Video surveillance systems have come a long way from the traditional systems of years past. As technology continues to evolve video surveillance solutions are becoming more affordable for businesses of all sizes, from big box retailers and large corporate campuses to smaller mom and pop operations.
According to statistics from the National Retail Security Survey, American retailers dealt with $44 million in inventory shrink. Of that amount, 38 percent of that came from shoplifting and 34.5 percent came from employee theft. Non-retailers, including warehouses, offices and other businesses, can also use video systems to monitor customers and employees. Video surveillance can also be used for purposes other than loss prevention, such as studying customer movement through your retail setup.
There are a wide variety of IP-based video surveillance systems available from members of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). Keep these factors in mind when deciding what kind of video system is right for your business.
Camera location – If you are placing your cameras outside exposed to the elements or inside a particularly dirty environment such as an auto shop, you’ll want cameras with dust- and moisture-proof housings.
Hidden or visible cameras – Hidden cameras are best when you want to gather information or evidence without a subject’s knowledge. Visible cameras, on the other hand, can possibly deter criminal activity through their presence. Thieves, vandals or other bad actors might think twice if they know they are being watched.
Features – Do you need cameras that focus on single locations, like a bank teller station or cash register, or cameras that scan a wide area like a manufacturing floor or retail space? Many cameras come with adjustable lenses while others come with pan, tilt and zoom capability. Advanced analytics are also something to consider. There are many camera solutions that offer businesses the ability to gather valuable business intelligence data through the use of cameras equipped with analytics capabilities. Some examples of the data that can be gathered include monitoring and tracking customer and/or traffic patterns, performance of retail kiosks, facial recognition, over capacity detection and so much more.
Image quality – If you’re monitoring a small, well-lit area, a basic camera system with a lower resolution will suffice. If you’re monitoring areas with harsh lighting conditions or need a greater level of detail, consider camera systems with a higher resolution.
Data storage – Simpler security setups, such as those using a single camera, can rely on memory cards installed in the camera itself. However, those seeking a more long-term solution needing more recording capacity can opt for a dedicated network video recorder (NVR) or hosted or managed video services.
Time of day – If you are monitoring areas with low light or no light at all, you’ll want a camera equipped with infrared LEDs to accommodate for surveillance at all hours of the day.
There are many more considerations to keep in mind when deciding on a video surveillance system for your business. IP video systems enable you to view live video from cameras in multiple sites in a number of geographic locations. Some of those systems also allow for off-site monitoring, so you can view what’s happening in your place of business from the comfort of your own home or any other remote location.
Most importantly, an ESA member company can design and install a system that can integrate with your existing security systems, including door sensors, motion sensors, alarms, access control systems or whatever else you currently use in your business. Every business has different needs so be sure to consult with a professional that will meet with you to understand your goals and objectives and then customize a solution to fit your needs. Visit www.Alarm.org today to find a qualified security company in your area that will work with you to reach your goals and enable you to keep a closer eye on your business.