Understanding Wide Dynamic Range

When it comes to surveillance cameras, visibility is key.  Some of the obstacles surrounding a camera’s capability to retain clear images such as lighting, camera installation, and type of camera are somewhat within our control, others are not.  Uncontrollable issues of extreme brightness, like light produced from headlights and the sun, or extreme darkness are not necessarily easily overcome.  However, as with anything, technological progression helps change these harrowing limitations.  As industry professionals our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing security system solutions, including surveillance, to organizations throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We’ve seen the impact changing technology has on the equipment we install and how it can be beneficial to our customers.

Surveillance systems are in the midst of a transition from using conventional analog equipment to IP (Internet Protocol).  Why? For one, image quality.  The tricky thing with IP cameras is not all are created equal.  There isn’t necessarily a defined industry standard that is accepted by all integrators and camera manufacturers when it comes to “best” image quality.  For example some might argue that the higher the megapixel count the better, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better image.  At least with HD (high definition) cameras there are standards manufacturers must comply with in order to be considered HD.

Aside from pixel count, an IP camera’s display threshold in extreme conditions is critical, but limited.  This limit, specifically when referring to extreme brightness or darkness, is typically known as “dynamic range.”  Wide dynamic range (WDR), “allows cameras to capture much more detail in scenes where there are varying levels of light, much like the way the human eye ‘processes’ these types of scenes.”  You know the feeling of widening your eyes in the dark to try to see clearer because you’re eyes haven’t quite adjusted yet?  It’s sort of the same idea with WDR cameras and how they adapt in both light and dark conditions.  However, their adjustments aren’t a physical strain and transitions are typically quicker than ours.

WDR footageThe images above show the difference between a parking garage being monitored by a camera with no WDR or WDR turned off on the left, and on the right the same area monitored by a camera with WDR enabled.  The difference is clear as day.  Why do they differ so much?  The camera with the WDR enabled has two internal Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD).  The two devices, or sensors, scan an image at different speeds, one low and one high, the image processor then combines the separate images producing a clearer, more balanced picture with better contrast and lighting.  This process happens quickly enough to produce a stream of clear recorded footage.  There are many different manufacturers that produce these WDR cameras in the market today, and not all of them use the same type of sensor and image processing combinations.  The best way to ensure you are getting the best camera for your specific application is to hire a licensed security systems integrator who is educated in which camera specifications will work best in variant conditions.

WDR technology, like anything else, is not perfect.  Depending on the camera manufacturer, you could end up with a camera that takes up to 15 seconds to adjust with varying light levels.  That doesn’t sound like that long, but it could mean the difference between catching a perpetrator and them getting away.  Another issue you might run into are cameras that don’t have the ability to turn WDR settings on and off automatically.  Without the automation the transition becomes the responsibility of someone on site, which can be time consuming and ineffective in a time sensitive situation.  This is why it is vital to consult a professional security systems integrator who is educated in the differences between product specifications and their appropriate applications.

The clarity of recorded video footage is crucial to the security of any organization.  As a business owner you don’t want to be left wondering why your recordings are grainy, washed out, or so dark they become unusable.  No one can control the external factors that affect an organization, but you can be prepared for them by taking the proper precautions.  Licensed system integrators are there to help.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We recognize the importance of utilizing quality security products that not only perform well but perform to their intended specifications.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by IQinVision-Google-Creative Commons

How Many Megapixels Do I Need?

If you’re in the market for a security system a major component you’re probably considering is video surveillance.  While doing a little research you’ve likely come across a plethora of surveillance options with various technological features.  It may seem like a daunting task to choose the cameras that suit your needs, which is why you should always consult a licensed security systems professional.  They’ll be able to assess the security risks associated with your facility and provide optimal solutions.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security systems to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the process and can help you protect what matters most.  Our experts are knowledgeable in all aspects of security system integration including surveillance.  Whether or not you’ve done your own research it’s likely you’ve heard or come across the term megapixel.  What does that mean in regards to surveillance systems, and what are the advantages/disadvantages?

640px-Definitions_of_TV_standards To understand the relationship between megapixels and video surveillance let’s first figure out what megapixel means.  A pixel is a “picture element residing on the image sensor (in a camera).”  The quantity of pixels helps determine the resolution of an image.  All megapixel cameras have a minimum of 1,000,000 pixels which means the image is comprised horizontally and vertically 1,000 x 1,000 pixels.  In recent years there has been an increased demand for megapixel surveillance cameras over the standard definition cameras widely used in the past.  Standard resolution cameras typically have a resolution of approximately 400,000 pixels.

To get an idea of the difference between image resolutions the picture above shows three variations.  The front image shows a standard resolution of 576 pixels, the middle shows an HD (High Definition) resolution of 720 pixels, and the last image shows an HD 1080 pixel resolution.  While most consider all HD cameras to fall under the megapixel category Raul Calderon, senior vice president of marketing for Arecont Vision, says that HD cameras with a 720 pixel resolution are not technically a megapixel camera as the resolution only adds up to 921,600 pixels.  A major difference between HD and megapixel cameras is HD cameras have to comply with set standards whereas megapixel cameras simply refer to the number of pixels.

A major advantage to investing in megapixel camera technology is the ability to use less cameras to cover larger areas.  With standard definition IP (Internet Protocol) or network cameras coverage is significantly limited and typically requires more cameras and cabling.  Megapixel cameras require less cabling and therefore the cost of labor and cabling is typically less than installing standard resolution cameras.  The ability to digitally zoom-in on an image without losing clarity is another benefit of utilizing megapixel cameras.  Megapixel recordings are clearer than standard resolution cameras therefore more consumers are storing footage for longer periods of time, which can be helpful in solving crimes.  They decrease the need for constant live monitoring as the footage can be revisited with ease.  Other benefits include a long lifespan, they conserve energy, and they are low maintenance.

Megapixel cameras not only benefit the owner but different industries as well.  With more quality recorded footage being stored the more the recording and storage industries will grow.  As megapixel cameras become more ubiquitous, technologies used in conjunction with them will grow and change.  For example the types of video displays and lenses will likely become more developed.  While there are many benefits to megapixel cameras the potential drawbacks include initial cost of installation and the challenge of keeping up with the fast paced technological changes.  Fortunately, as these types of cameras become more widely used their pricing will be driven down.  As far as technological advancements are concerned there will always be changes and improvements it’s a matter of security system experts providing ease of integration and updates.

While you now have a little background on megapixel cameras and their advantages/disadvantages, it’s still imperative to contact a licensed professional for your security needs.  They’ll be able to assess the specific security risks associated with your facility and which products will work best.  Our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing professional service to businesses and facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We understand the complexities involved in creating a comprehensive security system that is tailored to your needs.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Raskoolish at ru.wikipedia-Google-Creative Commons “Definitions of TV standards” by Raskoolish at ru.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Definitions_of_TV_standards.jpg#/media/File:Definitions_of_TV_standards.jpg

What is Hybrid Surveillance?

Mike Mozart-surveillanceAs a business owner protecting your facility is always a top concern.  Are you getting the coverage you need?  If you have a comprehensive security system you’re already in a good position.  However, a security system is only as good as the sum of its parts.  One of the most crucial parts of a security system is the surveillance aspect.  Surveillance systems are the eyes that keep watch over your business even when you can’t.

Like any other technology surveillance equipment is constantly evolving through research and development that is meant to improve its efficiency.  In today’s IoT (Internet of Things) IP-based (Internet Protocol) systems are a driving force that is changing the role of surveillance in comprehensive security.  But not everyone is so keen on the uptake.  Prior to the inception of IP cameras and network devices the world was and has been dominated by analog cameras and DVR devices (Digital Video Recording).  If you have existing surveillance equipment, chances are it’s a legacy analog system.

While the IP surveillance trend is picking up, there are still more than 40 million analog cameras in operation around the world today.  Making the switch from analog to IP isn’t an easy transition for everyone and integrators have become increasingly aware.  Fortunately there are hybrid solutions that allow you to work with your existing analog infrastructure and start your migration to an IP-based system.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of licensed integrators work with you to provide comprehensive security solutions that meet your needs.  Our experts have been providing comprehensive security system solutions, including surveillance, to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for that past 23 years.  We recognize the value technology adds to the security systems we install and how they can benefit our customers.

Why replace an analog system?  To be fair, analog systems have filled a security need since the beginning of surveillance that would have otherwise gone unfulfilled.  But just like any technology, progress is always pushing the envelope of what is relevant and effective.  Look at smartphones, they are constantly evolving, every year a new model with new features that jettisons society forward.  While businesses aren’t necessarily turning over their surveillance systems at the same rate, the growing trend is leaning towards IP and network based solutions.

Hybrid solutions for companies that aren’t ready to make the full switch to IP just yet offer the benefits of a more effective system that will ease the transition when the time is right.  According to Mark Collett, general manager of Sony Security Systems Division, “With hybrid solutions, you can get the best of both worlds—the near-zero latency of analog plus IP’s HD imaging quality.”

Video encoders are the catalyst for the hybrid solution, replacing out of date and expensive DVRs.  DVRs were traditionally responsible for storing and recording footage captured by connected surveillance cameras.  According to James Marcella, a technologist in the security and IT industries, a video encoder is, “an open-platform technology that acts as a bridge between the analog and digital world by essentially turning an analog investment into IP cameras.”  Video encoders would allow you to make use of existing infrastructure by attaching to the coaxial cable from you analog system, transforming the analog signal into a digital stream.

Many industry experts consider DVRs to be one of the most expensive pieces of equipment the consumer will purchase, and they are typically outlived by the analog cameras.  Also, they are not dependable, if they go down so does the whole surveillance system, and this could happen at a critical moment.  Video encoders are capable of running on power over Ethernet that can be tied to a backup power supply, keeping you covered no matter what.  You can also employ redundancies like NAS devices (Network Attached Storage) and SD memory cards to help prevent recording loss.

DVRs lack the image resolution, edge intelligence, and network capabilities that a video encoder can offer.  The frames per second rate (fps) is what creates a smoother clearer image, the higher the better especially in high motion scenarios.  Video encoders are capable of capturing images at up to 60fps whereas DVRs only go up to 15fps.  DVR intelligence is typically limited to whatever the manufacturer specifications have been set to.  Video encoders open the door to third party intelligent applications which allow you to choose video management software from virtually any provider in the connected world.  This creates a platform for advanced video analytics.

There is a large storage and scalability disparity between DVRs and video encoders.  DVRs typically have a low tolerance for the quantity of cameras they can accommodate which can leave a business vulnerable by not being able to cover risky areas.  On the other hand video encoders offer virtually limitless retention by being highly scalable.  Video encoders have the ability to accommodate single cameras and there are some units that can accommodate up to 84 cameras making them a highly flexible and effective solution for a large or small facility.

The hybrid solution allows you to keep existing analog cameras and infrastructure and as the cameras die or warrant replacement, they can easily be swapped out for IP creating a smoother transition.  Remote monitoring is another benefit to opting for a hybrid solution.  This adds a level of security you can’t obtain from an analog system, being able to login to your surveillance system to see what is going on at your facility when you can’t be there.

Hybrid solutions are an economic and less disruptive option if you’re not fully committed to taking the IP plunge, even though progress will continue to push us in that direction.  If you opt for a hybrid solution or aren’t sure what to do always consult a licensed professional to ensure proper application and installation.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We can guide you through the process of creating a system that meets your specific needs, from an initial assessment to final installation.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Mike Mozart-Flickr-Creative Commons

What Does Wide Dynamic Range Mean in Surveillance?

When it comes to surveillance cameras, visibility is key.  Some of the obstacles surrounding a camera’s capability to retain clear images such as lighting, camera installation, and type of camera are somewhat within our control, others are not.  Uncontrollable issues of extreme brightness, like light produced from headlights and the sun, or extreme darkness are not necessarily easily overcome.  However, as with anything, technological progression helps change these harrowing limitations.  As industry professionals our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing security system solutions, including surveillance, to organizations throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We’ve seen the impact changing technology has on the equipment we install and how it can be beneficial to our customers.

Surveillance systems are in the midst of a transition from using conventional analog equipment to IP (Internet Protocol).  Why? For one, image quality.  The tricky thing with IP cameras is not all are created equal.  There isn’t necessarily a defined industry standard that is accepted by all integrators and camera manufacturers when it comes to “best” image quality.  For example some might argue that the higher the megapixel count the better, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better image.  At least with HD (high definition) cameras there are standards manufacturers must comply with in order to be considered HD.

Aside from pixel count, an IP camera’s display threshold in extreme conditions is critical, but limited.  This limit, specifically when referring to extreme brightness or darkness, is typically known as “dynamic range.”  Wide dynamic range (WDR), “allows cameras to capture much more detail in scenes where there are varying levels of light, much like the way the human eye ‘processes’ these types of scenes.”  You know the feeling of widening your eyes in the dark to try to see clearer because you’re eyes haven’t quite adjusted yet?  It’s sort of the same idea with WDR cameras and how they adapt in both light and dark conditions.  However, their adjustments aren’t a physical strain and transitions are typically quicker than ours.

WDR footageThe images above show the difference between a parking garage being monitored by a camera with no WDR or WDR turned off on the left, and on the right the same area monitored by a camera with WDR enabled.  The difference is clear as day.  Why do they differ so much?  The camera with the WDR enabled has two internal Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD).  The two devices, or sensors, scan an image at different speeds, one low and one high, the image processor then combines the separate images producing a clearer, more balanced picture with better contrast and lighting.  This process happens quickly enough to produce a stream of clear recorded footage.  There are many different manufacturers that produce these WDR cameras in the market today, and not all of them use the same type of sensor and image processing combinations.  The best way to ensure you are getting the best camera for your specific application is to hire a licensed security systems integrator who is educated in which camera specifications will work best in variant conditions.

WDR technology, like anything else, is not perfect.  Depending on the camera manufacturer, you could end up with a camera that takes up to 15 seconds to adjust with varying light levels.  That doesn’t sound like that long, but it could mean the difference between catching a perpetrator and them getting away.  Another issue you might run into are cameras that don’t have the ability to turn WDR settings on and off automatically.  Without the automation the transition becomes the responsibility of someone on site, which can be time consuming and ineffective in a time sensitive situation.  This is why it is vital to consult a professional security systems integrator who is educated in the differences between product specifications and their appropriate applications.

The clarity of recorded video footage is crucial to the security of any organization.  As a business owner you don’t want to be left wondering why your recordings are grainy, washed out, or so dark they become unusable.  No one can control the external factors that affect an organization, but you can be prepared for them by taking the proper precautions.  Licensed system integrators are there to help.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We recognize the importance of utilizing quality security products that not only perform well but perform to their intended specifications.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by IQinVision-Google-Creative Commons

What Does Megapixel Mean In Security Cameras?

If you’re in the market for a security system a major component you’re probably considering is video surveillance.  While doing a little research you’ve likely come across a plethora of surveillance options with various technological features.  It may seem like a daunting task to choose the cameras that suit your needs, which is why you should always consult a licensed security systems professional.  They’ll be able to assess the security risks associated with your facility and provide optimal solutions.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security systems to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the process and can help you protect what matters most.  Our experts are knowledgeable in all aspects of security system integration including surveillance.  Whether or not you’ve done your own research it’s likely you’ve heard or come across the term megapixel.  What does that mean in regards to surveillance systems, and what are the advantages/disadvantages?

640px-Definitions_of_TV_standards To understand the relationship between megapixels and video surveillance let’s first figure out what megapixel means.  A pixel is a “picture element residing on the image sensor (in a camera).”  The quantity of pixels helps determine the resolution of an image.  All megapixel cameras have a minimum of 1,000,000 pixels which means the image is comprised horizontally and vertically 1,000 x 1,000 pixels.  In recent years there has been an increased demand for megapixel surveillance cameras over the standard definition cameras widely used in the past.  Standard resolution cameras typically have a resolution of approximately 400,000 pixels.

To get an idea of the difference between image resolutions the picture above shows three variations.  The front image shows a standard resolution of 576 pixels, the middle shows an HD (High Definition) resolution of 720 pixels, and the last image shows an HD 1080 pixel resolution.  While most consider all HD cameras to fall under the megapixel category Raul Calderon, senior vice president of marketing for Arecont Vision, says that HD cameras with a 720 pixel resolution are not technically a megapixel camera as the resolution only adds up to 921,600 pixels.  A major difference between HD and megapixel cameras is HD cameras have to comply with set standards whereas megapixel cameras simply refer to the number of pixels.

A major advantage to investing in megapixel camera technology is the ability to use less cameras to cover larger areas.  With standard definition IP (Internet Protocol) or network cameras coverage is significantly limited and typically requires more cameras and cabling.  Megapixel cameras require less cabling and therefore the cost of labor and cabling is typically less than installing standard resolution cameras.  The ability to digitally zoom-in on an image without losing clarity is another benefit of utilizing megapixel cameras.  Megapixel recordings are clearer than standard resolution cameras therefore more consumers are storing footage for longer periods of time, which can be helpful in solving crimes.  They decrease the need for constant live monitoring as the footage can be revisited with ease.  Other benefits include a long lifespan, they conserve energy, and they are low maintenance.

Megapixel cameras not only benefit the owner but different industries as well.  With more quality recorded footage being stored the more the recording and storage industries will grow.  As megapixel cameras become more ubiquitous, technologies used in conjunction with them will grow and change.  For example the types of video displays and lenses will likely become more developed.  While there are many benefits to megapixel cameras the potential drawbacks include initial cost of installation and the challenge of keeping up with the fast paced technological changes.  Fortunately, as these types of cameras become more widely used their pricing will be driven down.  As far as technological advancements are concerned there will always be changes and improvements it’s a matter of security system experts providing ease of integration and updates.

While you now have a little background on megapixel cameras and their advantages/disadvantages, it’s still imperative to contact a licensed professional for your security needs.  They’ll be able to assess the specific security risks associated with your facility and which products will work best.  Our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing professional service to businesses and facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We understand the complexities involved in creating a comprehensive security system that is tailored to your needs.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Raskoolish at ru.wikipedia-Google-Creative Commons “Definitions of TV standards” by Raskoolish at ru.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Definitions_of_TV_standards.jpg#/media/File:Definitions_of_TV_standards.jpg

Do Surveillance Systems Really Work?

Surveillance-Jonathan McIntoshAs a business owner you want to do everything in your power to protect what you’ve worked so hard for, right?  So how do you do that?  Some might hire security personnel to stand guard and keep an eye on their facility, which can get expensive.  Others may opt for reinforced locks on their entrances.  But the best solution to truly protecting your business is a comprehensive security system that includes a surveillance system.  Surveillance is a key component in defending your facility.  If you have a security system that has a burglar alarm but no camera system, what happens when someone breaks-in, gets away, and there’s no footage of the incident to help catch the perpetrator?  A surveillance system can help prevent not only burglary, but employee theft, workplace violence, and vandalism.

You might think that camera footage is useless, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Camera footage isn’t as grainy and unreadable as it may have been in the past.  According to Hank Monaco who is the vice president of marketing for a video surveillance system provider, “today’s cameras are infinitely better than what was being offered 10 to 20 years ago.”  Thanks to advancing technological improvements there are a wide variety of cameras including high-definition which offers clear readable images.

As experts in the security system industry, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands the importance of protecting a business from criminal activity, and how surveillance equipment can play an integral part in that protection.  Our team has been providing comprehensive security systems to business facilities throughout central and northern New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our belief is that a comprehensive security system should be customized to each individual business and should include surveillance, access control, fire and burglar alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and alarm monitoring.

So how effective can a surveillance system really be?  If over half of United States employers utilize some form of surveillance in the workplace, it must be working.  Having a surveillance system isn’t always about crime prevention either, it can provide business insight that you can’t get anywhere else.  From keeping an eye on inventory to observing your employees behavior, you can get a grasp on the inner workings of your business without feeling like you have to hover.  Employees that are aware they are being recorded can actually make them more productive and enhance their performance.  Video surveillance can help prevent employee theft and outside burglary; the chances of being caught increase and generally people don’t want to take that risk if they don’t have to.  Aside from keeping an eye on your employees, video surveillance can actually help protect them and your customers by tracking suspicious visitors and behaviors.  Depending on your system, you could also have remote monitoring capabilities added.  This would allow you to access your cameras through an app on your mobile device from virtually anywhere.  Knowing you can check in on your business when you can’t be there adds a peace of mind you can’t attain from anything else.

How do you know what types of cameras and how many your business needs?  This is a question for your security system specialist.  Never fall for a provider that offers you pricing and equipment without ever having stepped foot on your facility.  To be adequately covered an initial security assessment should be performed in person by a professional.  Some basics to be conscious of are the different types of cameras and how footage is stored.  Two widely used camera types are Analog and IP (Internet Protocol).  Analog cameras require a monitor or TV to view footage which is stored in a DVR (Digital Video Recorder).  IP cameras work much like our computers do sending data over a LAN (Local Area Network).  There is a wider range of resolution options for IP cameras than there are for Analog.  Footage from IP cameras is often recorded and stored in a cloud system.  An added benefit of an IP camera is the ability to remotely access each individual camera which you can’t do with an Analog system.  With Analog you would have to log into the DVR system to access recorded footage.

While there is no fool proof system, having video surveillance as part of your comprehensive security system can help prevent catastrophic loss and assist in the aftermath of an unfortunate event.  For example, look at the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.  The suspects were caught on surveillance cameras and the surviving suspect is now facing trial.  Without video footage police would have had to rely on eye witness accounts which aren’t always as clear.  Criminal behavior is an unfortunate reality but we can be better prepared by implementing security technologies in our daily lives.  As camera technology advances the demand for more surveillance will rise.  Especially with progressive technology like “smart” surveillance that would provide more analytical insight into human behaviors, crowd counting, and even body heat recognition.  According to a ReportsNReports analysis the size of the global market for “smart” surveillance was around $13.5 billion in 2012 and is estimated to reach $39 billion in 2020.

Most business facilities will likely not require “smart” surveillance equipment yet, but who knows what the future will bring.  With the vast array of cameras available in today’s market your security systems expert will be able to find the type that suits your business best.  At Perfect Connections Inc. our experts have been providing comprehensive business security solutions throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We are committed to customizing a system specific to your company’s needs.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Jonathan McIntosh-Flickr-Creative Commons

Can Surveillance Cameras Really Help Catch Criminals?

We have all seen the TV shows.   A crime of some kind occurs and from some office some law enforcement agency logs on to every surveillance system in the area, and they all have high quality video, and in a matter or minutes identifies the criminal that committed the act.

Well, reality is quite different. Here is what usually happens. The police look around and see if any of the buildings in the vicinity have surveillance systems.  They then contact the building owner and ask them for the footage from a specific time. They then look at the footage and determine whether the cameras saw the event. If so they have to determine if the quality is high enough to ensure an identification. Often times, it isn’t.

If the footage is decent, there are some techniques and software available to improve the quality, but no where near the scope that TV shows make you believe.  You can’t take a fuzzy image of a car and end up with a sharp picture of the license plate.

The quality of the surveillance system has a lot to do with this. Many analog systems just don’t have the lines of resolution to produce a sharp, clear picture. Over time, the camera loses focus and the overall picture quality can deteriorate.

The new IP systems, with megapixel cameras, can greatly improve this but focus is can still be an issue. It is also very important that all settings are correct, like motion detection and white balance, so you get the image you need.

Below the image on the left is analog and the image on the right is a 1.2 megapixel camera.

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The difference is striking.

So the answer is yes, surveillance cameras do help catch criminals.  But, it requires a lot of legwork to get the job done. Megapixel cameras are helping to up the odds of capture.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, or if you would like us to perform a Home Safety and Security Audit, absolutely free, please call 800-369-3962 or simply click the link below.

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