Right Camera for the Right Job

A full guide to choosing the right surveillance system. Learn what to look for before making that purchase.

The inside scoop from a business development representative at Cloudastructure. 

John Landers is a business development representative for Cloudastructure and has been working in the security business for thirteen years. This experience has given him extensive knowledge of the wide array of security cameras on the market.

Cameras, Cameras, Cameras

Selecting the right cameras for your business can take some time and brain power. With so many options out there today, it can be difficult to determine what is going to work best for your application, especially when trying to find quality video without breaking the bank.

Three Types of Camera Systems: Analog, HD Analog, and IP 

Searching the internet for camera systems does not always give the most accurate results. It is best to reach out to someone who has proficient knowledge of the business and can help determine the camera locations, lens types and technology that will work best for you. There are three types of camera systems: Analog, HD Analog, and IP. Each has its own pros and cons. 

Analog 

Analog cameras are what have been used and installed for years, using coax cable (that thick black cable that you see all over the place). Analog is popular for those who don’t like to run new cables or simply just to save money, but you lose out on video quality and many of the modern features that are now available on cameras. 

With resolutions from 420 TVL to 700 TVL details can easily be lost and almost makes the system pointless in some cases. Analog cameras rely on DVRs (digital video recorders) to process and access your video. This technology is pretty much phased out and not recommended, but it is still out there, so be mindful when doing your research. 

HD Analog

HD analog is the same as the traditional analog but with better resolution. With HD analog cameras, you can utilize that existing “thick black coax” that is already in place while adding high resolution video to your new system. HD analog allows you to get resolutions from 2mp up to 4k with a well priced camera and use existing cable. So overall, your video resolution is going to greatly improve. This is a huge benefit if you are replacing old systems but are desiring that higher-quality image. 

The downside is, HD analog (and traditional analog) cannot be viewed on the internet unless connected to a recorder. With technology the way it is today, everyone wants to view cameras on their smart devices or PCs. This can be done with both of the analog options, but not without a recorder to process and get the video on the internet. It is important to know that HD analog cameras are not backwards compatible; an HD camera will not work on a traditional DVR (digital video recorder). Some have the option to do so but you will only receive the resolution that the recorder can put out. So if you want the added benefit of the HD, you’ll need to have an HD DVR as well.

HD analog cameras can be a great solution if you already have an existing coax cable, as installation will be much cheaper and easier and the higher resolution is a major benefit. However, you will lose some features, including most audio capabilities. You might get a few cameras that will get audio, but it will require a separate microphone setup and a new cable to run to the microphone out by the camera. An IP camera makes this issue much simpler, as it allows audio from cameras that have built-in microphones, that will send all of that back over a single Cat 5. 

IP (Internet Protocol)

IP, or Internet Protocol, also known as network cameras, is a whole other ball game. With IP cameras, your options are almost endless and the functions and analytics are huge game changers. These cameras must be backed by the internet to view, alter settings, use mobile applications or get your system on the cloud. IP cameras can get resolution from 2mp up to 4k (8mp). Some manufactures offer up to 20+ megapixels. This allows for much higher video quality and the ability to master analytics that are coming to the systems. IP cameras have a digital zoom feature that allows the user to zoom into an image or video and still receive high quality images, depending on the megapixels, without the image becoming pixelated (like with) traditional analog. There are many Youtube videos that can demonstrate this to give you a visual of the differences. 

One of the most important benefits to IP cameras is that there are so many ways to access your video. Unlike analog, where you have to depend on a recorder to process video to the internet, IP cameras can be plugged into a “switch” or directly into your router and then accessed via the software’s (or other’s) VMS (video management system). Or, you can utilize a highly recommended cloud video record (CVR) or an old fashioned NVR (network video recorder), however with that comes a host of security risks and additional IT management issues. Cloud security is becoming the new standard as it offers 3 key benefits:  greater security as your data is stored offsite free from theft or environmental risk, centralized view and management of all locations, and reduced IT costs. For more information, see Why Cloud Blog. 

IP cameras have endless features, and you can achieve more applications with fewer cameras. Yes, that’s right- FEWER cameras. IP cameras have the capability to cover more areas, add camera mics for audio, add two way audio, and much more. IP cameras have a variety of options to fit your security system wants and needs. There are variations on price points, so you can find an IP solution with truly any budget. 

Even if you’re an enterprise-sized business, there is rarely the need to purchase top-of-the-line IP cameras, let alone proprietary analytics and VMS capabilities. A cloud service can do all of that for you, especially one that works with any camera type, like Cloudastructure.

Cloud-Based Surveillance & Computer Vision 

Cloudastructure is camera-agnostic whether they’re analog, analog HD, or IP cameras. We can work with any enterprise-grade camera, saving our customers and integrator partners a lot of money. The exception is consumer-based WIFI cameras as they are inherently unstable for continuous recording. 

Here’s how it works. A Cloud Video Recorder securely encrypts and sends all your surveillance footage to the cloud, where computer vision analytics go to work. You can securely access that footage in the cloud from your laptop or mobile, set up alerts for threats involving people, vehicles, or objects, and receive/act on those alerts, sharing them with your security team or law enforcement with just a click. 

Cloudastructure can work with you to suggest cameras that best meet your budget, or if you like the ones you already have, our powerful, cloud-based surveillance solution can work with them too.  

For more information on cloudastructure solutions visit www.cloudastructure.com or email us at info@cloudastructure.com