How to Position Security Cameras and Avoid Callbacks

Determine the location for your Cameras

This short article will cover the basics of how to position security cameras for best results. While many factors exist for placing cameras I will touch on the basic ones of placement. I would consider the following to be the four steps in placing your cameras:

1.Determine the location of your cameras
2.Determine Camera Types
3.Determine what the camera will be watching/securing
4.Verify with stakeholder on camera position

What are you trying to secure or protect?

Cameras should be placed in a manner that they are protecting or securing your point of interest. Simply put, you need to watch what you want to protect.

Are there control points or means of access that can be watched?

Is there only one way to get in and out of the area or do multiple entrances exist?

You place cameras at control points/ Access Points so you can receive a notification when a subject enters the area, and so you can capture a clear picture/video of the subject.

This works the same whether it is a military base or a grocery store. Obviously, the assets and location of choke points differ but these guidelines remain.

For example, at a Gas Station, the things you are protecting would be the Cash Register, Store Inventory, Gas Pumps, etc. You would place cameras that would watch each one of these areas. In addition, at a Gas Station, the Control Points / Access Points are usually the front customer entrance and sometimes the back/service entrance. You almost always place cameras at those locations.

Camera Type Selection

You have 4 general types of cameras to choose from:

Fixed cameras: the view is locked on to a specific area
PTZ: the view can be manually adjusted by a user, but the camera will only record what it is watching.
Variable Lens Camera: These are fixed cameras that have an adjustable lens which can be adjusted manually or is motorized.
Specialty: Cameras made for specific applications. (Thermal, LPR, Fisheye, Panoramic)

Selecting the Right Type:

Use a fixed camera if you have a point of interest that needs to be watched all the time.(i.e. Cash Register)
Use a PTZ cameras if there is a wide area to cover and a PTZ operator is present to move/control the PTZ.
Use a Variable lens camera when a fixed lens camera can’t be used, or if you need to have a motorized zoom function.
Use a specialty camera as needed. This could be a fisheye, panoramic, or maybe even a License Plate Reader camera.

Views of Cameras

Picking the general location of cameras is the first half of the solution. This part is easily done because you know what you need to protect(i.e. Front Entrance, Register, etc.).

The second half of the solution is making sure that the camera is placed correctly so that the video being captured is useful. Selecting the Right lens size here is crucial as it directly affects the effective captured area. The four most common lens sizes in security are 2.8mm, 4mm, 6mm, and 12mm. Varifocal cameras can be in different ranges, but usually, they are 2.8mm-12mm.

Verify with Customer

Before you install any cameras, you should prepare and provide the following documentation to the stakeholder:

Take a photo of the approximate FoV of the camera
Take a photo of the place where you plan to mount the camera. Mark the exact spot on the photo
Prepare a map of the facility. Mark the location of each camera on the map
Submit all of this in a report
This may seem time-consuming and wasteful but I think it is critical for the following reasons:
(1) to ensure that the objectives are met and (2) to eliminate re-work and changes after installation.

Without pictures and plans, it’s very hard to imagine how exactly cameras should be placed. It is also very easy for misunderstandings to occur (“I thought you were going to mount that here instead of there”, etc.).

Summary

A carefully planned and documented design is a key tool in deploying optimized video surveillance solutions that prevent callbacks.

OEM / ODM Security Cameras | What Does It Mean and Why It Matters To Dealers.

If you’ve been in the surveillance industry for any amount of time, you have probably noticed that many of the cameras on the market look the same just with different logos on them from a myriad of different companies. The fact is that there are only a handful of companies that actually manufacture security cameras, and most security equipment wholesalers & retailers simply re-brand OEM / ODM (“Original Equipment Manufacturer” / “Original Design Manufacturer”) cameras and recorders. A good example of this from another industry would be television manufacturers. Almost every LED TV panel on the market is manufactured by either Samsung or LG. Every other brand of TV (Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Toshiba, Vizio, W/W, etc.) buys their panel from either of these two manufacturers.

In the surveillance market, there are over 50 wholesalers and retailers in the US that carry OEM Hikvision cameras and recorders, ourselves included. Our equipment is the same as the Hikvision USA branded equipment, it just doesn’t have their logo on it anywhere. Few companies are transparent about who manufactures their equipment, while most companies put their logo on the cameras and claim to be the manufacturer. Many of these same companies also choose to implement their own custom firmware to lock you into their products and prevent you from using apps or equipment from other sources. We would rather be honest and forward about where our equipment comes from and use generic firmware for ease of compatibility and to provide you the ability to use a wide variety of apps, viewing software, and equipment.

So what is the benefit of going with an OEM product, rather than a branded solution? First and foremost, you’ll get more personalized Tech Support based right here in the US. In addition to limited tech support for a lot of other brands of OEM Hikvision products if you are trying to integrate existing equipment with ours. Secondly, you can be sure that you’re avoiding “grey-market” or “China-market” equipment, which is typically what you get from sellers on open online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Newegg. This equipment is generally used / outdated equipment, or is loaded with firmware that is meant for use in another country, usually China. This can cause bricking issues or incompatibility with firmware updates and usually lack any support whatsoever from the seller.

So with an OEM product from Arcdyn, you get the benefits of a reliable product with more personalized and readily available tech support. With our generic firmware you can be sure that we are as compatible as you can get with your project. Plus, we are able to brand the product for you with out any minimums or extra cost. Contact Arcdyn today to open a dealer account.

Do IP Cameras Require an Internet Connection?

We have found that a lot of people shopping for security cameras are under the impression that IP cameras require an internet connection to operate correctly, after all, it is right in the name. Though IP is an abbreviation for Internet Protocol, an IP camera system will work perfectly fine without an internet connection. You can view the cameras, record to a hard drive, and search through recorded footage using just a monitor and a mouse plugged directly into the NVR.

POE Surveillance System Layout Diagram All you need is an NVR, some IP cameras, a mouse, and a monitor to operate an IP system.

With our Carbon Series NVRs, there is a POE switch built-in, so all you need to do is plug our IP cameras directly into the back of it. The cameras will “Plug-and-Play,” so you don’t even need to access the cameras on the network during initial setup.

When you use an IP camera system without internet, you are setting up what is referred to as Closed-circuit Television, or CCTV. This is a system that involves one or more cameras that are only able to be seen on a handful private monitors. This is different from a Broadcast Television system, which is widely transmitted to a virtually unlimited number of users.

No Internet Means Limited Remote Viewing

Keep in mind that if you do not have your system plugged into a router that is connected to the internet, you cannot view your system remotely from your smartphone or PC. It would still be possible to view the system using a tablet, laptop, or mobile device using WiFi on-site if you set up a local network using a WiFi router.

Stream an IP Camera with RTSP & KODI on Raspbian.

Overview

I wrote a previous article covering the RTSP function of Arcdyn cameras and NVR/DVRs and how to use VLC to get a viewable live stream. In this write-up, I will walk you through the process to add your camera stream into LibreELEC which is powered by KODI.

LibreELEC powered by KODI

KODI is an open source entertainment HUB that is 100% free. I’m going to use the LibreELEC version of KODI that can be easily installed on your Raspberry Pi via NOOBS. You don’t need a Raspberry PI to run KODI; it is supported Continue reading “Stream an IP Camera with RTSP & KODI on Raspbian.”

The Cloud and Security Cameras. How To Store Your Surveillance Footage.

Cloud Security Cameras

As with everything in life, there are trade-offs when deciding where to store and how to secure your surveillance camera footage. Most options available fall into two main categories: Local Storage and Cloud Storage. In this article, I will walk you through the pros and cons of each and hopefully help in avoiding some pitfalls and misconceptions along the way. Continue reading “The Cloud and Security Cameras. How To Store Your Surveillance Footage.”

Use RTSP to view your Arcdyn security cameras in VLC Media Player

Overview

RTSP is one of the most useful things that an IP camera provides over Analog counterparts. Since the encoding is done at the camera, we can pull the RTSP stream right from the camera. NVR/DVR’s also have an RTSP Stream that can be used for live viewing the streams. This write up will cover both products. An excellent tool for testing and implementing solutions is VLC media player. It is Open Source and free to use.

Continue reading “Use RTSP to view your Arcdyn security cameras in VLC Media Player”

What are Smart Security Cameras and Analytics?

 

What are smart surveillance cameras?

Smart Security cameras are advanced cameras that feature a robust set of configuration tools to help secure your area. These Advanced Analytics have revolutionized traditional surveillance systems with advanced features and alerts. These features are most commonly found in IP security cameras. Different Security cameras will have different features. I am going to cover our Bolt 4k bullet camera and the smart features on that particular camera. Read the Full Article

Alarm.com IP Security Camera Vulnerability – Never Fixed After 3 Years

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Originally posted to the /r/homedefense subreddit on Sept 30, 2013 by reddit user ahmadnassri, an exploit that could potentially expose your entire network to hackers has been released to the world. On Jan 10, 2017 ahmadnassri released a full walkthrough on how to hack into an alarm.com system and gain access to an extensive list of private data and devices.

The exploit was achieved by decompiling the JAVA player responsible for streaming live video feeds from the camera system. This gives a would be hacker easy access to alarm.com’s Master Key and in turn your camera system. While this exploit only applies to older models sold by dealers such as Vivint and Frontpoint Security, there are plenty of these models in the wild to cause concern.

The release of yet another security flaw found in security cameras and devices adds to the long list of vulnerabilities found in recent memory. Until the security industry and manufacturers that are creating devices for the Internet of things begins to take network security seriously we will continue to see dangerous exploits found and utilized.

In most cases, changing the default password on your equipment will protect you from an attack, but that unfortunately is not a sure bet when using cheap or poor quality systems. The old adage “you get what you pay for” always turns out to be true and in this case could mean the difference between your security or being a target.

Check out Arcdyn for professional and secure IP security camera systems