The demand for CCTV cameras has skyrocketed in recent years, with there now being an estimated 5.2 million security cameras in the UK alone.
Surveillance technology has progressed rapidly, meaning it can be easy to fall behind and end up left in the dark when it comes to keeping your property secure. In fact, up to 80% of the CCTV footage seized by police is of such a low quality that it is completely useless in criminal trials.
In this blog we’ve answered 20 common questions concerning CCTV systems to help you to stay in the loop.
CCTV is a type of video surveillance which is generally used for security purposes, to monitor risk and capture security breaches. The main function of CCTV is to view and record footage at locations where cameras are placed, to deter criminals and keep an eye on affairs as a whole.
A CCTV system can be an aid to both home and business owners alike. Aside from offering security and peace of mind, businesses use CCTV for retail intelligence, health and safety and operations monitoring.
If you're looking for a professional overview of CCTV - and what it can do - make sure to check out our comprehensive guide: Everything you Need to Know about CCTV Systems.
CCTV stands for Closed-Circuit Television. Within a closed-circuit system, the feed is transmitted to a select number of monitors. Through this closed-circuit system, access to their content is only available to the CCTV owner.
Over the years, CCTV has become a blanket term to describe video surveillance tech, but it’s worth knowing what it means at its core. CCTV does not simply define a security camera but the surveillance system as a whole, including the interface where you view footage and servers where the data is stored.
CCTV works by providing a live feed to cameras through a network. Most basic systems will be able to record this footage to watch later, which is essential to track events. Although this is just the bare minimum that CCTV has to offer in the modern day. New tech including video analytics and AI have blown the world of surveillance tech wide open, offering proactive alternatives to traditional security, which has typically been reactive and only allows the user to respond to a crime after it has already happened.
In order to successfully reap the benefits of CCTV, cameras need to be effectively placed around a location to ensure there are no blind-spots which conceal suspicious activity and present additional breach potential. Ensuring your CCTV is set up correctly from camera placement and motion detection to a secure network, is the key to an efficient surveillance system. You’ll find everything you need to know in our blog: CCTV Installations: 4 Final Considerations.
Generally, CCTV systems would store footage using on-site hardware such as DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) and NVRs (Network Video Recorders), but new tech including cloud has changed the way we store footage. You are no longer limited by the size of the recorder and the installed hard-drive.
With cloud CCTV, footage is stored in a data centre where it cannot be tampered with and isn't liable to damage such as in the event of a fire on your property. It also offers unlimited storage as you aren’t limited by the physical hardware on site.
Cloud CCTV storage simply requires an internet connection to save your footage and removes the need for regular maintenance visits to your premises for patches and updates, as these can be carried out remotely. Discover Everything you Need to Know About Cloud CCTV Storage.
In theory, CCTV footage can last forever if you keep it saved to a hard-drive or disk. So long as you have a competent CCTV system you can have the control over how long to keep your footage (although there are legal requirements in certain settings). We have installed systems that store footage from three days to nine years! You’re only limited by the hardware you purchase and of course your budget.
CCTV footage is accordingly saved, either off-site within the cloud, or to on-site hardware such as DVR, NVR or a microSD card in the camera itself. Cloud CCTV improves the security of your average surveillance systems by providing off site storage which cannot be damaged or tampered with. Legacy systems which store footage on-site have been targeted by criminals in order to delete the evidence of their crimes.
The amount of storage you will use up on a hard-disk will be dependent on the number of cameras, the resolution at which you wish to store the footage and the compression tech you are using. As a general rule, for 4K footage to be stored for 30 days we would usually recommend 1TB per camera.
With cloud CCTV, storage becomes virtually unlimited. With the advantage of remote upgrades, additional storage can be added to your system when it is needed. With cloud CCTV, you won’t run the risk of running out of storage, and you have the freedom to scale up when you need to. This could be adding more cameras or extending to new locations whilst keeping everything linked to view from a centralised monitoring system.
Find out more in our blog: Everything you Need to Know About Cloud CCTV Storage.
By law, video data including CCTV footage should be kept no longer than necessary for use in legal proceedings, insurance claims or any alternative ICO-approved purpose. Typically our clients hold CCTV footage for 30 days.
CCTV can only record audio in a public setting if there is a reasonable purpose, such as where audio CCTV would be essential for safety. Most businesses avoid audio security cameras as the legal problems are not worth the benefits.
If you were to use audio CCTV in the workplace, all members of staff would need to be made aware of this, and if members of the public visit this workplace, recording their discussions would be classed as unlawful. According to the Invasion of Privacy Act, audio recordings are illegal unless you are involved in the conversation. This is why businesses avoid audio CCTV as it would be impossible to track and monitor this.
As a home or business owner, you have the right to install CCTV on your property, provided it is in accordance with GDPR and DPA laws. These laws do not typically apply to CCTV at a home residence, ensuring they only have a view of your property. Beyond this, installing CCTV must adhere to data protection laws.
Where you can point your CCTV cameras depends on the setting where security cameras are required and the purpose of these cameras. Video surveillance in a workplace or business must comply with data protection laws, which generally outline an expectation for privacy. This means there are limitations on where you can point cameras. Locations including toilets, changing rooms and public streets are notably off limits unless there is a justifiable reason for health and safety or risk of personal harm.
At a residential property, your surveillance cameras can usually point anywhere in the vicinity of your home. This covers the perimeter of your property including the garden and front porch. Although if your home CCTV cameras overlook the street or a neighbour's property, GDPR and DPA laws will now apply.
Signs declaring the use of CCTV must always be used in a commercial or business environment, in alignment with GDPR and DPA laws. Failing to provide the appropriate signage can result in liability for the business owner.
Although when it comes to residential CCTV, signs are not required so long as your security cameras only record footage within the boundaries of your home. However once your home security cameras impose upon a public space or neighbours property, you instantly become a data controller, with the legal obligation to protect the personal data of those in your video feed. Refusing to notify where people are being filmed is a breach of this.
Find out more about video surveillance legislation and your legal requirements in our blog CCTV and the Law: The Legal Considerations.
CCTV quality is often poor due to outdated cameras and old systems. If you are using an outdated surveillance system in the modern world, the quality and accuracy of the system will only worsen over time. This can be due to fewer or no software updates, in addition to discontinuous tech and limited support from the supplier, since they probably no longer work with this tech.
To ensure the quality of your CCTV is up to standard, pick a modern security provider who uses up-to-date tech. It is so important that your CCTV setup is designed expertly with your objective in mind to make sure that when you need the footage the most it’s there and of a usable quality. Find out more in our blog: Is it Time to Upgrade my CCTV Cameras?
There are an overwhelming number of brands and camera options when it comes to CCTV. There are some important considerations when selecting the right CCTV camera and system for you. This useful guide will help you through this process, but generally you will want to consider the following:
At the Chris Lewis Group, we work with industry leading tech manufacturers including Verkada, Axis, Milestone, Avigilon and Hikvision to offer customers the latest and greatest options on the market. Take a look at what we can do for you.
IP cameras are a type of CCTV and considered a superior type of security camera. Their competition is traditional Analogue CCTV. This has its limitations due to only offering a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 and no intelligence built into the camera.
Failing to move with the times when it comes to security tech opens you up to risk for a number of reasons:
Infrared CCTV cameras have the ability to record at night or in dark locations, removing the need for security lights. Using infrared light, images can be lit in the dark, enabling you to have visible feed from your security cameras at any time. This is an advantage to business owners who are using CCTV to protect their property at night, whilst they are absent.
Have you considered using white light cameras to achieve colour images at night? With dual night vision tech of infrared and white light LEDs, this camera is capable of capturing images and video in complete darkness, even in colour.
Most modern security camera systems can link to your mobile phone, through an app or via the browser, provided you have an internet connection. A technician can set this up for you during the installation process, to ensure you can seamlessly use this feature whether you are on-site or on-the-go.
Expertly installed and designed systems can cost anything from £1200 - £120k+. The cost of your CCTV setup will depend on factors including, the size of your property, how many cameras you want to install, and any additional features you require with your security cameras such as video analytics.
There are a number of off-the-shelf cameras available from Amazon and similar retailers, but it’s never worth risking the security of your home or business with this DIY tech. Your system will require professional installation to ensure it is secure. This might be more expensive initially, but will remove the risk of you losing out down the line from a breach.
Yes. A new CCTV system will definitely add value to your home. Once a property has secure and reliable CCTV installed, a future owner would not need to consider installing one. This can be advantageous to you as a property owner when looking to sell.
Plus, an effective CCTV setup will ensure the value of your home, and expensive items within, are protected by providing an increased level of security.
CCTV can be hacked if precautions are not taken to prevent this, such as professional installation and opting for trusted security tech and providers. With the rate of cybercrime increasing year upon year, it’s important for any CCTV owner to understand how to protect their surveillance tech from a potential hack. Here are 3 ways to reduce the risk of a CCTV hack:
CCTV has been recognised as an essential tool for business and homeowners alike. But failing to understand how your CCTV works and which system is best for you will only do more harm than good.
It’s never worth just grabbing any off-the-shelf system and expecting to reap the full benefits of surveillance tech. A poor CCTV system is equivalent to no CCTV system.
Always ensure to have an expert install your CCTV. If you have any further questions about security cameras, a good provider will be able to offer the right answers. As an added benefit, a reliable installer will offer a care package programme to resolve your queries. While also ensuring that your system is always well-maintained, up to date and fully functional.
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