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Network/IP CCTV cameras

Network or IP camera systems have been a popular option for businesses, homeowners, and even private or government facilities. These cameras can output high-definition video and audio and transmit video and audio data over the air via Wi-Fi.

These wireless camera systems can also be configured to transmit surveillance data over a closed IP network that is not connected to the internet. This type of closed system provides all the benefits of a traditional CCTV camera but with the added benefit of not being connected via wires which significantly reduces the risk of hardware-related failure or other faults associated with wired connections.

There are multiple types of network and IP CCTV cameras that can be categorised into:

  • Closed Network IP Cameras
  • Third-party Network Surveillance Systems
  • Smart IP CCTV Camera Systems

CLOSED NETWORK IP CAMERAS

With the growth of the internet and the general improvement of internet technology infrastructure around the world, network cameras have become the norm and are now taking over the CCTV market by storm. The reason for this is simple: convenience.

Network IP cameras are very easy to configure and install. Previously, with wired systems you would want to budget costs for wires are receivers that would run across the premises.

This problem is made even more severe when you want to install a camera further away from the premises, which would add to the overall installation charges. It can also be difficult to implement cable management best practices, especially when you want to conceal the wire for cosmetic and security reasons.

This is where network or IP cameras come in. Instead of using a wire, these cameras can operate wirelessly and even transmit high-definition data in real time without lagging.

These cameras work by transmitting the surveillance data via an IP network. This means that you can access the camera wirelessly through any tablet, mobile, or desktop device. In some cases, if you opt to go with a closed network, then you could also transmit the data without an internet connection.

In this case, the IP camera would only work on a local network and the data will only be accessible to users on the same network. This system works well for users who need an ultra-secure system that is shielded from internet-based attacks.

THIRD-PARTY NETWORK SURVEILLANCE SYSTEMS

Third-Party network cameras are the default choice for many users who want a simple and easy-to-use surveillance system. These cameras work in the same way as other wireless systems but instead of transmitting the data directly to the user, the transmission is first sent to a secure online server connected to the internet. The benefit of this system is that the surveillance data is available online and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

This means that even if the camera system is connected to your work Wi-Fi, you will be able to view the live feed from the cameras from your home or any public Wi-Fi. This type of camera system is in contrast to the closed network system discussed above where you could only access the live feed wireless if you were connected to the same local network.

The biggest benefit of opting for this type of camera system is software support. As you can imagine, CCTV networks use proprietary software that is quite complicated, and some companies don’t even have a mobile version of the software for on-the-go users.

However, these camera systems are backed by a third-party company that provides all the data and software infrastructure. This means that you can easily configure the camera at home using an intuitive mobile application that not only lets you view the footage recorded by your camera but also change the preferences of your camera wirelessly.

Third-party companies may even provide additional features such as cloud storage which can be used to store data wirelessly over the internet, and depending on how much storage you purchase, you can store anywhere from a week to months’ worth of data online.

SMART IP CCTV CAMERA SYSTEMS

Smart IP camera systems work in the same way as any other wireless camera but with the added benefit of a range of advanced features!

These cameras are becoming more and more popular for home and business users due to how convenient these cameras are. For example, most smart camera systems come with built-in AI detection technology.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been gaining a lot of traction over the years for its wide range of applications – and the technology even has the potential to change surveillance technology for the better.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of using smart cameras is that they are always evolving. The idea behind these systems is to use capable hardware and then improve its capabilities over time using software tweaks.

A great example of this would be the use of Artificial Intelligence to improve the picture quality of cameras. If you think that your camera resolution is only dependent on the hardware of your camera then you would be right, a few decades ago. Today, AI algorithms are popularly used to enhance image quality and even improve resolution on older hardware.

The process behind this method is quite complicated but can be summarised in three steps: first, the camera feed is sent to an online server where the audio and video feed is analysed using AI technology, then various processing techniques are applied to the feed and, finally, the feed is broadcasted back to an authorised device.

AI-processed audio and video are much crisper and clearer – and the system can also work to remove artifacts like glares or other obscuring elements that can otherwise reduce the quality of the image.

All this processing is done in real-time which means that the video feed will always be instantaneous. Some companies may even apply these tweaks locally. For example, the mobile app would apply the processing locally on a device and then display the video. Both methods work great but in the case of local processing, you will find the mobile app to be a bit more resource intensive. Luckily, thanks to the advances in mobile technology, this process is also instantaneous.

WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU INVEST IN?

Now that you know the differences in the types of network IP cameras, which one should you get for your personal or business use?

The answer to this question depends on your needs, and to make it easier, we have divided each camera category according to multiple use cases:

Home Use

The best cameras for home use are simple third-party IP cameras that are connected to the internet. These cameras are cheaper and easier to use. As mentioned above, all you need to do is configure the camera by downloading a third-party camera application on your mobile, desktop, or tablet.

After configuring the camera using the instructions mentioned on the app, you can quickly access the camera’s PTZ and a range of other features. Please note that not all cameras come with PTZ functionality so you will have to choose an IP camera that provides a wide range of hardware features such as night mode or other privacy features.

Another great option for home use is investing in a smart IP camera. These cameras may be a bit expensive, but they are arguably one of the best security systems for personal use.

For example, using AI detection technology, you can sort the footage recorded by the camera in different ways. AI detection can be used to recognise people, pets, and objects like cars. This way, you can set the notification settings in a highly personalised manner instead of being bombarded with every type of movement.

Smart camera systems get better over time so you might even benefit from other features. For example, some brands may offer additional HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing which can significantly improve the quality of the footage by making it crisper or brighter.

Office Use

For professional use, we recommend going with either a closed network IP camera system or IP cameras. If you want extra security, then you may want to opt for a closed network system that doesn’t have access to the internet.

A downside of going with this system is that you will not be able to access the security footage from anywhere except when connected to the same network as the camera system.

However, many users also opt for secure broadcasting devices that can enable access using the internet via a private and personalised server. The benefit here is that you get the best of both worlds, but please bear in mind that this type of setup can be costly, especially if you go with custom software for your security camera.

Simple IP cameras can also be used for office use. These cameras are easy to install and provide great results. The benefit of using third-party IP cameras is that you can use the full capabilities of your camera system using a single mobile application. The best part is that most security apps also allow for user management so you can add users and even edit privileges to how each user controls the camera system.

Public and Official Use  

If you want a system that monitors public spaces, then we recommend going with outdoor IP cameras that are specifically designed to withstand the outside environment. Please keep in mind that not all wireless cameras are rated to work outdoors. Since most IP cameras are cheap, they usually don’t provide water and dust resistance.

Fortunately, there are a wide range of outdoor wireless cameras that provide the same capabilities mentioned above, with the added benefit of being extra durable. You can also opt for solar-powered cameras that offer a truly wireless experience.

Solar-powered IP cameras work in the same way as any other network camera but instead of being powered via a wire, they use a built-in battery and a compact solar panel located above the camera. These systems are a bit more expensive than regular wireless cameras, but they are by far the best option for monitoring public spaces.

For official use, we recommend going with a closed-network IP camera system that is not connected to the internet. Being connected to the internet makes wireless camera systems highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. If a camera is compromised in this way, then the hacker can easily take full control of the camera, including the memory bank which contains all the recorded footage.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Before you invest in a network camera system, you must understand the laws regarding the installation and use of wireless cameras.

IP cameras are a highly popular surveillance option in the UK and these cameras are used in public spaces, homes, offices, and private premises. However, please always keep in mind the legal and privacy implications of these camera systems.

Any type of camera system is regulated under the Data Protection Act 2018 and must also abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements.

For example, you must precisely define the purpose of the surveillance system. The purpose can be theft protection or safety-related. If you are using the camera in a public space, then you will also have to put up a notice that clearly states the presence of an active camera on the premises.

The collected surveillance data must also be secured using encryption or other security measures to ensure that the camera feed is secure from outside control.

If you intend to use a wireless camera outdoors, then you will also have to determine a retention period for the footage. This is extremely important as it can also help manage storage resources and even cut down costs when using a cloud-based storage server.

We also recommend that you use all the best practices related to online security when using IP cameras. Please keep in mind that online attacks can happen from any front. For example, if you have installed third-party software on your desktop computer or if you are storing surveillance data on your desktop, then you will have to secure your device accordingly so that it cannot be compromised.

Cyber-attacks can happen due to phishing, social engineering, brute force, or other methods – and if a hacker can compromise a connected device, then they can potentially get full access to your camera system.

This is why we recommend only going with trusted brands that especially provide additional security on the server side. Whether you use network IP cameras for home or business use, it is always a good idea to get a security consultant on board that can help you survey your premises and help you pick the right type of network IP camera for your needs.

This is also an excellent way to future-proof and protect yourself from cyber-attacks which are becoming a nuisance with the widespread use of wireless security cameras.

CONTACT CALDER SECURITY

Calder Security offers a comprehensive solution for CCTV cameras that are state-of-the-art and comply with CCTV laws and regulations.

We understand the special security and safety needs of various properties and offer professional installation services for CCTV systems bespoke to each property.

We are expert SSAIB-approved security system installers and supply only high-quality CCTV equipment from trusted brands such as Hikvision, one of the world’s leading CCTV manufacturers.

We conduct every aspect from surveys, design, specification, and installation ourselves, and our professional repair and maintenance services ensure that your CCTV systems work in optimal condition all year round, guaranteeing effectiveness and compliance with the law.

We also offer professional CCTV monitoring services that help detect criminal activity and security breaches as they are in progress for the appropriate action to be taken, even when the property is empty.

Contact us here or call us at 0800 612 9799 to talk to our security experts right away!

Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash