cameras which use infrared technology to facilitate imaging. Motion sensor cameras detect motion in their monitoring area and can be configured to start or stop recording accordingly. PTZ or pan-tilt-zoom cameras come with motorized mounts which can be controlled remotely to move the camera in different ways and sweep a wider range of area.
- Other Points – Both standard and feature cameras can have certain other features. For example, outdoor cameras can have additional protection against the elements. Wireless cameras only need to be installed and can work without the need to lay down cables. Camera resolutions can also vary greatly, depending on the quality of video feed that you are expecting.
Once you have understood the principles of the camera and figured out the kind you need for your requirements, it is time to considering how to process the camera feed. There are two distinct possibilities here- sending it to a monitor for live surveillance or capturing it for later on recording hardware. You can also opt to do both at once if you please.
Monitors allow authorized personnel to keep a real time eye on the video feel of security cameras. In particular areas where round the clock monitoring is essential, this can be the system of choice. What you need to figure out is the number of monitors you need. Most cameras can be set up with multiple monitors, and you also have the option of condensing video data from multiple cameras into one or more monitors. Dedicated camera management hardware can give you the requisite control to achieve this. If you have networked or wireless cameras, you can use a computer system fitted with one or more computer displays as your monitoring station, managing the feed with the help of specialized software. Access to monitors can be suitably restricted as per need, and you can even configure that monitors to show only the feed from certain specific cameras.
One extremely popular and cost effective option for recording security camera system feed is the DVR or Digital Video Recorder. With the advent of new H.264 technology, DVR media can now hold more high quality video data than ever before. Hardware DVR devices can also come with important features that can aid in the surveillance workflow and make your task a whole lot easier. Here are some options to consider –
- Networked Recording Equipment – If you are setting up a security camera system for an office, commercial complex, bank or public area, it is likely that you would have a high-speed wired or wireless network installed to take care of communication needs. Many DVR devices can be integrated into this network, giving you a lot of extra benefits. Coupled with networked security cameras, you can use an in-place system of communication to facilitate easy data transfer between cameras and recording equipment without having to lay down new cabling. Using wireless cameras and wireless DVR systems give you even more freedom, allowing you to set up both camera locations and recorder location anywhere you want, with a lot of flexibility and scope to move things around.
- Direct Monitoring – Many DVR devices have in-built support for monitoring, which enables you to attach monitors directly to the device. This way, you can record video feed while also making it visible on the monitors for physical surveillance.
- Remote Access – Many DVR devices support remote access. Using this feature, you can view, manage, skim through and locate video feed from any camera in your system simply using a device like a computer, tablet or smartphone. The integrated security measures ensure that sensitive data never falls into the wrong hands. This gives you a way of monitoring security camera feed while on the go, or from offsite locations which have internet connectivity.
- Other Features – Special features in DVR devices include motion detection, which allows you to configure the DVR to record only when motion is detected, and thereby save on valuable storage space real estate. You can also get the option to schedule recordings, covering only business hours or working hours for public areas. Advanced object masking technology in DVR devices allows for real time processing of video feed during recording, keeping focus firmly on important areas. DVRs also come with variable storage options, the bigger being the better. You might also want to consider the ability to attach external storage or data transfer devices like external USB hard drives and optical media to be an added bonus.
Making the Connections
When you have all the equipment you need, you need to scope out your area of coverage keeping in mind your exact security requirements. Placing the cameras is the first step, followed by setting up a dedicated, restricted access location for your recording device and monitor setup. The final step is to connect the components together. You can go the wired route and use standard cable formats like BNC for audio and video and RG59 Siamese coaxial cables for power. These cables can be bought pre-made to size specifications or assembled on-spot using special tools. Networked components allow you to tap into your existing LAN / WAN or wireless network and use their communication power to transfer camera feeds. Ensure that all your components are connected properly and have power supply. With this set up, you should be ready to go. If you want further control over your system, you can use either hardware or software management tools that enable you to sequence, store, search, sort and process various feeds and recordings so as to create a system that is intuitive, easily operable and useful in your particular usage context. Internet access can be set up from the DVR level, using a high speed internet connection to make security camera system feed available to authorized users over the internet. With a clear understanding of the technology involved and the components in use, you can create for yourself the perfect security camera system and ensure constant surveillance and maximum security.