Back when I was fresh out of high school, I had a job at a well-known franchise. It was located in an outdoor mall and would be dead silent one day-then flooded with customers the next. My managers decided the store needed security cameras to keep a watch over their business and employees when they weren’t there. So, they headed down to our local Costco to purchase a system (looking to save some money). Now, while I’m sure the 18 year old kid that helped them in the aisle at Costco was an expert on surveillance systems and steered them in the right direction. My managers weren’t very handy with tools so they had the system installed by a local general contractor. While the cameras were handy for checking in at certain times of the day, there was several hours in the day where the picture was completely useless. Anytime the sun came up in the afternoon or someone opened the front door, it would completely wash out the video. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the picture quality made it hard to tell the difference between a man or a women unless they were directly in front of the camera. I also never understood why someone wearing a purple sweater would look gray on the monitor above the cash register. Another problem with this system was that anyone wearing a hat could never be identified. There also were numerous “blind spots” in the camera system that allowed us to walk around the store without being detected because the cameras were the bullet type and you could easily see where they pointed.
It wasn’t until I came to Electronic Eye Security that I learned there are major differences between a professionally designed surveillance system versus a do-it-yourself (or DIY) camera system bought at Costco, Walmart, Radio Shack or 7/11 and installed by a general contractor (or even yourself). Working with the Security Genius is like getting an constant education in security, he is constantly working on his craft and teaching his employees. I recently found one of his reports he sends to educate our prospects called, 4 Mission Critical Factors When Designing or Installing a Surveillance System. I have enclosed a part of the report that explains why you would need to have an intelligently designed surveillance system by Electronic Eye Security and not have a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none contractor installing your surveillance system.
There are 4 critical factors that need to be determined before ANY surveillance system is designed and installed. If you do not utilize these 4 components, then you’ll end up the proud owner a useless video surveillance system, and will become very frustrated when something does happen and you don’t have any proof of what it was.
1) The Angle Of View - the actual amount of visual information that you end up with is determined by the camera lens, and the camera angle, or the position of the view, not the camera. (This explains why people wearing baseball caps go undetected.)
2) Personal Identification –the ability of the viewer to personally identify something within the scene, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Personal identification has two very important phases: The relationship of size and detail of an image, and the angle of view from which the scene is viewed. Without careful consideration of both aspects, your CCTV/Video Surveillance system merely records useless, unidentifiable images. (This is why a professional system incorporates different camera lens sizes instead of all fixed wide angle lenses like a system you buy at Costco.)
3) Action Identification –the ability of the surveillance system to capture the events occurring in front of the camera as they actually happened. (Without going technical, people always want to capture a license plate from a moving vehicle – this can only happen with the right camera, recording at the right frame rate with the right resolution – again something you will not find in a cookie cutter 16 channel camera system.)
4) Scene Identification - ability for the scene to stand on its own merit. In a building with many similar hallways, equipped with surveillance cameras having similar angles of view, how can the hallways be differentiated? Scene identification is an important, but often overlooked, form of identification vital to effective video systems. (This all goes back to intelligent design from a security expert versus Wally-the-contractor-turned-surveillance expert who also does pluming and installs satellite systems for DirecTV on the weekend.)
Of course my boss always says that ALL surveillance systems are the same…until something happens!
Hope this educates you a bit on the differences between a store-bought and a professionally installed surveillance system. Last, I would like to leave you with this awesome video made by our very own FBI. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Oj2FDwLXs
You can find more information at http://thesecuritygenius.com/business-security/ or email us at email@example.com