A well thought out video surveillance solution can improve security, address risk management issues and improve operational efficiency.
At the top of the list: a digital/networked/IP solution, due to the breath of features available with this technology. One of the features is the ability to convert existing analog or DVR-based system to the more robust IP solution.
Prior to reviewing options for a video surveillance solution, a business needs to understand goals for implementation.
There are four key areas of a video surveillance solution: software, hardware, networking and the site assessment.
SOFTWAREThe backbone of successful implementation is a robust, easy-to-use software package. The software selected should include the following features:
- Scalability – Software should be highly scalable and be able to accommodate an unlimited number of cameras and servers for deployment across multiple locations. Look for software that can be easily integrated into large enterprises that have established IP networks and security infrastructure in place.
- Usability – Select a software package that is built on a PC platform. This allows organizations to leverage systems and infrastructure they already have in place to support digital video. The PC platform is easily upgradeable and cost effective. Look for a familiar, Windows-based look and feel.
- Accessibility – Ensure that your software can allow users to easily leverage video throughout the organization. Be sure that the software offers remote client application capabilities from remote PCs for maximum convenience and true 24/7 access. Web browser viewing should enable view-only capabilities from any PC with a web browser. Software should have a user access feature to let you assign users different privileges based on their role in the organization.
- Customizable – Select software that provides the ability to customize views.
HARDWARE Since most systems are installed in challenging indoor and outdoor environments, it’s important to choose the right camera brand. When selecting cameras, stick with brands whose components are professional grade. A good question to ask is who the video surveillance camera brand’s current customers are. Inquire about the product warranty. How long is it and what does it cover? Cameras should be designed to be easy to install, use and maintain from a technical standpoint by IT professionals.
(Cameras & Computer)
Your computer that runs your IP-based video surveillance installation will need to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year for many years. While most computer manufacturers offer a 1-3 year warranty, some manufacturers offer standard warranties as long as 7 years. Insist on hard drives that are specifically designed for video surveillance applications. These drives are available in up to 750 GB (as of this writing). As a minimum, spec a machine that is RAID capable, for mirroring (back-up) of your data.
NETWORKBe sure to have your IT manager involved in your video surveillance project planning since the installation will involve incorporating or possibly adding to an existing network. By involving your IT staff, your IT department can feel secure installing and managing systems even if they do not have extensive experience with video.
SITE ASSESSMENTVideo installations are like snowflakes – none are exactly alike. In order to ensure the success of your new video system, site assessments should be considered as a mandatory investment in your total solution. A qualified site assessment will be conducted with your organization’s video surveillance goals in mind. The site assessment will best determine how your goals can be accomplished by examining the camera locations, building construction and evaluation of your current network. This will insure that the right system will be designed for your needs.
In addition to the above, there are plenty of questions that relate specifically to your own firm’s needs that should be addressed. The due diligence spent towards your video surveillance project in advance will be a sound investment.