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

Using Edge Technology To Protect Your Home Or Business

Todd Huffman-SurveillanceWhen it comes to security systems you may have heard the term “edge technology,” “edge analytics,” or “edge devices.”  What exactly do these terms mean and why are they important?  When talking about security systems “the edge” is typically used when referring to video surveillance components.  Every security system integrator and industry professional will likely have their own definition of what it means, but in summary “edge technology” refers to surveillance devices that operate, analyze, and record at their source versus transmitting all that information over a network to the system’s core.  In traditional surveillance systems there is a central server where recorded data from peripheral devices is stored and analyzed.  In an edge-based system cameras perform these functions locally.

Why is this pertinent information?  Depending on your specific situation using edge-based technology can provide more efficient surveillance processes and enhance the overall effectiveness of your security system.  As every situation is subjective a licensed security systems integrator should always be consulted when determining what type of components will serve your business best.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed security system integrators are committed to providing comprehensive security systems that exceed your expectations.  We have been installing comprehensive security systems at businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We know how to assess your security needs and implement relevant technologies that will help keep business running as usual.

Surveillance components that can be considered on “the edge” are IP cameras, video encoders, and network attached storage (NAS) devices.  These devices have recently become more advanced and their capabilities that were once unique to the central server of the security system continue to improve.  According to Steve Gorski, general manager at Mobotix, “Edge-based surveillance solves the bottleneck problem by using the camera to decentralize intelligence and video data.”  This means the cameras themselves are more intelligent and effective.

Edge-based technologies allow for higher image resolutions and the ability to compress them without the loss image quality.  Even with the use of high resolution IP cameras becoming more commonplace, in a traditional system, the images still have to travel to the central server to be stored and typically compressed; this is where image quality can be lost.   Edge technology helps reduce the need for exorbitant storage space on the central server as many edge devices are capable of storing data locally on SD memory cards or NAS devices.  Traditionally these types of storage options were primarily used as backups for the system, but they can now be implemented as the main recording devices in smaller applications.  Cutting down on the need for centralized storage will reduce the need for high bandwidth consumption, ultimately cutting costs.

According to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager for Axis Communications, “It’s estimated today that a staggering 99 percent of all recorded surveillance video is deleted before it’s ever seen.”  How does that make surveillance useful?  It really doesn’t except for use in forensic investigations or after the fact viewing, but with edge-technologies providing intelligence and analytics at the source, detection capabilities increase which creates a more effective system.  With smarter edge devices that can detect patterns, motion, facial recognition, license plates, camera tampering, and people count, you can avoid potential catastrophe that could be caused by deleting recordings to free up space.  These types of analytics provide a platform for real-time viewing that can even be streamed to mobile devices, which are also often considered part of “the edge” realm.  The ultimate goal always being prevention and proactive approaches rather than delayed after the fact reactions.

With any technology “the edge” is a work in progress and will continue to evolve.  It seems edge devices are primarily implemented in smaller applications where the camera need is less than 20.  One of the reasons being a server-based surveillance system can run more analytics per camera because of the CPU power, so the more cameras you have the more processing power you’ll likely need.  For smaller facilities and businesses with remote locations that need surveillance, edge devices are a viable option as they provide real-time analytics, can store footage locally, and don’t require a ton of bandwidth consumption.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we are committed to providing security system solutions that fit your specific needs.  Our team of licensed integrators has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We realize that just because a new technology is available that doesn’t mean it is the appropriate solution to every problem.  Our integrators work with you to learn your needs and will design a custom system that addresses your subjective security risks.

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 Todd Huffman-Flickr-Creative Commons

How Can A Smart Home Help You?

The Jetsons-Mark AndersonWith advancing technology becoming more and more present in our daily lives, it’s no wonder it’s becoming part of our homes too.  From solar panels on our roofs to remotely controlled thermostats, we are creating homes akin to the Jetson’s space age abode.  Unlike the Jestson’s most of us still live in homes on the ground without robot housekeepers and flying cars.

Whether or not technology is pushing us towards zero-gravity transportation, one thing is for sure, our homes are advancing with us.  Look how far we’ve come in such a short period of time.  Starting with the inception of the internet around 1962, we’ve gone from the most simplistic data sharing capabilities to now virtually living online.  We can take the internet with us on our phones, tablets, laptops, and other wireless devices; it’s an integral part of our communication systems.  It only makes sense that our physical living spaces are becoming more connected to our mobile lives.

So what does it mean to have a connected home or home automation?  It’s being able to wirelessly control devices in and around your home from virtually anywhere in the world via a mobile device (i.e. a smartphone, tablet, etc.).  You know that feeling of, “I think I forgot something”?  That gut wrenching sensation can be a thing of the past when you include home automation as part of your security system.  With home automation or interactive services you no longer have to worry whether or not you forgot to lock your doors or arm the alarm system because you can do it from your phone. You can even check in on your kids, pets, and loved ones by logging into your home security cameras through an app.  The capabilities are seemingly endless and the technology behind home automation is only moving forward. Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we believe in providing superior home security systems that can include sophisticated, yet easy to use, home automation features.  Our team of experts has been providing home security system solutions to central and northern New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the value in having a connected home, do you?

Convenience

Picture this, you’re coming back from a long vacation, somewhere tropical of course.  You’re in the car on the way home from the airport, the cool crisp air of winter in New Jersey lingering on your cheeks.  Then it hits you.  Your home is in New Jersey, its winter, and you turned the heat way down before you left.  Looks like you’re going to be wearing your coat and galoshes around the house until it heats up.  The frustration is setting in when you realize, “I can turn up the heat from my phone!”(cue the idea light-bulb).bulb_idea You log into your mobile app and swiftly adjust your thermostat to a comfortable temperature.  By the time you get home it’s warm and cozy, no need to stay bundled up.

Being able to adjust your home climate from afar is just one of the many conveniences home automation provides.  You can lock and unlock doors, open/close garages, turn lights on and off, log into your security cameras to see what is going on at your house, and arm or disarm your alarm system.  With a firm understanding of how your home automation works, you can program notifications and optimize different features of your home and security system.

Savings

Aside from being a convenient addition to your everyday life, home automation can actually save you money.  Think about your utilities, one of the major money-drainers is electrical use.  With programmable lights and the ability to turn them on and off remotely, wasting electricity becomes a thing of the past.  The largest portion of your utilities likely comes from heating and cooling your home.  Being able to program your thermostats can be a huge saver in energy costs throughout the course of a year.  Never mind the fact that you’d be enhancing your homes overall efficiency.

Environmental impact

When it comes to wasting energy, the U.S. is unfortunately no stranger to inefficiency.  According to Forbes.com America ranks number one among developed nations, even ahead of China, for energy waste.  Energy inefficiencies impact not only our environment, but our economic status as well.  In fact low energy productivity in the United States is estimated to cost businesses and households an estimated $130 billion annually.  While home automation may seem like a small piece of the energy-efficiency pie, imagine if every home could cut their waste even by a small percentage; the impact would be substantial.

Peace of mind

Yes, home automation can save you money.  Yes, it can increase your home’s efficiency.  Yes, it gives you the capability to monitor your alarm system from afar.  Yes, it saves you time and aggravation.  The best side effect is one that can’t be measured by the money in your bank account or the bottom line on your utilities bill.  It’s the peace of mind you gain.  That feeling of knowing your kids are home safe from school because you were able to see them arrive.  Knowing that your home and valuables are safe while you’re on vacation.  Receiving customized notifications that are specific to your needs and schedule.  You can’t achieve the same peace of mind from a security system alone, no matter how sophisticated.

Whether you’re in the market for your first security system or want to add home automation to an existing setup, don’t hesitate to call on our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc..  Our specialists have been providing comprehensive security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We customize security solutions to fit specific needs unique to your home.

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 Credits: Image #1 (Jetsons) by Mark Anderson-Flickr-Creative Commons

A Security System Customized For You

Installing a security sy9677247879_a39e3e702c_zstem can be one of the best ways to protect your business from unpredictable threats like fires and burglars.  Did you know that not all systems are the same?  That’s right there really isn’t a “one size fits all” solution when it comes to securing your workplace, nor should there be.  Why?  Because no two businesses are exactly the same.  Therefore, doesn’t it make sense that a security system should be tailored to a facility’s individual needs?  A healthcare facility wouldn’t have all the same security needs as a retail store, right?  Right.  So how do you go about finding the right system for your business?  Your best option is to hire a licensed professional in the security system field who has extensive knowledge and experience.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team has been customizing security system solutions for businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand your business is unique and requires personal attention versus a one-stop solution.

As every home is different and each family has different security needs, the same is true for every business.  There are many factors that go into creating the right system for your facility.  For example the location and demographics, local fire codes and regulations, facility size and type, building/facility access, number of employees, local restrictions, and more.  A business in the middle of a city is going to need a different security system than one located in an industrial park in the suburbs.  This is why it is vital to have a security systems expert do an in person assessment of your facility’s needs before pricing becomes part of the equation.  Don’t fall for the security system company that says they can give you a quote without ever having stepped foot in your facility.

What are the main ingredients for a security system?  At Perfect Connections, Inc. it is our belief that any comprehensive security system includes fire alarms, burglar alarms, access control, surveillance, a monitoring service, and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.  There are variations on how some of these components are installed and what products are used.  For example there are many different forms of access control.  Access control can be anything from biometrics-which typically analyzes physical human traits like a fingerprint-to smart card readers that require a swipe or tap of a programmed card or fob.

Again, the type of access control that would suit your business best, really depends on what your specific needs are.  Maybe you run a healthcare facility where only certain employees are allowed to access medication supply rooms.  Maybe the best solution in that situation is issuing swipe cards to those specific individuals, or maybe a coded lock would work better.  These are the types of things you want to discuss with your security systems expert.  They will be able to advise you on what system would work best.

Monitoring your alarm system can be varied as well.  While it’s pretty standard to sign a contract with a monitoring service, there is the option to self-monitor as well.  Self-monitoring works by allowing you to access your security system via a smartphone or mobile device.  This type of monitoring could be set up to alert you directly if there is any activity detected at your facility.  The disadvantage to a solely self-monitored system is a slower reaction time and having to constantly be vigilant.  Imagine you don’t have your phone on you and an alarm is triggered at your facility, who’s going to contact the local authorities?  Fortunately, with a monitoring service you don’t have to worry about reaction time because someone is constantly keeping watch.  Even if you opt for a monitoring service often times you can still have the ability to self-monitor at your convenience.  The combination of both gives you the advantage of not having to worry about checking in constantly and the convenience of doing so when you need/want it.

Surveillance is a key component to protecting any business.  How surveillance equipment is set up will vary business to business.  Some facilities may require more or less coverage than others.  Some businesses may be at a higher risk for crime or theft than others as well.  For example Plato’s Closet in Des Moines, IA is susceptible to shrinkage due to clothing, shoe, and accessory theft.  This particular location of Plato’s Closet had a shrink rate of a little over 1 percent, but after they installed 19 IP (Internet Protocol) cameras that rate fell to .8 percent.  The quantity, type, and location of surveillance cameras will depend on an individual business’s needs.

Whether you run a recycling, retail, or healthcare facility protecting your business is a top priority that shouldn’t be left to just anyone.  You need a licensed security systems expert who will assess the risks associated with your business and customize an appropriate solution.  Our team of licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands you’ve worked hard for what you have and we want to help you keep it secure.  We have been providing customized security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992 helping you connect and protect what matters most.

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 Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s photostream-Flickr-Creative Commons

Protecting Your Business In A Shared Building

Office SpaceWe have all seen an office building, whether it’s the 104 floor World Trade Center in New York City or the 5 floor office you work in.  Many of these buildings house a multitude of different businesses.  This begs the question, how do you protect your business when you share a space with multiple tenants?  You don’t know their clientele or who is coming and going on a regular basis, just as they don’t know yours.

The security challenges that face business owners in a multi-tenant office space are diverse as each tenant is providing a different service with individualized needs.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we have been providing security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our experts understand the security complexities business owners and facility managers encounter on a daily basis, and we can provide an individualized plan specific to your company’s needs.

What security challenges do companies face in a multi-tenant space, and how can they be overcome?

A major challenge for tenants and facilities managers is communication.  As each business within a shared space operates differently, they’re likely going to have different security needs.  These needs should be clearly communicated with the building owner, facilities manager, and security systems provider.  If you’re a business that requires a higher level of secured access into the main building, and your office space, that should be discussed up front.

Often times in a shared building there are already security features in the entrance or lobby.  These areas serve as an initial means of access control, but different business owners may have different desired security restrictions.  For example, the company next door to you might not require a sign-in or check-in with security upon arrival, but maybe your company does.  Why does this matter?  It may affect how you secure your individual office space within the building.  You may not want another company’s client or employee accidentally wandering into your space.  A building owner or manager may have their own set of restrictions for each tenant as well, so having that conversation up front is imperative.  By having your own security in place you lessen the chances of workplace violence and employee theft from unauthorized entrants as well as within your own business.

Providing your employees with an emergency plan or protocol is important.  The buildings facilities manager will likely already have a plan for the entire building that includes alarm testing, drills, and escape routes.  You may be the type of company that wants to run your own emergency drills.  Running emergency drills is a great way to ensure your employees are prepared.  However, when running preparatory drills be sure to inform your neighbors and the facilities personnel to avoid confusion and unneeded chaos.  It might be beneficial to hold a meeting about emergency procedures with the building manager and neighboring company owners to come up with a cohesive plan.  That way you reduce the risk of complete panic if everyone is on the same page.

Construction and renovation within office buildings is not uncommon.  Redistributing space or accumulating office space can pose a security challenge for tenants.  During a renovation your building becomes a host to a multitude of people that you aren’t used to seeing on a daily basis.  This includes construction workers, architects, inspectors etc.  While these people are likely respectable individuals, you don’t know them, and you may not want them accidentally entering your space.

While most would agree a comprehensive security system is better to install during the initial stages of building construction, it doesn’t always happen that way.  In some buildings you may have tenants that opt for an individualized security system after moving in.  When acquiring space, you may run into old or inefficient security systems that do not align with what you might have in your current space.  To ensure your security system is cohesive and efficient you should involve your security systems provider during the initial design phase for the new space.  This will help make sure your current space is protected during the construction phase, and that all components will work seamlessly once completed.  According to Sean Ahrens, a senior security consultant with Schirmer Engineering (in regards to access control and alarm monitoring), “The only way to address those issues is with communication during the design process.”  He’s right, and this concept applies to all security issues a tenant may have.

While securing your business within a multi-tenant space can be complex, the technical side would be covered by your security systems provider.  It’s up to you as the owner to communicate your desired outcome, get the right professionals involved from the start, and to have a vision for how you want your company protected.  Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we’ve been providing comprehensive security system solutions to companies throughout central and northern New Jersey since 1992.  We provide everything from access controls to video surveillance and so much more.  Our team can assess the risks specific to your business and provide a customized system to help you protect what matters most.

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.

Easy Home Security Improvements

Front DoorWhat is it about our homes that make us feel safe?  Is it the sound of our kids running up and down the stairs?  Is it the personalized décor?  Is it the smell?  Maybe it’s the locks on our doors and windows or the surrounding neighborhood?  Whatever it is, we all want that feeling to last, right?  Of course we do.  So what are you doing to maintain the safety and security of your home?  There are many tips and tricks you can use to safeguard your home, one of the best defenses is a customized comprehensive security system.  As a trusted security systems provider for the past 23 years, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has helped homeowners maintain their peace of mind.  We provide residential security solutions throughout northern and central New Jersey.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we believe a comprehensive security system includes burglar alarms, alarm monitoring, fire alarms, surveillance, smoke detectors, home automation, and some form of access control.  Installing a comprehensive security system is part of a cohesive solution to feeling safe in your home.  Here are some easy home security improvements you can make to help protect what’s important to you.

Time for a trim

Let’s take a look at the first line of defense.  If someone is vetting your home prepping for a break-in, the first thing they’ll see is the exterior.  The exterior of a home includes the landscape.  You may or may not have a landscaper/gardener you charge with caring for plant and tree maintenance around your home.  Either way you want to make sure the vegetation surrounding your home isn’t turning into a national forest.  Why?  High bushes and overgrown plants are the perfect hiding spots for would be thieves.  According to Officer Mark Buetow of the Milwaukee Police Department this type of maintenance, “doesn’t cost but a few hours of your time, yet it can make a difference in making your property much less attractive to a burglar.”  It’s imperative to keep plants near windows and entries low and non-obstructive.  This will help you feel safer inside your home because you’ll be able to see clearly to the outdoors.

Light it up!

An exterior and interior feature that helps protect you and your home is lighting.  No burglar wants to get caught in a “deer in headlights” situation while approaching your home.  With exterior lighting that is motion activated and on timers your home becomes less appealing to potential invaders.  Keeping lights on also increases feeling safer while at home.  In fact being in the dark is a common fear and according to Hillary Johnston who holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management, “(it) is probably the number one reason we feel unsafe.”  With energy efficient lighting options becoming more and more prevalent you won’t have to worry about energy costs as much.  Using timers and/or home automation settings will help minimize electrical consumption as well.  Including lighting as part of a home automation system will allow you to adjust your lighting preferences from afar as well.  This feature can come in handy if you’re on vacation or away for an extended period of time.

Locks

One of the most simple and often forgotten or neglected things you can do to feel safer at home is lock your doors and windows.  Did you know, “A surprising 30 percent (burglars) entered homes through an unlocked door, window or other opening without resorting to force,”?  Many people fall into the mentality that their neighborhood is safe and nothing bad could or would ever happen. Unfortunately, no community is immune to crime.  Don’t fall victim to a misguided sense of security.  Use your locks!  According to senior trainer for the National Crime Prevention Council Charles Sczuroski, “Sixty percent of all burglaries take place at ground floor doors and windows.”  All the more reason to reinforce main entries and windows with dead bolts and sensors.  Sensors on your doors and windows help alert you during a break-in by tripping your central alarm.  The noise of an alarm typically makes the perpetrator flee in a hurry.

Security Systems

Aside from simpler techniques that make you feel safer in your home like drawing the shades at night, locking doors, trimming hedges, and lighting, one of the most effective crime deterrents is a comprehensive security system.  Criminals are less likely to attempt a home break-in if they know there is an active alarm system.  In fact according to the Electronic Security Association 9 out of 10 burglars purposefully avoid homes with security systems.  There is a peace of mind you get from knowing your home is being monitored and protected that you can’t get anywhere else.  It is our belief at Perfect Connections, Inc. that a comprehensive security system is the most effective way to safeguard what is irreplaceable, your family.  As a top provider, we’ve been installing customized alarm systems to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Our team can assess the security risks specific to your home and create a tailored solution that will help protect what matters most.

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 Olger Fallas Painting-Flickr-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

Cameras and Lighting

West Midlands Police-Infrared FootageNot all surveillance cameras are created equally.  It may seem as simple as selecting a surveillance camera and popping it into place, but what about the external factors that affect the quality of recorded images?  One of the top concerns for industry professionals and end-users alike is a cameras ability to function in the dark or varied light conditions.  Whether you’re using interior or external cameras, their ability to function under varied light conditions is paramount.  Our experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the importance of a surveillance system that doesn’t quit when the sun goes down.  We are a licensed security systems company that has been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.

What challenges do different lighting conditions pose to surveillance cameras?  The most obvious is the absence or lack of light.  Unless your cameras are True Day Night it is likely that they will not be able to pick up fine details in the lack of light.  Another common issue is the effect of light glare.  Problematic glare can come from car headlights to poorly placed exterior lighting fixtures.  Glare will disrupt the sensors in the video camera and the recorded footage can be rendered useless.  It is important to take lighting conditions into consideration when choosing and installing cameras as it will impact the overall effectiveness of your system.  What good is a camera that captures grainy unclear images or blanks out for seconds at a time?

Fortunately there have been vast improvements in the surveillance industry that are changing the game when it comes to light adaptation capabilities.  According to Greg Peratt, Senior Director of the Panasonic Video Solutions Integration Team, there are IP (Internet Protocol) cameras that can capture detailed footage in lighting less than .01 lux illumination.  Lux illumination is the metric measurement for how much light falls on an object.  A measurement of 1 lux, “equals the amount of light that falls on a one-square-meter surface that is one meter away from a single candle.”  Therefore a camera that can capture detailed images in less than .01 lux illumination is not only impressive, it’s advantageous.

Another helpful advancement in the case of low or varied light is the Infrared Cut-Filter Mechanism (IRCF).  This filter is automatically lifted or lowered in front of the camera’s sensor depending on the light levels.  The IRCF helps block out disruptive infrared light that can come from sunlight or certain lighting fixtures and it ultimately improves the camera’s low-light performance.  When light levels are low-typically at night-is when the filter is automatically lifted from in front of the sensor.  Cameras that have this feature are considered to have True Day Night capabilities.

The only hitch with this technology is color is often distorted or lost completely.  However, the camera is still able to capture a clear black and white image and according to Steve Carney it captures an image, “…that is not only vastly more usable but also cleaner without chroma noise.”  Carney points out another differentiator between True Day Night cameras and the impersonators is what happens when the IRCF is lifted or removed.  In a True Day Night camera a piece of “dummy” glass will take the place of the IRCF in order to maintain focus and, “minimize the spectral offset between visible and IR light.”  In other cameras the ability to remove such a filter doesn’t exist, therefore the full spectrum of visible and infrared light cannot be taken advantage of.

Other features to look for when considering Day Night cameras are the shutter speeds and any tinting on the camera housing.  Varying shutter speeds affect the amount of the light that is able to be captured.  The slower the shutter, the more light is captured which isn’t always better.  Often times a camera will come with a domed or “bubble” exterior housing.  These “bubbles” can sometimes be tinted.  Depending on your application you may or may not need tinting; sometimes the tint can have an adverse effect by decreasing visibility and obstructing image clarity.

Whether you are replacing older interior/exterior cameras or installing new, your best solution is to call on the experts.  Every business and facility is different which means each will have different requirements when it comes to day/nighttime surveillance.  Having a licensed security professional do an in person assessment of your facility will help determine what type of camera should be implemented and where.  Our team of licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses and facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We believe in personalized service that tailors solutions to your individualized 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 West Midlands Police-Flickr-Creative Commons

Complete Security Systems

CCTV-Wikipedia ImageIn an unpredictable world, one thing is certain, we all want to protect what’s ours.  Whether you’re a business owner or a homeowner, you want to keep safe that which you’ve worked so hard for.  One of the most effective ways to do that is to install a security system.  Well, what exactly is a security system and what makes it a complete security system? Security can be defined as, “the state of being protected or safe from harm,” and system can be defined as, “a group of related parts that move or work together.”  A security system is an assemblage of equipment that helps prevent imminent danger or damage.

As a licensed security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been helping protect homes and businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We believe that complete security systems should not only be a group of working parts, but that it should be comprehensive.  Comprehensive can be defined as, “complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.”  After decades of installing security equipment we’ve found that a truly comprehensive security system should include some form of access control, fire and burglar alarms, surveillance, and a monitoring service.

Access control is the means by which you limit admission to a specific point of entry.  It’s essentially your first line of defense against unauthorized entrants.  Probably the most conventional form of access control is a standard lock and key.  Today, the lock and key method is either being eliminated or used as a backup to more technologically advanced controls.  Traditional keys when lost or stolen can be easily replicated whereas using readers, fobs (tokens), and sometimes biometrics in combination with a password are more concrete and less susceptible to duplication.

Card and proximity readers are typically placed next to a point of entry and a fob or card that is programmed with the appropriate credentials is used.  The card or fob is either tapped or swiped on or near the reader to gain access. The benefit to using a swipe card or fob is if they are lost or stolen they can be deactivated in the operating system whereas you can’t deactivate a physical key unless you change out the entire lock.  Biometrics, which uses physical credentials like a fingerprint, is similar in the sense that access information isn’t as easily stolen or duplicated.  This type of access control isn’t as widely used today because they tend to be more complex and costly.  However, as technology progresses we may see a rise in biometric applications.

Fire and burglar alarms are critical alerts in potentially life-threatening situations.  Fire and burglary can strike at any given time without warning, wreaking havoc on your business or home.  With burglary occurring every 14.6 seconds and national fire departments responding to an estimated 1,240,000 fires a year (2013), it’s critical to the safety and security of any home or business to implement preventative measures.  Physical structural damage and property loss incurred by a fire or burglary is only part of the aftermath, the emotional and psychological damage is even harder to repair.

In conjunction with burglar alarms and access control, surveillance is essential.  When installed correctly surveillance equipment is not only a helpful crime deterrent, but a useful tool in solving crime.  In the wake of IP (Internet Protocol) and wireless technology, surveillance equipment is no longer limited to hardwired installations.  This increases scalability, flexibility, and ease of installation.  It also helps reduce the cost of installation by not having to pull as much cabling through walls.  Another benefit to having a surveillance system is the potential capability to access footage remotely.  With a plethora of mobile apps at your disposal, you can access your surveillance system to see what is going on at your facility or home when you can’t be there.  Being able to remotely access your security cameras adds a layer of monitoring and convenience that, up until recently, wasn’t widely used or available.

Lastly to complete the effectiveness of a security system you should have an alarm monitoring service.  Without a monitoring service who is going to respond to an active alarm?  If you’re lucky someone nearby will call the authorities, that’s assuming someone is actually near your facility or residence when the alarm goes off.  An alarm monitor can help save you, your family, or your business from potential disaster by decreasing the response time from local authorities and emergency responders.  When an alarm is triggered the monitoring station is instantly notified; they typically try to contact you first, and if they don’t get a response within a given amount of time authorities and emergency crews are dispatched.  This is a particularly beneficial service in the event that you’re out of town or unable to respond in an emergency.  Having an alarm monitoring service can mean the difference between catastrophe and a manageable situation.

A security system is so much more than the equipment that comprises it.  It helps provide protection and life safety in a volatile world. Remember, a system is only as effective as the parts that comprise it.  For a security system to be comprehensive it should include fire and burglar alarms, access control, surveillance, and a monitoring service, at least.  As a security systems expert, Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes and businesses in northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the importance of mitigating the unpredictable and what it takes to do so.

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 KRoock74-Google-Creative Commons

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