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Choosing the right CCTV camera

Posted on23/04/2021

What is CCTV?

In our increasingly technological world, the security industry has advanced by leaps and bounds such that many forms of technology that was once only available for large corporations is now accessible to everyone. One of these advancements is the CCTV (closed-circuit television) industry. CCTV is a form of security surveillance technology which used to be costly with the need for expensive hardware and set-up expenses. However, CCTV technology has expanded such that there are many options available from cheap and hassle-free to large scale options with added security. Choosing the right option for a CCTV set up will not only save you time and trouble, but can also save you money.

Unsure of what type of CCTV set-up will best suit you? Then read on!

1. What purpose?

Firstly, consider what you need the surveillance system for. There are many reasons for choosing to include a surveillance system, be it for monitoring your gate, to checking in on your pets or for maintaining office security footage. Depending on your purpose, there will be different options of CCTV. For instance, if you would like to set up a surveillance on your house front door, where there may not be easily accessible power outlets, a CCTV which can be powered with a powerbank may be a suitable option. On the other hand, if you are looking to set up a system to overlook an entire office building, a full suite of IP camera system linked to an internal DVR may be a more practical solution.

Special purpose CCTV set-up: Live Streaming

Although most CCTV set-ups are mainly for surveillance purposes, we are also offering this set up for live streaming and recording. With the advent of new high resolution models as well as simple wired or wireless connection models available, this solution can prove to be both cost-effective yet efficient as a live-streaming solution, especially for 24/7 live streams. Some CCTV options even include cameras that are wireless and portable, making it easy to stream footage while moving in a specific area. We are available to consult on this, kindly contact us.

2. What to survey?

Depending on your purpose, you would want to survey either an entire large area or perhaps just important points in a room. For security purposes, the main areas of surveillance include entrances/exits, high traffic hotspots, places where money is being handled (e.g. cashier area), inventory, work areas and any secluded areas. If the purpose of a CCTV is to check in on something or just a particular area (for example monitoring a pet), consider monitoring just the main areas which are involved (for instance, the pet’s room) will suffice

3. How many CCTV cameras needed?

In general, when considering a full-scale security surveillance (i.e. able to monitor an entire area or office), consider the overall size of the area. Usually, small office/home office (SOHO) spaces which are under 120sqft would only require about 4 to 8 cameras while workspaces larger than 150sqf could range from 16 to as many cameras as necessary. The number of cameras needed will also depend the layout of the space. For instance, if there are many walls or hidden corners in a space, then more cameras may be necessary to monitor those areas.

4. Type of Camera System: Wired vs Wireless

After determining the purpose and considering the space to monitor, consider what type of CCTV system is suitable for you. For a simple set-up, wireless systems can be considered while for more complicated set-ups, a wired system provides more control and security.

Wireless CCTV System

Usually the cost of a wireless CCTV camera system is fairly reasonable and the set up is simple as well, it can be as simple as connecting the camera to a wifi network and using an app to set it up. These cameras can easily be purchased in individual uits as well and do not necessarily need to be connected to any other part of a CCTV system. Viewing footage from a wireless camera is usually via a mobile app for convenience sake as well.

Pros Cons
  • Cheap
  • Easy set-up
  • Simple to manage and maintain
  • Convenient to view footage over network
  • Wide range of available models to cater to different situations
  • Some models need only minimal power to run
  • May need to subscribe to a cloud service in order to record footage
  • Functions can be limited
  • Less control of the system
  • Cybersecurity risk
  • Needs to connect to internet, may be unable to work without active internet connection

Wired CCTV System

A wired CCTV system is usually a more complicated set-up as it uses a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to store footage, with cameras connected to the DVR via cables. This requires technical skill and knowledge to set up. However, modern systems are more reasonably priced and can even be cost-saving in the long run (as there is no need to subscribe to any cloud service, unlike some wireless CCTV systems). Furthermore, as a wired system usually taps into the local network, there is much less cybersecurity risk.

Pros Cons
  • Much more customizable to suit different needs
  • Not necessary to connect to the internet
  • Can connect many cameras to cover large areas
  • Less cybersecurity risk
  • Footage can be stored for as long or as short as you want, dependant on the capacity of the storage device
  • Some models have mobile apps for easy viewing
  • Comes in a wide range of capabilities including weather-proof models for outside
  • Usually more expensive to set-up initially
  • Requires technical knowledge to set up
  • Not all systems have mobile phone app to view footage
  • Requires cabling, may be messy if not done properly

Which to choose?

In general, wireless systems are ideal for small to medium set-ups requiring 1 to 4 cameras. Due to their easy set up, this is great for home users or small offices. It is also a good choice to set up in places without power outlets as some models can run with just a power bank. However, for larger scale set-ups of more than 4 cameras, a wired system is preferable as there is more control over the system and it is not dependant on any cloud service to work. Wired systems offer a lot more customization and can suit almost any situation.

Wireless Models: Comparison

There are many models of wireless CCTV cameras. We compare 2 popular models and brands, the iMou Ranger 2S and the XiaoMi Home 360 which are known for their reliability.Notifications

iMOU Ranger 2S Xiami Home 360
Privacy mask ✅
Easy set up Simple app interface App can be buggy
Alarm + Siren ✅
Human detection ✅
Motion detection ✅ ✅
Night vision ✅ ✅
2-way audio ✅ ✅
Pan & Tilt ✅
Notifications ✅ ✅
Compatibility Alexa, Google, IFTTT Alexa, Google

While the Xiaomi Home 360 has less functions than the Imou Ranger, its cheaper price point makes it a reasonable choice for those who are want a simple and fuss-free camera. On the other hand, the Imou’s suite of functions may suit users who want advanced capabilities without breaking the bank.

Wired models

There are many popular brands of wired systems in Singapore, including HIKvision and iCatch. As there is a wide range of systems available, kindly contact us for a quote.

5. Other considerations

Extra Features

Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ)

Although these cameras are usually more costly than static cameras, PTZ cameras as suggested by its name, can pan across 180° to a full 360°. This may allow you to cut down on the number of cameras you to install since it covers a wider viewing angle than a single static camera.

4K/8K resolution

These super high resolution cameras have become more affordable and widespread although they still tend to be more expensive due to the cost of the camera lens needed to capture footage at a higher resolution. These cameras offer high video quality for live monitoring which require higher bandwidth to transfer the footage.

Weather-proofing

If the area to view is outdoors, a weather-proofed model is required to withstand rain and heat. These models are made of tougher materials and are also usually more expensive and are usually only available for wired CCTV systems.

Night vision

Most cameras come with infrared light to capture footage even in low light or no light conditions, however the amount of infrared lights can differ from camera to camera. If you require very clear night-vision, it is recommended to choose a camera with more infrared lights.

Some extra FAQ to consider:

  1. Will the angle of viewing need to be adjusted often?
    If the angle of the view needs to be adjusted, recommended to consider a PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) camera which can be controlled remotely to adjust the viewing angle.
  2. How discreet must the camera be?
    If the camera is meant monitor an area surreptitiously, then a small size camera or even one that is disguised as an everyday object will be ideal.
  3. Do you need a visual deterrent?
    Sometimes, just the fact that a camera is present is enough to deter crime or suspicious acts. In this case, the camera should be placed in an obvious location that can be easily seen.
  4. When and how will the footage be viewed?
    Some users only need the view the footage when an event occurs (for instance the footage will only need to be checked if a crime has been commited) while some users want to view the footage anytime they want. Wireless CCTV systems (and some models of wired CCTV systems) can usually be viewed on-the-go with a mobile phone app while wired systems can record footage for long periods of time to view footage on a past date of an event occurring.

6. Conclusion

There are many factors involved when choosing a CCTV system that will best suit your needs. With the wide array of choices available, there is no reason why we would need to scrimp on security in this era. CCTV can serve a multitude of functions both as a deterrent and also as protection and is recommended for almost any kind of surveillance function needed. Creative uses of CCTV are also emerging, such as using a CCTV set-up for round-the-clock live streaming.

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