Has it been several years since you originally installed your CCTV system? If so, you may be wondering whether it’s time for an upgrade.
Security cameras and video recorders are designed to be reliable and long-lasting, offering 24/7 surveillance. Therefore, you may have some reservations about whether it’s worth upgrading your existing CCTV. You may also be concerned about the time and cost, as well as the disruption caused through the upgrade process.
However, it’s important to remember that, as with every type of technology, CCTV is constantly evolving. Leading security companies continue to innovate at a pace that can often leave older systems outdated and less secure compared to the more modern solutions now available. Over time, you may encounter some of the CCTV errors listed below.
- How to improve CCTV video quality
- Issues with CCTV storage
- Is your CCTV proactive enough?
- Is it expensive to upgrade my CCTV?
- Future-proof your CCTV
As a CCTV operator, it’s your responsibility to make sure the system you have installed can effectively aid the security operations of your business premise.
It’s not always immediately clear whether it’s time to upgrade your CCTV system. This blog pinpoints the most common issues that occur with old CCTV systems, advising you on the upgrade options available.
How to improve CCTV video quality
The easiest way of telling if cameras need to be upgraded is by reviewing their video image quality. Cameras capture video at different resolutions - the lower the resolution, the lower the quality, making it harder to see what is happening when going back through footage. Having poor resolution can obscure individuals, even if they are within a clear line of sight of your camera.
If you watch the footage recorded by your CCTV cameras and can’t clearly identify people then that’s a major problem. In the case of a security breach, criminals can’t be prosecuted using CCTV evidence if the footage is low quality, making your surveillance system redundant.
Is there a way to improve your CCTV video quality? Changing the position of your cameras and the surrounding lighting can help. However, there's no way of enhancing the resolution of the camera itself. In this instance, you'll need to replace and upgrade.
High definition (or “HD”) cameras are now the standard. HD CCTV can record footage at a much higher resolution compared to legacy cameras. Typically, these support 720p and 1080p resolutions (the more “p” or pixels, the better) allowing operators to highlight events and individuals more clearly. You should also take note of how many frames per second your CCTV cameras can support. 30 frames per second (fps) is the industry standard, providing footage with minimal delay or stutter.
If you want to future-proof your CCTV for the next several years then investing in 4K cameras is worth considering. 4K can capture more than 8 million pixels compared to the 2 million offered by HD 1080p cameras, allowing crystal clear recording and playback.
Issues with CCTV storage
If you are still recording footage onto discs (or even VHS tapes) then an upgrade is long overdue. Not only can these take up valuable space, physical media is also prone to being corrupted, damaged, or stolen by intruders. This could be devastating to your business in the case of a security breach as you won't have any footage to review what happened or prosecute criminals.
You should compare the way you store CCTV to the way you might update a home movie/music collection - nowadays everything is managed digitally. Instead of owning shelves of DVDs and albums, we can access an entire media library at the touch of a button. You can now do the same with your CCTV footage thanks to cloud storage.
By upgrading to a cloud based solution, you can send footage directly from cameras straight to a remote server off-site. This can be reviewed at any time via an authorised device, including smartphones. Another upgrade option it to attach a Tether cloud connector to your existing DVR to achieve similar results.
Cloud CCTV storage is incredibly convenient and allows you to scale up easily and more cost effectively, managing multiple sites, even if they are in different locations. Storage solutions are subscription based and tailored to the exact amount of data you need. The cloud can also save money long term by reducing the number of technician callouts to repair/update storage systems as this is all done remotely.
Is your CCTV proactive enough?
By not upgrading, you are also missing out on valuable integration opportunities that can help turn your security system from reactive to proactive.
In the event of a security incident, older systems rely on CCTV operators to review footage and investigate, but this is after the fact. Modern systems boast features such as remote access, live notifications, and integration with access control, all of which can help to streamline your security operations while also being more cost effective.
Remote access is one of the biggest benefits to come from integration. You can monitor cameras, review footage, and respond to event alarms without needing to be present on-site. This can be done by signing into your CCTV management system on an authorised device such as a laptop computer or even a smartphone. You can even set up devices to receive notifications, allowing you to respond to threats as they are flagged in real-time. Remote access is kept secure by only allowing access to authorised admins.
IP cameras can also sync with access control to record whenever someone has entered a building, room, or virtual zone. You can also integrate with intruder alarms, triggering the system or receiving notifications when unauthorised/prohibited persons or vehicles are sensed.
By not upgrading your CCTV system, you are missing out on these cutting edge features. In turn, this limits how proactive your security measures are, potentially putting building occupants and valuable assets at risk.
Is it expensive to upgrade my CCTV?
One of the main reasons why businesses are hesitant to upgrade or replace their existing system is the price. However, although the installation of new cameras and recorders can initially seem expensive, they will be saving your company money in the long run. You may also want to consider leasing your CCTV system.
With technology constantly changing, maintaining those legacy systems becomes costly. CCTV technicians are trained to service the newest systems and components, moving away from outdated hardware. With these systems being gradually phased out in favour of newer more robust technology, the parts and expertise needed to repair them is becoming increasingly harder to source and therefore more expensive to obtain.
Future-proof your CCTV
As we’ve discussed in detail, failing to upgrade your CCTV system can result in a number of issues. Some other problems CCTV operators commonly run into include flickering lights on their cameras which may also switch on and off or lose their pan/zoom feature. Whether these issues are intermittent or not, if you are noticing such faults then you need to replace these cameras immediately to make sure your system is as secure as possible.
Having faulty or outdated equipment will make your CCTV operations far less effective at monitoring and responding to threats while also incurring growing costs to repair and maintain them.
Ideally, you’ll want to upgrade your CCTV system to stay in line with the latest trends and technology, leveraging new innovations such as remote access, access control integration, and cloud storage. As a result, your system will become more convenient and efficient while also saving you money in the long run.
Even after you upgrade your CCTV system, it is important to keep it up to date by upgrading the firmware to help prevent them from being hacked while maximising performance.
If you care about the security of your company and want peace of mind that your system is fully operational and future-proof, our CCTV experts are here to help. At Chris Lewis we don’t only offer security system design services and installations, we can also maintain, take over, and upgrade existing systems to help your business stay as secure as possible.
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