Security 101 Part 1: Security Camera System Basics for every regular Joe

September 14, 2015

Not to long ago, I posted a picture up on Pinterest in the hopes that customers as well as my general group of readers would find it helpful. I realize that reaching everyone who is interested in installing security cameras is practically impossible; however, I hope to make the process for those who do stumble across our blog a little bit easier. Starting Out It's terribly hard when beginning to make your choice about security camera systems. For the most part, many sales reps will speak to you in a completely different language as most tech enthusiasts usually do. Let me assure you, It's be because we want to confuse the general public, but it's more so because we just happen to know the technical terms and don't know how to explain it without them. Going back to our topic on hand. There are a few things you need to consider when beginning. Forget all the technical jargon about DVR's, resolution, and etc. This is not important yet. You need to figure out your needs first before diving into that foreign language so here are a few things to consider:


  1. Where do I want to be able to survey? 
  2. How many cameras will I potentially need?
  3. Will I have the time to install them on my own or do i need to hire someone?
  4. What is the purpose of installing these cameras?
  5. Finally, what is my budget?

    Some people ask me why I ask about budgets last, and that's because people tend to set a budget first and work to fit their needs into that budget while trimming down on what may have been necessities; this causes many to go back and spend more money anyway. So it is quite crucial that you know exactly what you're looking for before deciding that budget. Oddly enough, your budget will probably still be the same whether you decide on it before or after; however, you'll have a good idea of what it is you need all together if you decide on that budget last. These are very general questions that you need to ask yourself. None of the questions require any kind of technical knowledge; watching and having surveillance for what you need is nothing new. Let me break those questions down for you and explain what it is you'll need to look for.

    Questions 1 and 4 go hand in hand. Generally you already know where you want to have surveillance. It may be your home, office, parking lot or garage and for each location you may need something completely different. The reason behind installing the cameras may be something along the lines of you simply wanting to see if anyone enters your premises or maybe even being able to see how your money is being handled at the register at your store. It's these types of purposes that will lead you to deciding on how clearly you need to be able to see your video footage. Is it okay if you cannot recognize the face, or is it absolutely imperative that you be able to see what bill is being put in and taken out of the register? The answer to that will lead you to knowing what kind of resolution you need your cameras to be.

    Questions 1 and 2 will somewhat relate to one another since once you decide where you'd like to have surveillance, you'll also have a clear idea of how many places will need cameras. You may want one facing down the hallway as well as one shooting in the opposite direction. You may also want to clear all your blind spots and place a few cameras on each corner. Whatever your preference and need is, "where" and "how many" is something you have to decide on. One thing to keep in mind is that having extra cameras is never a bad thing. The reason why I say this is because many consumer grade security camera system will come as a package, and this package may contain way more than you actually need. That being said, you may be asking why having extra isn't so bad. This is the case because time and time again, electronics fail us in so many unexpected ways. An unexpected situation is not something we in the security business ever enjoy. An unexpected situation may be where a camera has been vandalized or where a camera simply just stops working; in both cases, you'll need a new camera. So instead of purchasing a new camera rather frantically, you may be better off having a few extra spares lying around. Considering cameras sold within a package are generally cheaper compared to separate cameras, it may definitely be something to consider.

    Lastly, question 3 is a mere component of deciding your final budget as installation services can cost anywhere around a few hundred dollars if not more. Most consumer grade products are fairly easy to set up as most of them are marked as AIO & DIY kits which stand for All-in-One and Do-it-Yourself, respectively. The only part that most customers have trouble with the wiring as well as the network setup. If you feel that the wiring is something you'd rather not deal with, having a professional install the system may actually be much more efficient for you; however, that would definitely be something you'd have to consider before as it will play into your budget quite a bit.

    At this point you should have a general idea of what you need and what you would like to have. Set a reasonable budget for yourself while also leaving yourself ample amount of wiggle room as these things are nothing close to what you'd consider to be cheap. There are definitely a few more things you'll want to know, and that is general terminology so that you don't find yourself completely baffled when speaking to a sales rep. I'll be covering that in Part 2 Thanks for reading!