If you are a business owner who has been considering your options for on-site video surveillance, we put together some answers that may help you determine an answer to the biggest question when planning your approach. Do you want to use CCTV or IP cameras?
Let’s Talk about CCTV Cameras
Prior to the advent of DVR technology (digital video recording), CCTV systems really needed to be monitored continuously by human beings to make sure that any suspicious activity was noted. The cameras were strategically placed around the workplace, often intended to protect entrance locations and anywhere that customer or employee theft might be an issue.
One obvious drawback of this is that it can be expensive to spring for a set of human eyes to watch such activity. DVR technology did alleviate that requirement, sending video along coax cabling to a centralized box where it can be recorded to watch later. In most cases, the video can be overwritten if no one determines that there is an actual need to check in on what was recorded prior.
This is essentially a television broadcast signal, and in general, resolution is lower than what’s available in modern IP cameras (which we will discuss in the next section). They are reliable units, though, and have been a staple in commercial settings for decades really.
One other significant drawback is that these are wired units, and all monitoring must happen in essentially the same location. You also have to have adequate areas to run the necessary cable.
IP Cameras As a Potential Alternative
When Internet protocol (IP) became an accepted standard, one of the initial drawbacks was the bottleneck of bandwidth. But compression technology for audio and video has progressed by leaps and bounds over the last 20 years, and video can be broadcast easily as a continuous digital stream with very little technical issues.
And with current compression standards such as MP4, video can be stored much more efficiently. The amount of memory it takes to record full days of activity is actually quite small, even at significant resolution. Bear in mind that, if you want 4K resolution, you’re packing a lot of bits into the file and it will take up some size. But it’s a whole lot different from the days when WAV files were the primary solution.
The other great thing about Internet protocol is that your cameras don’t all need to be in the same place, because cabling is not the method this uses. The data is sent to its final location via the Internet, after all.
We have tried to be impartial in our evaluation of both systems. By laying out some of the advantages and disadvantages, you should be able to reach your own decision. Make sure that any of the drawbacks we’ve listed are not deal breakers for you!