"Technology" is one of those buzzwords that’s floating around so much these days it’s basically a sea of its own. A catch-all term for virtually anything that’s more advanced than the wheel.“Technology” represents a lot – it might stand for a ten-year NASA project where they used advanced mathematics to get a satellite to land on a circumnavigating comet. Yeah, that’s technology. But so is a toaster that lets you know your toast is utterly burnt and if you don’t do something about it you’ll have to use the pin-pull fire extinguisher beneath the cabinet (also a piece of technology).

For us peasants and dummies, technology is really about making our tangibly better. We trust it to do us well, and we keep receipts for when it doesn’t. The surveillance industry is merely just one facet of technology, no different in purpose than what a toaster offers. And, truly, no more complicated in function and use. How often do you think about a toaster? Probably not often. Not even when it’s in use (cue burnt toast). But it does its job anyway, plugging along while you continue about your morning routine or late-night snackfest.

A security camera can provide a similar feeling for security is about feeling good, too. It’s about the idea that there is an eye on things. “Eye on things” is pretty ambiguous. What we really mean is eye on… property, loved ones, pets, business, etc. Security cameras can be used for virtually anything you want. Hell, it can provide an eye on your toast if you need it to (we don’t recommend this, but if you want a toast-camera, we can probably think of some answers). They’re really just eyes – glassy, unblinking eyes that can remember everything they see, memory space permitting.

This comprehensive guide will take you on a tour of all things surveillance. We will show you the types of security cameras out there, the pros and cons of the equipment, what would be appropriate for you, and a ton of other things.

WAIT, DO I NEED A SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM?

Every business and home has unique security requirements. Identify your requirement first.

  • Do you want to monitor your cash registers and employees?
  • Do you want to keep your property safe from thieves?
  • Do you want to keep your loved ones safe at all times?
  • Do you want to monitor visitors?
  • Do you want to know the shopping pattern and preferences of your customer?
  • Do you want to keep track of your inventory?
  • Do you want to prevent shoplifting and catch those who are doing it?
  • Do you want to ensure that restricted area security is being maintained?
  • Do you want to increase employee productivity and give them accurate feedback?
  • Do you want to keep vandalism at bay?
  • Do you want these bullet points to go on forever?

The simple truth of the matter is that security cameras have a lot of applications. Whether or not you need a system is dependent on a lot of things. A surveillance system can be designed for a small home just as well as it can for a corporation located in a giant skyscraper with armed guards and evil laughter in the halls. Like we said, cameras can go anywhere and for anyone. Again, a similarity to toasters…

INTRODUCTION TO SURVEILLANCE SYSTEMS

As there’s such a large range of price brackets, we believe there is truly a security system available to everyone. However, consumers should be wary of bottom-bin prices, particularly those coming from box stores. What’s this, a camera seller taking a shot at the competition? Yeah, sure. Be as cynical about our approach as you want, but the simple fact is that these stores sell bunk systems that are so low in quality that, inadvertently, they still end up driving business directly through our doors. So many people come to us with the exact same story: I bought security cameras from a box store and they all suck.

So don’t take the long way around to get the system that’s right for you – we haven’t spent ten years in the business just by being lucky. We provide the best products for the best prices. We take our customers’ trust seriously.

And what kind of systems are out there? What’s actually available? The most basic surveillance systems will be comprised of at least one camera, a monitor, and a couple of wires to link everything together. Yeah, that’s pretty much all it takes. It can also be comprised of hundreds of cameras, video recorders, dozens of monitors, security guards, and spy-sniffing attack dogs. (We do not sell dogs, of the attacking variety or otherwise.)

We have a come a long way from the very expensive and simplistic surveillance equipment of the last two decades. Before buying a video surveillance system, you need to fix a budget, you need to decide on the number of cameras you want, where you want it mounted, indoors or outdoors, and the preferred storage system.

You will also find options in terms of resolution, camera lens coverage, video surveillance storage, Analog and IP cameras, wired and wireless, color, and black and white images, cameras made for license plate capture, cameras for long range and for short, cameras with housings that can resist powerful weather elements or extreme temperatures, cameras you can pan-tilt-and-zoom, cameras which will show a large fish-bowl view and… well, there are a lot of different kinds of security surveillance equipment. If any of this is new to you, then keep on reading. We’ll try our best to go over the options available to you.

INDOOR AND OUTDOOR CAMERAS

The most basic of distinctions: is a camera indoor or outdoor. While many outdoor cameras can work just as well indoors, no indoor camera should be installed outdoors. When a camera is outside, it is at risk to damage from dust, rain, and other inclement weather conditions. While outdoor cameras are prepared to handle these difficulties, an indoor camera will be quickly overwhelmed.

SHOULD I EVER USE AN OUTDOOR CAMERA INDOORS?

Yes. Although this isn’t often recommended, there are times when a camera with outdoor qualifications would see use indoors. A factory floor where condensation, chemicals, or similar elements are around, then an outdoor camera would be better suited. Indoor warehouses where large doors are often open will typically use outdoor cameras, as the outdoor weather slips in through the open gate. A subtler application of a camera using outdoor protection ratings indoors are places like prisons or schools (the pairing is coincidental…). A prison is very likely to have unruly individuals who might try and take a shot at a camera, and school are very likely to have unruly individuals who might try and take a shot at a camera.