Video surveillance innovations have changed the landscape for users in the SMB (small, medium-sized businesses) market. Improved security, reduced liability and peace of mind, along with useable video for real-time monitoring and forensic investigations, are some of the benefits now available to the SMB.

Following are five of the top points every SMB owner should be aware of when upgrading or implementing new video surveillance systems.

Quality – One key to a successful system is the quality of the image. New high definition (HD) and megapixel IP cameras capture images in great detail, enabling the SMB owner to more effectively protect people and assets. Improvements in camera technology such as wide dynamic range (WDR), digital signal processing (DSP), and increased signal to noise ratios have helped create cleaner images with stable operation, allowing their use over a wide range of environmental conditions. State of the art technology enables low-light operation, outstanding 30 fps quality and high standards with minimal maintenance.

Wide Selection / Functionality – Video surveillance cameras come in all shapes and sizes, in all price ranges with a multitude of features. It’s important that you know what you want to accomplish with the camera and not be influenced by bells and whistles. Cameras are available for indoor and outdoor applications, in dome or box configurations, and with or without audio capability. Network cameras can be accessed remotely, moved anywhere on an IP network and conveniently powered via Power over Ethernet (PoE). Digital technology has also enhanced the feature set of cameras with new and exciting capabilities. Advanced features include motion detection that can analyze video and respond automatically with actions such as tripping an alarm or initiating recording, freeing personnel from the need for constant monitoring. Image processing digitally removes ambient fog, haze or smoke to create the clearest picture. Other features include on-board recording to SD card, network failure detection, privacy mask and a variety of built-in video analytics features including active tampering detection and audio detect.

System Integration – One of the most compelling reasons for SMBs to consider new video surveillance technologies is the improved system integration capability. Open architecture and industry standards such as ONVIF, PSIA and H.264 have helped eliminate challenges once faced in designing a system. Now, best of breed designs can be put together to minimize financial impact while meeting security requirements with best available technology. Hybrid solutions further help preserve investments in infrastructure by deferring or eliminating the need to rip and replace systems that are still useful and functional. Additionally, the growing availability of integrated solutions like recorders with built-in software control and management capabilities enables the implementation of high performance, multi-camera HD systems with exceptional functionality, cost-efficiency and scalability.

Multi-Purpose Uses– New systems can offer the SMB options beyond video surveillance for improving business operations. For instance, video can be used to monitor daily operations and employee productivity. Not only can weaknesses or non-conformance issues be identified but the video system can be used to instruct the proper procedures. In retail environments, cameras can be integrated with point of sale (POS) systems to help with loss prevention. Video images can also be used to review consumer traffic patterns to assist the SMB owner in realizing optimum store layouts. The quality and reliability of the system makes the possibilities endless.

Technology Partners– SMBs may not have the staff or specific expertise and experience necessary to determine the kinds of products that will solve their particular issues, or to evaluate those products in order to choose the right one for the organization. By partnering with a trusted integrator who has knowledge and understanding of the systems, the SMB owner can better protect the value of the investment and help to ensure on-going satisfaction with the system.

 The video surveillance playbook for SMBs has changed by becoming both more complex and more compelling. Taking the time to research and understand will help to make the decision process easier.