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Surveillance questions, surveillance answers, and market updates

Surveillance Checklist for Small Business

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For an IP Surveillance system for a small business, you will need to determine the number of areas you want surveyed, under what lighting circumstances you’ll be recording, and how you intend to store the video footage. If you plan to only save snap shots of peoples faces or if you want to keep footage running for a jewelry shop, you can calculate your bandwidth, compression, and storage needs. Several brand names such as Panasonic and Exacq have calculators you can use to determine how much bandwidth and storage you’ll need under which compression files and how many frames per second.

IP cameras, Cat5 cable, a PoE enabled switch, and most likely some sort of storage device such as an Network Video Recorder will be necessary. Network Video Recorders (NVRs) come in many different shapes and sizes, literally. They can be ordered as massive rack mounted NVRs or can be purchased as a small standing NVR that can sit next to a switch. Again, the cost might seem high, but if you remember the days of CCTV, the price is acceptable. Conveniently, the only reoccurring cost might be extra hard drive disks, which can come in 1, 2 or 3 terabytes and store a massive amount of data if it’s compressed in an H.264 format. But that is getting ahead of ourselves.

For the IP cameras, consider the variables: is vandalism a concern? Are there extreme contrasting light differences (rising and setting of the sun)? What is the weather like where this camera will be placed and what temperatures will it be functioning under? Earnestly regarding these factors can help you find the needs for your IP surveillance system and save on costs later on.

The best cable to use is Cat5, Cat5e or Cat6. Depending on when you read this, these categories might seem a little costly compared to the other cables, but don’t skip out: these category (Cat) cables can easily handle the amount of data and power going to and from the camera, plus they’re scalable. Cat5 cable can deal with Fast Ethernet, Cat5e can handle Gigabit Ethernet, and Cat6 can handle 2 1/2 times the frequencies of Cat5. Technology is not staying still, it’s always moving forward, and if you’re a smaller business, chances are you might be using this network for other components of your work day as well. You don’t expect your company to fail, so create a system wisely in order to grow your business. If you’re a larger business, best to dedicate an entire network strictly to IP surveillance so you can 1) continue to expand should your company and needs expand and 2) so you don’t overwhelm the network your computers and VoIP phones are running on as well.

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