For cameras and video systems for the purpose of video surveillance and security, there are 4 main options:
- Standalone smart home camera for small business use
- Standalone DVR system
- Standalone IP video camera system
- Integrated IP video and access control system
In the end it helps to start with the purpose: Why do i need a video system? Legitimate reasons:
Documentation of ongoing events in the space
Basically you want to have proof of events or suspicious behavior to show to law enforcement or police if things get stolen. In startups laptops or other re-sellable items get stolen more often than people think. It's not a topic that appears in the media a lot, so it's not on everyone's radar. But basically if you think of ongoing documentation and no other needs, you could just buy a Deli-style DVR system which records a certain amount of video hours. If something happens, you could go back in time on the video and see what happens. Make sure to buy a system that has some sort of infrared / night vision capabilities.
Alerting of suspicious behavior - on-demand video surveillance
If you'd like to have alerts set up for when a door unlocks and two people enter or something more specific, you'd need to either buy an integrated IP video and access control system, or if something more basic is enough, get a consumer grade wireless video camera which can send alerts during certain hours also.
Real time monitoring of your facility
Real time monitoring means you have to have some sort of remote video visualization and surveillance capabilities. Live streaming of video can cost a lot of bandwidth and it is highly recommended to have a sophisticated IT manager on board when planning this - otherwise your network goes down from the video stream volume alone. Again, standard consumer grade wireless cameras can be a great start before jumping into more precise video solutions.
Audit compliant security tracking including image verification
If you need to verify identities with video image recognition or behavior tracking, you need the highest end systems the market can provide. Milestone Systems or similar are great video technology companies who provide cutting edge systems for enterprise.
Smart home cameras are great, affordable and fast to deploy products. Perfect for small businesses with a minimum IT budget and they allow many advanced functions. Of course precision, image quality, transmission speed, security and many more features are somewhat basic, but you can get an ok security with a Ring Wireless Doorbell or Nest Camera.
Kisi's opinion: You are looking for a fast start or a quick fix - this is the way to go. Don't expect anything beyond though.
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If you've ever visited a Deli-Shop you know DVR systems. Typically those system have four to six hardwired cameras with a DVR recorder. You can also connect a TV screen to the DVR so you see events in real time. Sometimes these systems are called "security systems" - keep in mind that a security system typically has alarm, video but also access control.
Kisi's opinion: Just having something in hand in case a break-in happens makes sense and is the perfect use-case for DVR systems. No need for ADT or the likes.
Standalone IP Video
Typically it gets expensive here. For a standalone IP video system, you need a custom setup and companies like Milestone System will charge you a large price tag. Stores like Trendnet provide customizable solutions which you would most likely buy through a local integrator. The great thing is that you can call most manufacturers and they'll recommend you a local security company to work with.
Kisi's opinion: IP video surveillance means going "pro" - make sure you have the budget and the IT infrastructure to support those solutions.
Integrated IP video surveillance and access control
There are good reasons to have video surveillance and access events combined in one central dashboards. Most likely companies who operate SOC's (Security Operations Control rooms) have exactly that setup. A popular provider in the startup world is S2 Security who is actually an access control provider but has their own video solutions on top.
Kisi's opinion: Going this route means you are a fortune 500 company or need to behave like one.