Is a Wireless Camera System Right For Your Business?
By Ryan Skidmore | July 21, 2018
With advanced technology, wireless security camera systems are less-expensive and higher-quality than ever before, and the ease of installing your own wireless camera system may surprise you. It’s impossible to keep track of every inch of your property on your own. If your business security is a concern for you, put your mind at rest and let Pro-Vigil help you understand the basics of wireless security camera systems to find the right one for your property.
What Is a Wireless Security Camera?
Most wireless security cameras are not truly wireless because they do not have the capacity to operate for an extended period of time without some sort of power connection. These cameras are typically connected to a power source, often with an Ethernet cable which also connects them to the security system, sometimes through other means.
Truly wireless security cameras are powered by a lithium battery and most are motion-activated or take snapshots of a secured area, to save battery life. Because truly wireless security cameras need to be energy conscious they are ideal for use in situations that require less energy, such as low traffic areas.
Without a cord to connect them to a surveillance system, you may wonder how wireless cameras record data. There are several ways data can be sent and recorded, including broadband or short-range Z-Wave technology, cloud backup, or internal storage on the camera itself.
Before you decide on what kind of camera you would like, you need to ask yourself a few questions about what your wireless security camera needs are. Consider these questions as you make your decision on which camera will suit you best:
- What is the primary use of the camera?
- Do you want on-site or remote access to your system?
- Are you trying to protect your property, or watch your staff and make sure your employees are being productive?
- Are you a business owner trying to catch shoplifters, secure restricted areas, or prevent and deter vandals from damaging your property?
When you know what your needs are it will help you narrow down the type of camera and wireless camera security system that will work best for your situation. The experts at Pro-Vigil can help you get started by answering these questions to help you find an appropriate camera system.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
Another thing to consider before you pick out your camera is to understand whether you will need to have your camera indoors or outdoors. You can almost always use an outdoor camera inside but the opposite is not true. An indoor camera will face difficulty if it is left exposed to the elements.
It is also important to note that using an outdoor camera inside depends on what kind of indoor environment you intend to use your camera in. If you have a large warehouse or similar building environment, like a barn or factory floor, your camera will probably be subject to greater fluctuations in temperature and humidity. In these cases, an outdoor camera might be the more appropriate choice.
Different Wireless Security Camera Types
There are 4 main types of cameras to consider when looking for a security system, PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras, LPR (license plate recognition) cameras, analog surveillance cameras, and network surveillance/IP cameras. Each wireless camera system has its own pros and cons but it really depends on what you need your camera to do. We’ve broken down the most basic camera types and what they do below.
A PTZ or pan, tilt, zoom camera is one of the best security cameras on the market for both indoor and outdoor use. These cameras are excellent for long-range viewing and flexibility because the position and direction the camera is facing can be constantly adjusted. These cameras can also be set to track and follow movement when they sense it. The drawback to PTZ cameras is mainly the price. PTZ cameras tend to be some of the most expensive on the market, but they are also widely considered the best.
2-(License Plate Recognition) LPR Cameras
LPR cameras are mainly used by businesses to see who is entering and leaving the property. These cameras are specifically designed to clearly focus and snap clear shots of the license plate. You should always have a professional install these cameras as they are practically useless if they are not positioned properly.
3-Analog Surveillance Cameras
When you picture an old-school security camera, you’re probably envisioning an analog surveillance camera. They are heavy, bulky, and usually require a lot of wires to keep running. Analog cameras use video cables to transmit information to a surveillance system where they are stored and viewed. One downside is that, despite having a cord connection to the surveillance system, analog cameras still lose image quality the further they are from the system. For ideal video quality, the camera should not be more than 330 feet away without a booster.
Because of the many cables required for analog cameras to work, they can be very expensive and require professional installation. However, they are still very popular, mostly because many people already have them installed. If you currently have an analog surveillance system set up on your property, it is probably cheaper to replace parts than to upgrade the entire system. If you’re looking to establish a new wireless security camera system, then you will probably want to pass on these outdated cameras because there are cheaper, higher-quality options available.
Also known as network cameras, these cameras are cheaper and have a much higher video quality than traditional analog cameras. They are typically connected to a system via a simple Ethernet cord and are much easier to install. IP cameras are considered wireless because of the way they send and store video footage. IP cameras can encode and process the recorded footage on the camera itself with an SD card, send video directly to a web browser or video recorder, or store video information on the Cloud or another wireless platform. Security companies like Pro-Vigil provide their own storage and can store your video footage on the Cloud for up to 2 weeks. You can have peace of mind knowing your footage is secure and you don’t have to worry about storing the footage yourself.
The downside to IP cameras is that if your network goes down the camera can, too, because they are connected. It is always important to make sure you have a good network connection if you use any type of wireless camera. You’ll also want to make sure that you are on a secure network with a strong password. IP cameras can be hacked, so be sure to use a strong password and other security measures to keep your system secure.
Despite being cheaper than an analog camera, you still don’t want to go for the cheapest option as it probably won’t last very long. There are different price ranges for every budget; however, not all cameras are created equal. If you aim for a cheap camera it will be reflected in the quality you get and you may end up spending more in the long-run because you’ll have to purchase a better camera later.
Pros and Cons of Wireless Security Cameras
Now that we know a bit more about the different kinds of cameras on the market, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of wireless security cameras, so you know what to expect from your camera.
- Easy to install—no messy lines or drilling. Wired systems need professional installation whereas most wireless systems can be self-installed.
- Easy to move with you if you move to a new location.
- Less expensive than analog cameras.
- Wireless connection to mobile devices.
- If the connection to the server is disrupted or the server goes down, the camera won’t work or connect to your devices or apps.
- Fully wireless cameras that use battery power will need to be checked often to make sure the battery does not die.
- The range for a wireless connection is usually around 150-500 feet from the server. If the camera is further away the signal may be disrupted. The construction and layout of your business will affect how far the signal will reach.
Affordable Cameras for DIYers
If you’ve decided that wireless security cameras seem like a good fit you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to finding a camera for your budget. There are many do-it-yourself cameras, many of which can be purchased right off of Amazon. You can opt for cameras that are openly visible, and cameras the size of a deck of cards for discreet surveillance.
Many of these simple cameras are compatible with smartphones and some can even stream live video feeds to your device. Others come with free or subscription cloud storage, or are USB compatible, hold a sim card, or work with Amazon’s Alexa for voice-activated control. You can choose to get motion-triggered cameras as well if you’re looking to save battery life or electricity costs.
Before you purchase, make sure you check the compatibility requirements for your camera system as some systems will only work with Mac or Android, but not both.
Smartphone Technology for Wireless Security Systems
The ease of access to wireless security cameras has also created innovation in how cameras can be accessed. Most wireless systems today offer some way to access your camera remotely. As long as your network is linked to wifi you can access it no matter where you are. Remote access has great benefits. You can:
- Monitor cameras
- Receive alerts if alarms are triggered
- Use voice features to speak to perpetrators and potentially scare them away
- Call 911 at the touch of a button
- Have peace of mind when you’re away from the office
You are also much less likely to put yourself in danger because you’ll never need to go in to turn off the alarm or check if it was a false alarm. You can also see if it actually was a false alarm by looking at the surveillance footage instead of placing yourself in harm’s way to go inside the building, possibly while an intruder is there.
Now that you know more about wireless security camera systems and the options available, you are able to consider a few final things that will help you on your way to installing your own wireless camera system. Take time to review these considerations so you’re prepared as you shop around.
- Budget—Setting your budget allows you to compare quotes while working to have your other considerations met.
- Lighting—What will the lighting be like in the surveillance area? If it will be dark you will want your camera to be optimized for night vision.
- Indoor or Outdoor—Keep in mind your ideal camera locations.
- Analog or IP—Are you updating an old system or installing a new one?
- Internet—You will need internet access if you decide to install an IP camera system and it should factor into your overall budget.
- Size of Property—Keep in mind the size of the area you would like to cover. Smaller lenses are better for wide views, whereas larger lenses will provide you with more detail.
Keeping these things in mind allows security companies like Pro-Vigil to provide better recommendations on which products will work best as well as the quantity and location of cameras. At Pro-Vigil we can help you find the best location for your cameras to maximize the coverage of your property.
The Pro-Vigil Difference
If you’re unsure of where to start that’s okay. Pro-Vigil is here to help you get the most out of your budget and meet your security surveillance needs. Pro-Vigil works to go above and beyond other security systems by providing virtual security guards who will monitor your property remotely 24/7. If intruders come on your property, or a fire starts or other things happen, our virtual security guards can take appropriate actions such as activating lights and alarms and contacting authorities, so you can rest easy, knowing your investment is in good hands.
Benefits of Surveillance
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