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How to Choose a CCTV System

Do you want to choose a cctv system for the bragging rights, or do you want it to keep you safe? CCTV is considered a pancea for all sorts of crime. There are many articles, lamenting the inefficiency of cctv systems. Yes, 90% of CCTV systems are useless, because they where not chosen, designed or installed properly. This article, How to Choose a CCTV system will highlight the fact that CCTV Security is a job for professionals, and must be designed and installed by professionals to be effective.

The Value of Half Measures, when Choosing a CCTV System

Think about this.

Imagine that you suffered from some sort of medical problem which required minor surgery. You just happen to be acquainted with a medical equipment provider. How comfortable would you be buying a scalpel from your friend and performing the operation yourself, based on specific instructions he gives you? I won’t be comfortable with that – because a professional doctor makes a single incision, based upon years of experience, and study – study which covers many narrowly related subjects – which all come together when making that incision. You would be making the incision minus the years of experience and study! Ouch…

Now when you ask How to Choose A CCTV System?, you will get answers from a security provider, and CCTV retailer and some friends. Usually the retailer doesn’t only sell CCTV equipment, they may even be the corner hardware store, with some CCTV on the shelf, or the local mass mart store, selling CCTV equipment along with your groceries, or some popular online destination promoting all sorts of gadgets.

I want you to think about this. Can a mass mart retailer help you to choose a CCTV system for your home, or help you to buy the CCTV system which they have on the shelf? Does the mass mart retailer help you based on years of experience and study? – remember our little medical example at the beginning of this article!

Why get professional assistance to help you Choose a CCTV System?

If you want a CCTV system that is going to protect you in your home or business – I suggest you get answers from a professional security advisor.

There are a lot of products in this market. Many are assembled in Asian backyards using equipment from generic providers – yet they all look the same. It takes a few years of sampling and testing to get to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Here’s a little story I would like to relate.

I once commented to a Chinese Manufacturer, that the price of their camera was quite expensive. He asked me what I would like to pay for the camera. I gave him a price about 30% lower. “Of course I can do it!” he exclaimed “I’ll just use one board instead of two, and put less IC’s on the board”

If you are going to be choosing your CCTV system, based on price alone – I can tell you now that you are likely going to be buying inferior equipment, it will have a shorter lifespan, will probably not be effective, and will serve to provide a false sense of security.

I imagine this isn’t the kind of article you expected to find, when you typed How to Choose a CCTV system- right?

Well generally these types of articles are going to try and teach you about CCTV. The knowledge they give is limited to that which the sales guru behind the article has. Generally such advice doesn’t include any security based information, and just assumes that CCTV is the best solution to your problem.

You are going to be told about Lenses, and CCD’s and more and more – BUT you know what!? My CCTV technicians have attended month long courses, and quite a few of them – and I can tell you that choosing a CCTV system involves 100 if not 1000 times more information than you are going to get over the mass mart counter.

It never fails to amaze me — that people will buy a CCTV system, that won’t work! The reason DIY is half price, is because it’s a half measure! CCTV

Now hopefully you have the point – when faced with the decision of how to choose a CCTV system, get professional assistance.

What you should do before calling the CCTV company

There is something you should be doing in your home or business before you call the professional though. Not even a professional can give you an effective system if YOU do not know why you want it! I Suggest you do the following.

 

  • Get hold of the plans for your home or business, or draw a schematic if you don’t have predrawn plans.
  • Divide your home or business into major sectors. eg. Kitchen, garage, sitting room, front yard – you will know what the major areas of concern are for you.
  • Label each sector 1,2,3 or A,B,C – it doesn’t really matter.
  • For each sector write a list of undesirable events that have occurred, or might occur in the area.
  • For each event describe how visual assistance (that’s what CCTV is) could help you manage, eliminate, or reduce that event and it’s consequences.

 

Once you have compiled this list, you are ready to call the CCTV company, and describe what you actually need. The CCTV stuff, about interlacing and progressive scan, spatial and temporal resolution, lenses, and camera types – leave that up to the CCTV professional – learning 10% of someone elses trade, isn’t going to help you much!

Oh, and before I finish the article, I just want to mention that bad equipment will quickly erode the income of a CCTV integrator – if they have to keep going back, to fix it! You can be sure that CCTV integrators are using the equipment that works for them – it may take you a few purchases, at some expense to find a quality product, that works.

I hope this article helps you to realize that the most effective CCTV system you can choose, is one that is designed by a security professional, with vast knowledge about security in general.

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