Armored Access Blog

What to Ask When Buying a Surveillance System

Written By
Bill Marusza
October 12, 2016

Surveillance systems provide constant protection over homes, businesses, and property. Continual development in surveillance make it more efficient, easier to operate, and more affordable. The wide range of systems to choose from offer an even greater variety of features. Given the surplus of technology for video surveillance and security, searching for the right surveillance company and system can be an overwhelming task. Let’s make it easier and discuss some of the more important things to think about when shopping for a surveillance system.

What are you using the surveillance system for?

Answering this question first will determine the direction you go in when picking out a system. Video surveillance can be designed and installed in various ways for custom applications. Business surveillance is largely used for protection against vandalism and theft, in addition to the overall well-being of employees and patrons. Home surveillance is universally installed for added protection to your family and property. Rapid development over the past decade has provided home surveillance systems with endless features. Determining exactly what you want from a system will guide effective product installation. This includes camera placement, angles, type and number of cameras, and in some cases, the use of motion sensors.

Who will be installing your system?

It goes without saying that hiring a reliable, well-known and legitimate company is extremely important. Any legitimate surveillance company will disclose their companies requirements for the people they hire. This includes background checks and the absence of any criminal history. Recognize that you will be allowing these people access into your home or business, as well as providing personal and financial information.

What type of cameras will you require?

Commonly used cameras for surveillance are IP (Internet Protocol) or HD-TVI (High Definition Transport Video Interface) cameras. IP cameras record digital high-resolution video that can be sent, received, recorded, or watched live through an internet connection. HD-TVI cameras are similar to IP cameras but are only capable of 1080p resolution and are limited to a certain distance from the recording device. They are usually a cheaper option to IP cameras.

Another decision will be the use of wireless or wired cameras. IP cameras are typically wireless and easier to install in discreet areas due to their small size; however, unless you purchase backup batteries, any power or internet failure will inhibit the systems functionality. Wired cameras provide the highest quality of video and consistency; however, installation is more costly and requires an experienced professional.

Box cameras are typically larger, but smaller versions are available, and used outdoors because of their durability. Dome cameras are more subtle and typically used indoors. All cameras offer pan, tilt, and zoom features that enable a variety of recording capabilities. Some cameras also feature thermal or infrared abilities. Whether it’s day or night thermal cameras are the best for intruder detection and automated alarms. The downside to thermal cameras is the inability to use the video for identification or detail. Infrared cameras provide discreet night vision that is undetectable by the human eye, but any object outside of the infrared beam will not be seen.

How will recorded video be viewed and stored?

Most surveillance systems in place today have the ability of remote viewing that enables users to log into their system and watch a live feed no matter where they are in the world. Having this access over the internet allows users to also save certain moments that have recently occurred. Other options include digital video recorders or cloud storage. DVR’s will have a set storage amount that is chosen by the user and their needs, but more storage comes at a higher cost. Cloud storage options are offered by companies for a monthly fee and allow you to access and download saved recordings. Keep in mind that higher resolutions and frame rates take up more storage space. Motion sensor features can be enabled on surveillance cameras to only record when the sensor has been tripped, which eliminates hours of blank footage and wasted storage space.

Lease or buy?

Depending on the company you have decided on, you will have a choice to either buy or lease your system. Low cost installations are offered when the equipment is leased from the company with a lower monthly fee. Should you decide to move, the system stays where it is. Leases are preferred for different reasons. Besides a significantly lower cost compared to purchasing an entire system, any addition or upgrades of equipment is made very easy without a significant change in monthly fees.

What is the warranty coverage like?

Their should always be a covered warranty from either the surveillance company or the actual equipment manufacturer. Warranties include replacement or repair for equipment defects and/or power surges, natural wear and tear, and tampering. Always check the details of your warranty and what your responsibilities will be as the owner if something happens to the system.Knowing what you want out of your surveillance system helps cut down on the clutter of available options. Armored Access is a leader in state-of-the-art video surveillance throughout Western New York. We offer free on-site evaluations and no monthly fees. Contact us today at 716-684-8000 or send us a messagehere!

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