Whether you’re upgrading your camera security system or getting one for a brand new self storage facility, you may be surprised at the range of possible features and choices. Knowing what’s available will help you make educated choices when it come to outfitting your facility with a security system, so let’s look at what’s out there.
You’ll have some choices in camera resolution. The current range is between 420p, which is 640 x 420 pixels, to 1080p, which is 1920 x 1080 pixels. The higher the resolution, the better the video quality and clarity.
For an indoor area of up to 50 feet, 420p is adequate, but for longer distances and outdoors, you’ll want 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) or 1080p. You can save money in areas where 420p is enough. In areas where you need 720p or 1080p, you’ll pay a little more, but you’ll be able to see details far better.
Camera Lense Types
You may be able to pick between fixed length lenses and adjustable lenses. So, what’s the difference? The focus on a fixed length lens is set. An adjustable lens can change its focus, or field of view. In simpler terms, an adjustable lens has zoom, a fixed length lens does not.
You’ll also want to consider the iris of the lens, which is used to let in more or less light. Fixed length and adjustable length both come in manual iris types, meaning you have to adjust the iris yourself. Some adjustable lenses come with automatic irises. These will adjust their aperture according to the lighting in the environment.
If the light in an area does not change, manual is fine. This would include any indoor areas where the lights are always on. If the lights do change, such as outside or in hallways, where either tenants turn on the lights, or they come on based on movement, then an automatic iris is needed.
Make sure your outdoor cameras are weatherproof, and can withstand harsh wind and rain. You probably don’t need this for your indoor cameras. However, if you have a fire sprinkler system inside your buildings, you may want to consider putting weatherproof cameras inside as well to protect them in the case of an emergency.
Wifi Compatible Camera Systems
We highly recommend that you get a wifi compatible camera system. This will put you firmly in the 21st century, and will provide many benefits over the old coaxial cable system.
First, the quality along a coaxial cable begins to degrade when it’s more than about 700 feet from the DVR unit used to record video. The video comes in analog and gets processed in the DVR. Wifi capable systems process video in the cameras and then send the digital video to the DVR. With them, you can have them connect to your router via wifi, or ethernet cable.
Today, there are many options for viewing the camera feeds, and you can use a few or all of them.
One that we’re all familiar with is having a wall of screens somewhere in the office, where employees can keep an eye on activity around the facility. There are also apps that will allow you to monitor your cameras on tablets, phones, and computers, either at the facility, or even from home or elsewhere.
The DVR is where your system will store video. The amount of storage you’ll need will depend on the number of cameras and how long you want to store the video, as well as the frame rate.
Movies are generally filmed at 24 frames per second (fps) and television at 30. In other words, at those frame rates, it will seem as though you’re watching with the naked eye. You can generally set the frame rate as low as 7.5 fps. It will look choppy, but you’ll be able to see what’s happening, and you’ll be able to keep several weeks’ worth of video.
When you choose a vendor to work with, they should be able to help you determine how much DVR storage space you’ll need.
Finding a Vendor
Now that you know what current camera security systems can do, you can start your search for a vendor. Ask about everything we covered here so you know what they offer. Some companies will ask you a series of questions related to what you need on their website, and send you a quote.
Also, ask what services they provide. Will they install the system? Do they offer monitoring services, so that if an alarm goes off, they can check your video feed and call you or the police?
Contact several vendors before you decide which one you want to work with, and you’re bound to find an excellent security system at a reasonable price for your facility.