IP security systems can be quite complicated given the multiplicity of components they’re composed of and the vast range of products you need to choose from. However, if you get it all right, you can raise your apartment building to a different level.
At Aclarity, we frequently hear our customers ask questions like ‘how many security cameras do I need for my building?’ ‘Where is the best place to put security cameras?’ ‘What are the advantages/disadvantages of IP cameras?’ or ‘How do you lay out a security camera system?’
In the following sections, our surveillance experts take on these questions and many more. Read on to find out everything you need to know to set up the best IP security surveillance system for your apartment complex.
What is an IP Camera?
IP (Internet Protocol) cameras are digital cameras designed to transmit video feed over a wireless network. IP cameras, aka network cameras or webcams, differ from traditional CCTV cameras in that they enable you view video feeds from multiple view stations simultaneously. That enables you monitor your apartment building both on site and via remote viewing, facilitating collaboration between on-site security surveillance teams and remote monitoring teams.
IP camera systems usually consist of cameras, network connectivity equipment, and a video recording system – usually a computer running video management software (VMS) or a network video recorder (NVR).
How Do IP Surveillance Cameras Work?
Rather than transmit data through a cable like traditional CCTV cameras, IP cameras work with the internet. You can find an all-inclusive product that comes with everything you need to set up and deploy the camera, including network connectivity and storage features.
But most models aren’t self-contained – you’ll have to connect them to an external network like your printers and other connected devices, and then store their feed externally via an NVR.
However, you can still expect the same – if not better image quality and overall performance from IP cameras compared with traditional CCTV cameras.
Do I Need Software for Managing Videos?
A video management software provides functions for viewing and analyzing both real-life and recorded IP camera feed, including those for
– Detecting suspicious movements
– Special alerts
Some cameras come with their proprietary video management software. But these software are usually not cross-compatible with other camera models. Rather than run separate software for different cameras, you can use a universal video management software for your construction site surveillance.
A universal video management system also gives you the flexibility to replace your IP cameras with less hassle. However, you need to make sure you choose a product that doesn’t crash often and also that the computers you use are dedicated to the software only.
How do you Record the Video from IP Cameras Systems?
There are other alternative ways to record and view IP camera feeds beside a VMS. You can choose a Network Video Recorder – a device that receives video feed from IP cameras via the internet, or cloud service systems – cloud-based platforms that enable you to watch your videos from any connected device.
Each one has its pros and cons. NVRs are self-contained recorders that come with a computer and pre-built video software. But with VMS and cloud service systems, you need to set up a computer system with the viewing software on your own.
What is the difference between a DVR and an NVR?
Digital video recorders (DVRs) and Network Video Recorders (NVRs) both provide a means for storing and viewing your surveillance video feed. However, they work with different types of surveillance systems. While DVRs receive feed from analog cameras via cables, NVRs capture data via the internet from IP cameras.
What’s more, NVRs allow you to explore high-resolution megapixel cameras (which usually come in the form of IP cameras), whereas DVRs are mainly designed to support VGA resolution and other resolutions of analogue cameras.
What Type of Network Connection Will I Need for an IP Camera Surveillance System?
If your IP camera doesn’t come with a standalone network connectivity system, then you might need to connect it to an external network. For this, you may need either a physical router if you opt for a wired network, or WiFi (wireless network) device.
Wired networks are usually more secure, since hackers need to physically tamper with the wires on site to intercept the feed. Wi-Fi devices come with greater convenience and flexibility, but you may need to consider extra security measures. Ideally, you can dedicate a customized WiFi network with end-to-end encryption dedicated to your construction surveillance system.
How Many Cameras do I Need?
That depends on factors like your budget, coverage area, activities on the premises, etc. If you’re operating on a tight budget, you might have to tradeoff some elements of a good surveillance system. You may want to focus on quantity rather than quality with your coverage, covering a wider area but with less finer details. For instance, you can mount a camera at the main entrance to cover not only the front yard, but possibly the gate, driveways, and parking lot.
Note, however, that in some jurisdictions, apartment owners and managers are not allowed to place cameras at angles that put tenant’s doors and windows in direct view – could be taken as a violation of privacy. You’re only allowed to cover common areas such as:
– Gates and driveways
– Parking lot/garages
– Main entrances
– Secondary entrances and exits
– Main hallways
– Storage rooms
– Laundry rooms
– Loading/offloading areas
Between these areas, it’s advisable to have at least one IP camera per 1200 square feet.
What Kind of Broadband Do I Need? And How Much Bandwidth?
Cable plans are the most ideal for systems with NVRs and VMS. For cloud service systems, you can use regular mobile broadband, which is usually safe and stable.
Calculating your bandwidth is more complicated. At best, you can only estimate it. You need to consider factors like the number of cameras, frame rate, camera resolution, and even lighting.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of FAQs for apartment complexes. If you’d love to learn more about any of these questions or one that hasn’t been addressed yet, our surveillance experts are always happy to fill you in.
Reach out to us on our contact page and we’ll get back to you in a jiffy.