Surveillance Footage Monitoring

laptop monitor-Intel Free PressWhen you picture a surveillance monitoring station what do you see?  Is it a half awake guard staring blankly at multiple monitors?  If that’s the case you can scratch that image from your mind.  The future of monitoring services is quickly shifting and adapting to our society’s need for streamlined and efficient processes.  As surveillance systems migrate from analog to IP with megapixel network cameras, and our world becomes more and more connected through the IoT (Internet of Things), the desire to access and monitor footage from anywhere increases.  This is where the idea of remote monitoring comes into play.

Being able to remotely monitor surveillance footage from virtually anywhere is a convenience that, up until recently, hasn’t been a pervasive security feature.  It differs from alarm monitoring in the sense that a service representative isn’t necessarily waiting around for an alarm to go off, instead they are actively watching live recordings to catch potential disasters before they happen.  In the past a company would typically hire people to monitor cameras on site, which isn’t always the most economical or effective method.  Today, companies are using off-site monitoring services that have the ability to keep watch over multiple facilities 24/7.  In conjunction with that, business owners have the ability to download apps that allow them to access their surveillance footage at their convenience via a mobile device.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our experts typically recommend a monitoring service as part of a comprehensive security system to help ensure its effectiveness.  Our team of licensed technicians have been providing security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 25 years.  The technological climate is ever changing and we always do our best to stay on top of relevant trends that will benefit our customers.

Remote monitoring allows an individual or group of users to access surveillance footage through a secured network from virtually anywhere via a smartphone, tablet, computer, or mobile device.  Why is this beneficial?  It can help cut down, or eliminate entirely, the need to have an on-site staff staring at monitors, how effective can that be anyway?  According to Doug Marman, CTO of VideoIQ Inc. and founder of Remote Guarding Alliance, “…humans monitoring video screens grow fatigued to the point of ineffectiveness after only 20 minutes…”  Marman argues that the traditional method of monitoring surveillance is at best a practice in “hindsight” strategy.  Meaning by the time a reaction is made the damage is done or the perpetrator has already escaped.

Marman’s system of remote monitoring using a combination of video analytics and audio over IP, or voice over IP (VOIP), decreases response time and increases the ability to monitor a large quantity of cameras at once.  And in contrast to human attention span, video analytics are “100 percent vigilant.”  Marman illustrates the ability to interact with intruders instantly via audio over IP, citing how quick they are to abandon their criminal attempt when someone is calling them out over a speaker on site.  While audio interaction is an intriguing feature that allows for a virtual presence at all times, it may not be necessary depending on your type of business and your security needs.  What matters most is the ability to react instantly, reduce any lag time in response, and prevent false alarms as they typically result in fines and wasted essential resources.

With response time being one of the top benefits of remote monitoring it can also reduce overall monitoring costs, increase scalability options, and send notifications via e-mail or other media.  While the benefits of a remote monitoring system may eliminate the need to hire on-site staff, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should rely solely on self-monitoring.  If you were to take on the task of monitoring everything yourself, your business could be at risk.  Imagine you’re monitoring from a smartphone, it runs out of battery and you don’t have your charger handy.  What if you misplace your smartphone and miss an important notification?  Think about logistics too, as a business owner even you need to get sleep, you can’t be vigilant 24/7.

Having the ability to self-monitor should be looked at as an added layer of security, not your only means of protection.  According to Jerry Cordasco, vice president of operations for G4S Video Monitoring Support and Data Center, “A better choice for remote video surveillance is the use of a professional monitoring facility.”  Having a remote monitoring service provides a virtual presence 24/7 that can access real time footage and initiate the appropriate response immediately.

Security systems can be an effective crime fighters, but what good are they if an alarms goes off and no one is notified or made aware?  What good is a surveillance system that no one is monitoring?  You might get lucky and capture a license plate number that could eventually lead you to the perpetrator after the fact, but by that point the damage has been done.  The goal of a remote monitoring service is to provide timely and accurate responses to disturbances on site.

As a security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands the importance of immediate action.  Mere seconds can be the difference between prevention and disaster.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions, which include monitoring services, to facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Every business has different security risks that is why we tailor our solutions to fit your specific 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 Intel Free Press-Flickr-Creative Commons

How Do You Store Camera Footage?

Surveillance playSAN-Dennis van Zuijlekoms a vital role in any comprehensive security system. It helps authorities catch criminals and provides helpful insight into your business operations by collecting and analyzing data on a daily basis. Where and how is all of this visual and analytical data being “collected?” That is the ever pressing question for system integrators and end-users alike. Storing surveillance data can be as important to the efficiency of your security system as having the surveillance equipment itself. We are catapulting ourselves into the future with the constant evolution of technology in all aspects of life including security system components, and surveillance storage solutions are no exception, but not all are created equal.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators are dedicated to providing comprehensive security system solutions that protect people and property. We have been installing security systems at business facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. Our team designs system solutions that meet the needs specific to your organization. Surveillance storage is a security system component that will vary project to project and should be treated with an individualized approach.

In the not so distant past, video recordings weren’t as advanced as they are today in terms of image resolution, clarity, and noise distortion. Recordings would often be deemed unusable due to their lack of clarity and they would typically be discarded freeing up storage space for new recordings. Today, with the advent of IP cameras (internet protocol) and more advanced camera technology the recordings have become critical data sources that are considered valuable. This means more and more end-users are interested in keeping recorded data for longer periods of time. The obvious consequence is the need for more storage space.

There are many factors that affect what kind of surveillance storage solutions can and should be implemented at a facility. The size of the project, existing infrastructure, and client budget are all critical determinants as to what type of storage should be implemented. The camera type, camera quantity, compression standards, frame rates, motion detection, desired length of storage, and overall estimate of desired resolution all should be taken into account as well.

When it comes to storing surveillance data it is paramount that the integrity of the footage is not lost. Traditionally surveillance footage would be stored on a DVR (digital video recorder), but it’s limitations within a networked system make it less than ideal. With so much of the surveillance world developing around IP and network solutions it’s only natural that network storage solutions should arise. NAS (network attached storage), SAN (storage area network), and DAS (direct attached storage) are all potential methods for storing surveillance data. All have different installation requirements. Some may call for extensive cabling and a large closet to store servers, but it all depends on the size and type of project. According to Justin Schorn, vice president of product management for Aimetis, “The critical decision is choosing between a storage area networks (SAN) and network attached storage (NAS).”

The different storage devices vary in how they present information to the user and how data is accessed. The NAS devices present data in a “file system” same with DAS, whereas SAN is presented in what is referred to as “block storage.” DAS and NAS either attach directly to an existing network or the NVR (network video recorder). SAN is essentially an extension of a DAS, but provides a higher storage capacity.

DAS is typically implemented in situations when expansion is not an option, the system performance requisites are static, and shared access is not necessary. The reason being is DAS devices are limited to singular DVR or NVR applications. SAN solutions are typically used in larger camera applications that may later require scalable options. According to Lee Caswell, founder and chief marketing officer at Pivot3, “Many archivers can share the storage and the SAN platform introduces more reliability over NVR/DVR systems because there is no single point of failure.” Common applications for SAN storage include airports, casinos, and prisons.

NAS devices are typically used in smaller surveillance applications as its performance isn’t as robust as SAN. One of the advantages to NAS solutions is data can be easily accessed by anyone on the same protected network. Lee says, “The advantage of the file system on the NAS platform is that it is easier to support a hybrid storage case as some storage occurs locally on self-contained NVRs/DVRs and extended storage is sent to a specific file on the NAS.”

Keeping high quality recorded data for longer periods of time can help local authorities with investigations and it can provide insight into your business that you otherwise wouldn’t observe. While storing recorded footage from your surveillance system is critical to your overall security, it’s important to remember that the type of storage necessary will vary depending on the project parameters. It is imperative to work with a licensed security system integrator to help evaluate security risks, the quantity of cameras needed, and how a surveillance storage system can be implemented to meet your requirements. At Perfect Connections, Inc. we are committed to providing security systems that suit your specific needs. We have been designing and installing comprehensive security systems at businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.

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 Dennis van Zuijlekom-Flickr-Creative Commons

Can Central Monitoring be Replaced by Self-monitoring?

Traditionally in any monitored security system, the individual security devices are installed by a systems integrator and when an alarm sounds or something looks suspicious a signal, and sometimes a video clip, is sent to a central monitoring station which then either contacts the end-user or the local authorities to initiate an emergency response.  This system still exists today and is considered an effective means for preventing disaster and catching criminals.  However, in light of recent technological advancement, the end user now has the capability to “monitor” their own property via their mobile device.  One has to wonder, how effective can self-monitoring be and could it actually replace a central monitoring service?

Our licensed team of integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We have seen how technology can affect not only individual security devices but the system as a whole.  There are pluses and minuses to every situation, but its understanding which methods and devices provide the most benefits that make the difference, and monitoring services are no exception.

As a business owner it’s nice to feel in control of your facility and what goes on within it.  This is where the idea of self-monitoring comes into play.  If you have a security system installed at your facility, it can be set up to send notification directly to your mobile device.  This means that when there is a disturbance, maybe an intruder walks in front of a motion sensitive video camera, a video clip can be sent directly to your smartphone or mobile device so you can act.  The same is true of a tripped alarm.  This all sounds great, right?  However, it’s not without its limitations.

One of the major drawbacks of monitoring your own alarm system is failure to initiate an immediate and adequate response.  This could happen for a number of reasons.  One being your mobile device is turned off or not on your person.  Another could be a missed notification.  As a business owner you likely have enough on your plate to occupy the full 24 hours of the day, never mind trying to keep an eye on your facility at all times.  It’s a feat not likely met by any independent business owner, you have to sleep at some point.  Self-monitoring can also become a nuisance, receiving excessive notifications throughout the day.  The constant interruption would be enough to drive anyone mad.  It’s for these reasons central monitoring services continue to prevail.

The goal of monitoring an alarm system is to create a proactive response versus a reactive one.  In the recent past, surveillance footage was primarily being utilized in “after the fact” scenarios where local authorities would try to catch a perpetrator or solve a crime based on recorded footage.  Today, with real-time video verified notifications and improving communications, local authorities stand a better chance of catching someone red-handed.

There are essentially four different types of monitoring that can be implemented, including self-monitoring.  There’s onsite monitoring which typically consists of paying someone to sit and stare at TVs or computer monitors.  According to a study from Sandia National Laboratories the attention span of a person viewing surveillance footage for just 20 minutes will be “significantly diminished.”  It’s not a very reliable or economical method to ensure the security of your facility.

Then you have remote monitoring where surveillance footage is monitored off site by streaming footage over the internet to a remote location.  However, this doesn’t mean someone will be vigilant 24/7.  This could mean streaming it to your home computer and that would only be effective if someone were there to monitor it.  Lastly, there’s professional remote video monitoring.  This type of monitoring typically employs operators that are trained on how to interact with local authorities and respond to different security scenarios.  These types of monitoring stations are typically staffed 24/7.

Professional remote video monitoring is an advantageous service because the operator on duty can interpret live video footage and provide useful information to the local authorities.  Information that isn’t necessarily transmitted to a mobile device in a 5-10 sec video clip; things like a perpetrator/s physical description, maybe the license plate or make and model of their getaway vehicle, what the suspect is doing, how many people are present, and whether or not the suspect/s is armed.

This type of monitoring can also help filter our false alarms and fees incurred by false dispatches by validating on site activity with the end user via real-time footage.  As the end user you can also request that the operators perform occasional virtual tours throughout your facility or parts of it.  These routine surveys of your property would help detect any disturbances but also help in general maintenance of your facility.  An operator may notice  things like loose wires or a piece of equipment that looks out of place.  Depending on your facility’s capabilities, monitoring operators can sometimes interact with suspects or people on site through speakers on a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) system.

While new technology continues to usher in the desire for self-reliance it also fosters further development of security system components and the way monitoring services are able to interact with them.  Many industry professionals agree that having a professional monitoring service is still the preferable method of watching over your facility.  There’s simply too many holes in trying to self-monitor your own business.  According to Simon Morgan, director of Technology, SureView Systems, “The central station remains the first line of defense.”  Matthew Riccoboni, director of Marketing, OzVision, says, “There truly is a value in 24/7 monitoring by the central station. Customers like to know someone is keeping an eye on their assets whether they are awake or not.”  With a central monitoring station you can rest easy knowing someone is always there to initiate a response.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive security systems to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the value our customers place on their business that they’ve worked so hard for; we work to provide the best solutions to fit their specific 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.

Check out this video on actual events that highlight the differences between monitoring stations that have video verification and those that don’t.  The last scenario is what everyone wants to avoid. Link: What is Video Verification?

Image Credit: Image by Bosch Service Solutions-Google-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 Is Remote Monitoring?

laptop monitor-Intel Free PressWhen you picture a surveillance monitoring station what do you see?  Is it a half awake guard staring blankly at multiple monitors?  If that’s the case you can scratch that image from your mind.  The future of monitoring services is quickly shifting and adapting to our society’s need for streamlined and efficient processes.  As surveillance systems migrate from analog to IP with megapixel network cameras, and our world becomes more and more connected through the IoT (Internet of Things), the desire to access and monitor footage from anywhere increases.  This is where the idea of remote monitoring comes into play.

Being able to remotely monitor surveillance footage from virtually anywhere is a convenience that, up until recently, hasn’t been a pervasive security feature.  It differs from alarm monitoring in the sense that a service representative isn’t necessarily waiting around for an alarm to go off, instead they are actively watching live recordings to catch potential disasters before they happen.  In the past a company would typically hire people to monitor cameras on site, which isn’t always the most economical or effective method.  Today, companies are using off-site monitoring services that have the ability to keep watch over multiple facilities 24/7.  In conjunction with that, business owners have the ability to download apps that allow them to access their surveillance footage at their convenience via a mobile device.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our experts typically recommend a monitoring service as part of a comprehensive security system to help ensure its effectiveness.  Our team of licensed technicians have been providing security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for that past 23 years.  The technological climate is ever changing and we always do our best to stay on top of relevant trends that will benefit our customers.

Remote monitoring allows an individual or group of users to access surveillance footage through a secured network from virtually anywhere via a smartphone, tablet, computer, or mobile device.  Why is this beneficial?  It can help cut down, or eliminate entirely, the need to have an on-site staff staring at monitors, how effective can that be anyway?  According to Doug Marman, CTO of VideoIQ Inc. and founder of Remote Guarding Alliance, “…humans monitoring video screens grow fatigued to the point of ineffectiveness after only 20 minutes…”  Marman argues that the traditional method of monitoring surveillance is at best a practice in “hindsight” strategy.  Meaning by the time a reaction is made the damage is done or the perpetrator has already escaped.

Marman’s system of remote monitoring using a combination of video analytics and audio over IP, or voice over IP (VOIP), decreases response time and increases the ability to monitor a large quantity of cameras at once.  And in contrast to human attention span, video analytics are “100 percent vigilant.”  Marman illustrates the ability to interact with intruders instantly via audio over IP, citing how quick they are to abandon their criminal attempt when someone is calling them out over a speaker on site.  While audio interaction is an intriguing feature that allows for a virtual presence at all times, it may not be necessary depending on your type of business and your security needs.  What matters most is the ability to react instantly, reduce any lag time in response, and prevent false alarms as they typically result in fines and wasted essential resources.

With response time being one of the top benefits of remote monitoring it can also reduce overall monitoring costs, increase scalability options, and send notifications via e-mail or other media.  While the benefits of a remote monitoring system may eliminate the need to hire on-site staff, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should rely solely on self-monitoring.  If you were to take on the task of monitoring everything yourself, your business could be at risk.  Imagine you’re monitoring from a smartphone, it runs out of battery and you don’t have your charger handy.  What if you misplace your smartphone and miss an important notification?  Think about logistics too, as a business owner even you need to get sleep, you can’t be vigilant 24/7.

Having the ability to self-monitor should be looked at as an added layer of security, not your only means of protection.  According to Jerry Cordasco, vice president of operations for G4S Video Monitoring Support and Data Center, “A better choice for remote video surveillance is the use of a professional monitoring facility.”  Having a remote monitoring service provides a virtual presence 24/7 that can access real time footage and initiate the appropriate response immediately.

Security systems can be an effective crime fighters, but what good are they if an alarms goes off and no one is notified or made aware?  What good is a surveillance system that no one is monitoring?  You might get lucky and capture a license plate number that could eventually lead you to the perpetrator after the fact, but by that point the damage has been done.  The goal of a remote monitoring service is to provide timely and accurate responses to disturbances on site.

As a security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands the importance of immediate action.  Mere seconds can be the difference between prevention and disaster.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions, which include monitoring services, to facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Every business has different security risks that is why we tailor our solutions to fit your specific 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 Intel Free Press-Flickr-Creative Commons

Making the Switch from Analog to IP

If you’ve had a surveillance system installed within the past decade it’s more than likely that it’s either an analog or IP (Internet Protocol) system.  So what’s the difference?  Analog typically refers to an older technology that doesn’t use Ethernet protocol.  IP includes “IP-addressable items,” the cabling, and network equipment used to connect all components to an Ethernet networked system.  As people transition to a fully digital IP system there is some overlapping of the two technologies creating hybrids.

Making the switch from analog to IP isn’t always as daunting as it may seem and there are options that make the transition easier over time.  Our licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. have the expertise to address your security needs.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions to organizations throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the complexities of installing and updating security systems including the surveillance equipment.

So why make the switch from analog to IP?  For one, a fully digital IP system will have improved performance over an analog system.  Many IP cameras are equipped with features like, “advanced digital signal processing, optical zoom lenses, wide dynamic range, on-board analytics and auto image stabilizers…” These features in conjunction with high resolution megapixel cameras provide better coverage and the ability to cover more area with less cameras.  Being able to expand or re-configure, also referred to as scalability, comes easily with an IP system.  This is an advantage to any organization especially one that plans on expanding or renovating in the future as the initial investment cost isn’t lost in the process.

With IP surveillance systems comes advanced analytics.  That means footage can be monitored, recorded, interpreted, archived, and retrieved by the central server as well as peripheral devices.  How is this beneficial?  It helps when looking for specific recordings as a search can be initiated versus having to view hours of useless footage.  If an alarm is activated this type of intelligence can be used to zoom in on what is setting it off which cuts down on time looking for what it might be.

There’s also a flexibility that comes with converting to an IP system.  It makes system integration easier when it comes to adding features like access control, alarms, and extra cameras.  You also have more of a reason to store a higher volume of footage with an IP system because the image quality is clearer and be accessed easily.  Having an IP system allows for ease of software upgrades which helps keep it relevant.  In that sense IP is worth the initial up front cost as it is more adaptable to future technologies and won’t require extensive re-cabling and labor in years to come.

Does this mean you have to completely abandon your analog system all at once?  Not necessarily.  As each system is different the only real way to tell what will need to be done is to hire a security systems expert to do an in person assessment of the current situation.  One option might be to use the existing analog equipment and simply add converters to the camera and network switch ends of the cabling.  This creates a sort of hybrid system where you’re using existing coax cable from the analog system but the converters allow you to add IP cameras; they don’t have to rely on your company’s network and can still be recorded on your DVR, NVR, or VMS (Digital Video Recorder, Network Video Recorder, and Video Management System).

The benefit to a hybrid system is you don’t lose out on the initial investment of the original system and it allows for easy add-ons, upgrades and replacements of IP technology.  The other option is to completely remove all analog devices and cabling and start over with a new IP system.  Sometimes IP systems can utilize existing analog infrastructures so that could be an alternative to starting from scratch.  Remember if you have an IT department at your facility it is important to include them in the process to ensure a seamless integration.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade to and IP system all at once or try the hybrid approach it’s key to include a licensed security systems expert from the beginning.  They can help guide you through the process from start to finish.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing expert security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We understand that each facility is unique and requires individualized security solutions.

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.

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.

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Video Surveillance: Benefits & Trends

Video Surveillance-Christian SchnettelkerThe key components to a comprehensive business security system includes fire alarms, burglar alarms, access control, alarm monitoring, and last but not least video surveillance.  That’s what this post will be focusing on.  The development of video surveillance, its benefits, and where is it going in the near future.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide comprehensive security systems to businesses in Northern and Central New Jersey.  Our experts understand the benefits of solid surveillance equipment, and always keep abreast the technological advancements being made in that arena.

Where did it all start?

It may not be on everyone’s mind on a daily basis, but in today’s society video surveillance is actually an integral part of our everyday lives.  From ATM machines, to traffic lights, to drones, cameras seem to be everywhere.  To understand where the concept for video surveillance came from, we have to look at the history and development of video cameras.  Traveling back in time the first movie cameras were developed in 1880 by Thomas Edison and William Dickson.  As a result the first motion picture demonstration took place in 1893.  Into the 20th century camera development continues to move swiftly with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in Germany used for bomb monitoring in 1942.  Charge-coupled device (CCD) technology in 1976 allowed for 24 hour surveillance because of its ability to work in low light.  Skip forward to 1996 and you have the birth of the Internet Protocol (IP) camera.  The IP cameras allow the sending and receiving of information across computer networks.

This ever-changing technology and various historic events, such as 9/11, have made video surveillance in public and private spaces ubiquitous worldwide.  As pervasive and helpful as it can be in a protective sense it remains a controversial topic for some.  The idea that government drones can stealthily record information on American citizens is a surveillance technique that does not sit well with some.  What are your thoughts?

What are the benefits of video surveillance?

By installing a surveillance system you are adding a layer of protection for your business you can’t get anywhere else.  We know you can’t be in more than one place at a time, but a surveillance system gives you eyes throughout your entire facility at all times.  This helps curb issues such as employee theft.  If employees know they’re being recorded, they’re less likely to misbehave.  An economical benefit to a security system with surveillance is potentially saving money on your insurance.  Many companies offer a discount for having a comprehensive security system (to figure out if you qualify contact your insurance provider directly).  If you own a retail business you know shoplifting is an ongoing issue.  The benefit of having recorded footage in retail is even if it doesn’t prevent the act of shoplifting, it can help catch the perpetrators.  Surveillance can help prevent workplace violence by monitoring employee/customer behavior.  Lastly, it’ll provide you with added peace of mind knowing you’re employees and business are being monitored.

Where is surveillance going?

As we’ve seen throughout history, technology has been a driving force in the development and advancement of video surveillance.  Moving forward some industry professionals believe the next drive for security cameras is making their integration and functions easier for the end users.  Some believe it’s all about upping the resolution factor.  While higher megapixels would offer better and clearer images, it seems to be slow on the uptake because of the associated cost.  Lastly, analytics is an emerging trend in surveillance systems, yet some still question it’s viability due to not only its cost but effectiveness.  Aside from analytics that can people-count there is technology in the works that can supposedly detect individual aggression.  How effective this feature can be is still up for debate among industry professionals.  As technology pushes forward, camera development and integration will no doubt continue to change; how it will change us as a society, nobody knows.

If you own a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and are in need of a security system, looking to update your current situation, or unsure of where to begin do not hesitate to call on our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc..  As security systems experts, our team has been providing service since 1992.  We believe in providing comprehensive security systems that include video surveillance, access control, fire alarms, burglar alarms, and alarm monitoring. We are always keeping up with technology that is beneficial to our customers.  System maintenance and installation should be seamless, as should updates and integration.

If you live 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 Christian Schnettelker-Flickr-Creative Commons

Are The Children Safe?

Daycare-USAG HumphreysWe live in a fast paced society, everyone is constantly on the move.  This effects every aspect of our lives including the family dynamic.  The stereotypical roles of male worker and female caregiver have significantly shifted in light of economic growth, expansion of civil rights, and the need for dual income.  In fact, women today constitute 47%, nearly half, the total workforce in the United States.  As both parents enter the workforce, who will care for their children?  Those who are lucky have family or close friends that help provide care, but in most cases parents rely on daycare or childcare facilities.  Parents entrust the lives of their children to licensed caretakers throughout the day to watch over and protect them so they can earn a living to support the family.  Childcare and daycare facilities have become a home away from home for an increasing number of infants, toddlers, and young children.  This begs the question, what is being done to ensure their safety at these facilities?

As a daycare facility owner/operator, you know there are certain state laws and licensures you must adhere to.  However, the law cannot provide protection from the unpredictable external/internal dangers at a facility.  How do you prevent total strangers from entering your facility?  How are the local authorities contacted in case of emergency?  How can you keep an eye on what is happening throughout your facility?  These questions are a concern not only for facility owners but parents as well.

There are proactive steps you can take to safeguard the children you care for and your facility.  Installing a comprehensive security system that includes alarm monitoring, video surveillance, and access control will significantly decrease the chances of a potential disaster and provide peace of mind to you and your clients.  Like any other business, you should have a security assessment conducted to find out where your weaknesses are and how to address them.  Let the experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. help you safeguard your business and the little ones you care for.  As industry professionals, we have been providing business security systems services to Northern and Central New Jersey for the past 22 years.

Challenges Daycare/Childcare Centers Face

While you maintain a reputable care facility for your clients, you cannot deny the potential threats to the security of your business.  Keeping intruders and deviants out is a top priority.  This may sound obvious, but without proper access control a door is just a door, and that alone will not necessarily stop an intruder.  It’s not only access control you have to be cognizant of, but fire safety and code compliance, child abduction, employee behavior, and emergency planning, all while keeping track of the kids.  Daycare and childcare facilities are typically not required to have a security system, however, the benefits of installing one far outweigh the cost.

Playground-Carl WycoffUnlike material objects, children are irreplaceable.  They are the link to our world’s future, shouldn’t they be the most protected?  Of course!  You’re probably thinking about all the reasons you don’t need a security system, like your business is in a safe area nothing could happen; or you always lock the entry once all the children have arrived, you even have the required smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Well, what about who is watching the hallways?  How are police and emergency responders notified?  What about other access points?  How is the playground protected and monitored?  How do you know your employees are actually paying attention?  These are the types of questions/concerns parents will have, or at least be thinking about when they are looking for a facility to care for their child.  What can you do?

Addressing The Issues

As no two facilities will be the same, no two security solutions will be the same.  Have a licensed professional assess the current state of your facility, and consider installing a comprehensive customized security system.  No system is perfect, but having one will help deter potential threats, help you manage the day to day of your business, provide peace of mind to you and your clients, and enhance whatever security features you may already have in place (like fencing).  By having some sort of access control, whether it’s a password activated keypad, key fob, or card reader, unwanted or unauthorized visitors will be denied entry creating a more secure barrier.  Some daycare centers have implemented biometrics as their means of building access, like at Playhouse Child Care Center in Minnesota.  Registered parents must use their fingerprints to gain entry and pick up their child.

Surveillance equipment is useful as it can help monitor specific areas within and outside your facility.  Obviously, cameras in the bathroom are not allowed, nor should they be, but having them in hallways, playrooms, at the entries/exits, and overseeing the parking lot and playground/outdoor play area will give you a better grasp on what people are doing and where/when they are doing it.  If an incident were to occur you would be able to utilize recorded footage to review the details of a specific event.  Recorded footage can be particularly useful to police and investigators.  Including a monitored alarm system that communicates with sensors and/or detectors, will immediately alert the local authorities of an emergency, allowing a quicker response time.  All security features are preventative, while they’re not 100% perfect, they will decrease the chances of disaster.

Whether you are considering a security system for the first time, or think it’s time for an upgrade, be sure to contact a licensed security professional to perform an initial assessment in person.  Our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. will help guide you through the whole process, from initial assessment to final installation.  If your facility is located in Northern or Central New Jersey, do not hesitate to contact us.  Custom business security systems are our specialty and we have been providing service for decades.

If you live 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 Credits: Image #1 by USAG-Humphreys-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by Carl Wycoff-Flickr-Creative Commons

SURVEILLANCE CAMERA BASICS

More and more people are adding surveillance cameras to their home and businesses. They have always been good for security but people are now catching on that they are a great management tool as well. Prices today are surprisingly affordable and the types of systems and features vary greatly.

First let’s talk about the two basic types of cameras available. Analog and IP. Analog cameras are the older technology and require a monitor or TV to view them and are recorded on a digital video recorder (DVR). They are also limited to the same standard resolution you see on your TV set. In order to remotely view analog cameras, your DVR would have to be connected to the internet and you would log into the DVR and see the cameras through it.  You could also see what the DVR recorded.

IP Cameras transmit their signal in the same manner that computers do and their resolution is not limited like analog cameras are. That said there are IP cameras that transmit the signal via IP but are standard resolution cameras. IP cameras go up to 10 megapixel and can give a superb High Definition picture. IP cameras do not need a recorder to be viewed. You can log into each camera directly and if you do not want recording capability, that is all you need. Taking that a step further is cloud recording. Whenever the camera detects motion in front of it, the scene is recorded in the cloud for viewing at a later time. You can also receive text messages and/or emails informing you that the camera detected motion and you can even receive via email the video clip that was recorded. For cloud recording there is a monthly charge, starting around $10 per month depending on how many cameras and how much storage space you will require.

IP cameras can also be recorded locally, on a Network Video Recorder.  This device can be reached remotely from anywhere in the world and you can watch your cameras live or see what they recorded.

Having recording capabilities on site is a plus because if your internet is down, the cameras can’t transmit to the cloud recorder. To solve this problem, many people install a network recording appliance that will record all the video from the cameras for later access while still giving you the convenience of cloud service.

All these camera types come in indoor and outdoor models. IP cameras can even come in 360, where one camera mounted on the ceiling will cover the entire room.

With video surveillance today, you can watch your home or business from anywhere in the world on your computer, smart phone, or tablet. All you need is an internet connection.

If you live 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 the link below.

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