Monday, November 17, 2008

Security Camera placement and technology

Today my personal camera broke. The irony is that it failed while I was considering placement of cameras for a system augmentation. Remember the phrase “Big brother is watching you!” That is literally true in more ways than you know. One of the most secure places to be is actually not an airport or even in some cases a government installation , rather it is a casino. Why, because they want to catch people trying to beat the system or the odds. Here is the challenge in that security is for honest people just like locks and contracts, a dishonest person will expend extraordinary amounts of energy to attempt to circumvent any systems and processes you put in place. Once you understand this basic fact you can start a system design.

Camera placement is important. You want to ensure the maximum amount of coverage per camera. There are some limitation – unless you have someone sign a release camera must be in a public place, that is why you never see one in a bedroom, bathroom or jail cell (baring internet peep shows).

What are your options? Many, it all depends on what you want to accomplish and how much you want to spend. With the advent and consequent advancement of IP camera you can choose between coax based systems that attach to a VCR or DVR with has a built in web router allowing connection to your computer network or an IP based camera system (either wired or wireless) which allow you the added benefit of being able to directly select from your web browser what camera you want to see and depending on the model and features control it remotely. Having a basic understanding of human behavior is helpful in this pursuit as people tend to be creature of habit and you can observe the typical traffic patterns and design a system to monitor that flow and any potential deviation from it.

Some things to consider aside from placement are frame rate, recording retention time, bandwidth, resolution, and least of all cost. Why is cost last, because first you need to determine everything you want to do and from there back into what you absolutely need. Sure there are other issues and factors – distance, light levels, power supply or POE, and of course housing, cleaning, product life, sound and environment, yet this is meant only as a high level explanation of things to consider is you are thinking about purchasing and installing (or having installed) a security system.

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