Video cameras are one of the most widely used surveillance devices, with an estimated 30 million in use in the U.S. today. Advances in technology and decreasing costs are encouraging more businesses to consider video surveillance to secure their assets – both infrastructure and employees – and provide business intelligence.
Art Rosenberger, president of Shield Security Systems of Lehigh Valley in Zionsville, said he always asks new customers why they’re considering video surveillance. He said most often it’s related to liability and evidence, and some companies are concerned about retail and employee theft.
“If someone is injured on your property – whether it’s an employee, customer, or vendor – a surveillance camera can capture the incident and provide evidence,” Rosenberger said.
Rosenberger said there are still some companies that hire people to sit in front of monitors watching a live feed; however, because video can now be accessed anywhere, companies are less apt to spend the money to hire someone for that purpose.
Internet protocol cameras revolutionized the video surveillance industry. An IP camera is a digital video camera that receives control data and sends image data via the internet. All an IP camera requires to work is a local area network.
By the early 2000s major surveillance camera companies such as Samsung, Sony and Panasonic introduced high performance, megapixel IP cameras. By 2014, there were more IP cameras sold than analog surveillance cameras.
Since the introduction of IP cameras, more and more companies are transitioning from analog to IP cameras. Experts estimate the current market at about 80 percent analog and 20 percent IP; however, most believe that IP will eventually replace analog, just as CDs replaced cassette tapes and DVDs replaced videotapes.
Scott Schaeffer, president and CEO of HiTech Security Alarms Inc. in Easton, said video surveillance provides visual verification of recorded and live events, while dated and time-stamped recordings provide authorities with valuable information that could be used in a court of law.
IP cameras have other advantages, according to Rosenberger and Schaeffer:
Video surveillance cameras today offer a number of advanced features that also appeal to business owners:
Rosenberger said it’s important to use discretion when installing cameras, for example, by not using cameras in bathrooms or other private areas. He also said in Pennsylvania, the majority of audio with video surveillance is illegal, although in some cases it can be a gray area.
Wi-Fi enabled cameras also can slow down a network. Schaeffer said the installation of security cameras is important, but it’s also important to stay up with technology such as firmware updates to protect networks against cyber attacks and hacking. He also said Wi-Fi enabled cameras need a good line of sight, which rain and snow can limit.