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Buying Guide: Security Cameras For Home and Work

Our homes and businesses are some of the most valuable assets we can own, and they also serve to safeguard many other valuable and invaluable things in our lives: family, pets, personal information, documentation, resources, and more. It’s no wonder so many people take special steps to protect and secure their houses and places of business.

That’s where security cameras come in handy.

New devices like Ring Cameras (which also serve as a doorbell) are excellent additions to any home and can serve as a precautionary measure. For more advanced and expansive uses, a more intricate camera system may be required. No matter the use or purpose, however, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Security cameras at home

Installing security cameras at a residence is a very different process than at a business. While there are often aesthetic elements to consider for a home system, they usually don’t need to be as expansive as what a workplace might require. Most home cameras can operate directly off of Wi-Fi and stream to a smartphone. Many will also be able to
record directly to a micro SD card and/or store footage on the Cloud.

Smart Home Security Cameras infographic

Ring

Ring is a newer camera manufacturer that has skyrocketed in prevalence over the last few years. Its newfound popularity is primarily due to ease of installation, a quick learning curve, and the fact that most of its cameras can double as a doorbell. The doorbell aspect of this device really sets it apart from other competitors, as it allows you to see who is at the door before opening it. Another factor leading to Ring’s increased demand is online shopping. Ring devices can notify users when packages are delivered, so they never have to wonder when their goodies have arrived. And if you’re worried about package thieves, Ring devices can put your mind at ease by recording footage when motion is detected. This means that even if you’re not at home to accept a package, you can still keep a close eye on it until you arrive.

The video doorbell is Ring’s most popular device, offering several great features.
● Two-way communication so you can talk to whoever is at the door
● Motion alert notifications
● Wired and Wireless options
● Recording video to the cloud (requires a subscription plan)

Ring has plenty of different options to choose from. Whether you are looking for a camera that is wired or wireless, solar-powered, or battery-operated, there are plenty of choices to suit your needs perfectly.

Google Nest

If a doorbell camera isn’t what you’re looking for, then Google Nest has several different indoor and outdoor options that can provide you with great video surveillance. These cameras connect to your wireless network but do require a power cable to the camera itself. These cameras provide night vision, high-definition video, recording capabilities, and more.

If you’re looking for a Google Nest camera that is portable, you will need to depend on those that operating using batteries or solar power. While your options here are limited, these Google Nest cameras make up for it by providing excellent video quality and features normally found on commercial-grade security cameras. Because of the power requirement, these cameras will take a little bit more work to set up; however, they are worth it!

Google Nest cameras come with several great features, including:
● Microphone and speaker for two-way communication
● Night vision
● Motion detection
● 1080p video or higher

Google Nest cameras are an excellent alternative to Ring cameras, since they can interface almost seamlessly with a number of other Google services. Users can use an app to converse through the camera, get a live view from their phone, and receive alerts when sound or motion are detected.

Arlo

Arlo is another excellent choice for home installations. They provide a full lineup of products, including cameras, doorbells, and even floodlight cameras. Arlo offers wireless and wired options, along with power-independent solutions like solar and battery. Arlo provides a full suite of features and pulls everything together with a well-built app. They also offer a subscription-based service that can store camera footage in the cloud. In addition, they also offer:

● Arlo cameras can differentiate between people, animals, and vehicles, and
will notify you based on your preference.
● Arlo cameras can alert you as soon as your package arrives.
● Arlo customers can configure their settings to only send alerts when there is movement
within a specified activity zone.

Arlo’s floodlight camera is a unique offering that couples an HD camera with a bright floodlight. This is excellent for covering dark alleys and driveways and is a great alternative to night vision cameras that might not provide the best quality. Overall, Arlo is another excellent option for those looking to better protect and safeguard their home and family.

Click here for a quote from YFNCG for installing your security cameras.

Security cameras at work

When it comes to security cameras in a commercial setting, systems can get a bit more complex than typical home solutions. Oftentimes there are larger areas to cover, high activity zones, a demand for more detail, and retainment of video for at least 30 days. To meet these higher requirements, camera systems will employ an NVR (Network Video Recorder) and cabled cameras to ensure that the system is as reliable as possible.

Headend equipment

“Headend Equipment” is a term used to refer to the “brains” of the camera system. In this case, the NVR is considered the Headend Equipment, since it acts much like a computer, connecting all of the cameras to the network. Older camera systems (CCTV systems) would employ a DVR (digital video recorder), which would require a physical camera cable running to it. Nowadays, digital IP cameras are the go-to solution. This is because they can be plugged into a network switch anywhere, and then the signal can be sent wirelessly to the NVR. This not only cuts down on cable requirements but also removes almost any limits with well-placed switches. Most IP cameras are also POE (power over internet) powered, which means you only need to run a single Cat 6 cable from your network switch to the camera location. The camera will then use the Cat 6 cable to send signals as well as receive power! Just make sure your network switch is capable of POE.

NVR

As mentioned above, the NVR acts as the brain of the operation. Cameras will send their video feedback to the server, where the footage can be recorded and stored for a certain amount of time. The NVR can then be accessed directly, much like a computer, or it can be remotely viewed through a program or direct connection.

NVRs are quite effective, and, unlike older DVDs, can adapt to changing needs and conditions. For example, as businesses grow and require more security, cameras can be added directly to the NVR without much hassle. Most NVRs can also expand their storage by simply installing additional hard drives. The main limitations come in the form of IP licenses that most brands require, as well as the actual computation power of the server itself. At some point, the NVR may acquire too many cameras, which can lead to performance issues. However, within the correct parameters, NVRs are an excellent choice and serve well for most business’ needs.

Cloud

With the popularity of the Cloud (storage on internet servers as opposed to a personal hard drive), new systems have been developed that allow cameras to transmit directly to it. This eliminates the requirement for an NVR by storing everything remotely. This can be a great way to save money in the beginning, but recurring subscription and storage fees can quickly add up.

Types of security cameras

Wired vs wireless security cameras

When it comes to choosing between a camera that is wired versus one that is wireless, most commercial systems prefer to use those that are wired. This is because wired cameras are more reliable than wireless ones, and liability issues can often depend on recorded footage. Wireless cameras can also demand more power, depending on their features and resolutions. Click here to learn more about the differences.

Standard IP cameras

Standard IP cameras have a single lens and can be found in a variety of resolutions. 2MP is most common and cost-effective and is equivalent to 1080p resolution. These cameras will typically have a limited range of view, so they are best used for viewing specific objects such as doorways, stairs, and desks. They can be used for an overall view of an area, but you will want to make sure the camera has a higher megapixel count. Single-lens IP cameras are excellent at
focusing on an area and catching good detail such as faces, license plates, and more.

180/360 degree fisheye cameras

Fisheye cameras have an ultrawide lens that can allow you to see 180 or 360 degrees around the camera. These can be a cost-effective solution for getting a good overall view of an area; however, fisheye cameras are not the best solution for catching detail or focusing on a specific spot, since the wide-angle lens can distort the image. Fisheye cameras work best in an open area where they can provide an overview of what’s going on.

180 degree multi-lens camera

Multi-lens cameras are the best solution for viewing a large area while also retaining excellent detail. These cameras typically incorporate 3-4 lenses in a single camera, then use software to blend them together into a full 180-degree picture. These types of cameras are perfect for outdoor uses, such as viewing parking lots, watching the sides of a building, or capturing a large area in a sweeping glance.

360 degree multi-lens camera

360-degree multi-lens cameras also employ several different lenses and allow you to see in all directions while maintaining great detail. These are great cameras to install on the corners of buildings, where they can survey the entire area around them. They also provide excellent viewing of an area when installed directly on the ceiling. One large benefit of these cameras is that although they act as multiple cameras in a single case, they only require a single cable to operate.

Axis

Axis is the leading security camera manufacturer in North America and Western Europe. Their warranty is one of the best in the industry, and all of their cameras adhere to strict standards. This has allowed them to create some of the highest-quality cameras around. While Axis cameras aren’t the cheapest option, they come packed with high-end features and technologies to ensure you get the best picture possible.

Hanwha

In 2014, the massive electronic manufacturer Samsung sold off its security division. That division became known as Hanwha Techwin. Hanwha manufacturers a wide variety of devices, including a range of security cameras well known for their affordable good quality. While this brand of cameras is not on the same level as Axis, for example, Hanwha does provide software to ensure that their cameras work in a wide variety of situations.

Hikvision

Hikvision may be the largest security camera manufacturer in the world, but bigger doesn’t always mean better. These cameras will perform their duty for a relatively low price, but they have not proven to be the most reliable. For those on a strict budget, they will get the job done. However, let the buyer beware that they are not the most well-made cameras on the market.

Click here for a quote from YFNCG for installing your security cameras.

Setting up and installing your camera system

There is quite a lot to take into account when installing a new camera system. There are plenty of different NVR options to choose from, each one offering unique features and capabilities. There are also countless cameras to fit various situations, and that can make picking the right one difficult.

Installation is another challenge altogether.

Wired cameras are by far the more reliable choice, but that means that a more complex cable installation is a must. That’s why relying on professionals like Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy is integral to a successful camera installation project. Having experts run the wiring and install your cameras will ensure that the proper cable is used, that it is installed cleanly without damage, and that the cable runs remain within the required distances.

If a wireless system is what you choose, Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy has your back there as well. Wired or wireless, we can work with you to install the cameras you need. Whatever system you choose, we are confident that we have the experience and skills necessary to help you keep your home or business safe and secure!

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