Camera Systems for Business Video Security: Comprehensive Guide
The realm of business video security systems is expansive and diverse. Unlike consumer home security cameras like Nest, Ring, Wyze, or Blink, IP camera systems are tailored to meet specific business needs. For enterprises, it's essential to have an IP camera system with uninterrupted power and internet connections and extended data storage options like 30, 60, or 90 days, based on business requirements. Furthermore, the more cameras a business deploys, the more bandwidth-efficient they must be to prevent excessive data usage. In this guide, we'll classify cameras based on power source, data transfer method, location of the "brain" and compare the solutions.
- Battery-Powered Wireless Cameras: For example, Nest cameras. These aren't suitable for businesses as their batteries run out within a week and require frequent charging.
- 120V Wired Cameras: For example, Ring or Nest. They plug directly into a 120V wall socket and are apt for businesses with fewer cameras. Power outlet locations can limit camera placement options.
- Analog Cameras: Often known as CCTV cameras, they capture video and send it as a continuous electrical signal stream over a coaxial cable to a DVR. They've been the standard in video surveillance but are slowly being replaced by digital technologies like Power over Ethernet (PoE) cameras.
- Power over Ethernet (PoE) Cameras: The pinnacle of IP camera systems and ideal for businesses. They use a single ethernet cable (Cat 5 or Cat 6) for power and data transfer. With minimal maintenance required, they can function for extended durations without intervention. Their low power consumption makes them safer than 120V systems. Examples include Coram AI, Avigilon, Axis cameras, and more. These are widely recognized as IP cameras.
Data Transfer Method:
- Wireless: Cameras, like Nest, use local WiFi for data transmission. While apt for homes, they are not the best for businesses requiring consistent WiFi connections.
- Power over Ethernet: These cameras transmit data through an ethernet cable (Cat 5 or Cat 6), providing businesses with a dependable connection.
By now, businesses exploring video security should recognize the rising prominence of IP camera systems. Delving deeper into the various types of IP cameras, the market is vast, with a plethora of options that can be daunting. Some notable IP camera system providers include:
- Coram AI
- Rhombus Systems
- Axis Communication
- LTS Security
- Eagle Eye
(And many more)
Camera’s Brain Location:
The "brain" of the camera, or its primary processing unit, is pivotal when selecting an IP camera system. Over the past decade, while IP cameras have become more prevalent, the real value of a cloud video security system lies in the software that enhances the video feed. Broadly, there are two architectures:
- NVR-Based Architecture: The IP camera merely gathers video data and forwards it to an on-site computer for processing and storage. The essence of the cloud video security system is the software within the Network Video Recorder (NVR). Hence, selecting the right NVR vendor is crucial. The software runs inside the NVR, connects the NVR and cameras to the cloud and makes them seamlessly accessible from a web browser or mobile device.
- In-Camera NVR: In this configuration, the camera manages recording, processing, and all other functionalities, removing the need for a central computer. Think of this as a mini-NVR built inside each camera.
* NVR-Based can work with any IP camera, In-Camera NVRs are locked to one vendor
NVR-Based Architecture (e.g., Coram AI, Avigilon Unity, Eagle Eye, Solink)
- Offers more flexibility as it supports many IP camera vendors
- Easy to switch NVR providers without altering cameras
- Generally cost-effective
- Provides robust AI features; the NVR can house more AI computing
- Requires an on-site server
In-Camera NVR (e.g., Verkada, Rhombus Systems)
- Customers are bound to one provider for both camera and software
- Requires a new camera installation, and the software only functions with its vendor’s cameras
- Generally more expensive
- Only operational with an active subscription, otherwise, a full camera replacement is necessary
- Limited AI compute-per-camera restricts the capabilities of the camera
- No on-site server is needed
In conclusion, the domain of business video security systems is intricate, with many options tailored to distinct needs. While consumer-grade cameras might be adequate for home use, businesses necessitate more robust, reliable, and efficient systems. IP camera systems, especially those with PoE capabilities, have emerged as leaders in this sector, offering unmatched reliability and minimal upkeep. The decision between NVR-Based Architecture and In-Camera NVR depends on aspects like flexibility, price, and AI capabilities. As businesses delve into cloud video security, grasping these subtleties is vital to their success.