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Security System Guide

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Do you need a security system?

Have you been considering installing a security System? Are you wondering how important a security system is and whether one is necessary? Here are some items to keep in mind. Retail stores, shopping centers and larger offices have benefited from integrating a security system, especially video surveillance, into their loss prevention programs. The constant flow of people entering and exiting these types of businesses makes it difficult to keep tabs on what’s going on.

Efficient security measures are critical for smooth business operations and improving building safety. Proper surveillance acts as a deterrent by minimizing the opportunity for unlawful acts. Surveillance also provides an irrefutable record that answers many questions if a theft or break-in occurs. A video surveillance system is the unblinking eyes that will keep tabs on what’s going on.

Video surveillance can streamline security that will save businesses money. Hiring a large team of security guards to manually oversee the merchandise or equipment in an entire store is expensive. Security systems augment your current defenses by doing the job of multiple security officers. Video security saves you money in labor costs, it’ll work 365 days a year without breaks, vacations, and it doesn’t call in sick.

Not only for businesses, residential homes are increasing their use of surveillance systems. Installing a home security system is simple way to protect what matters most to you. You can’t be home to keep an eye on your home and property all day, but a camera can. Security cameras are also useful for keeping a constant eye on children, babysitters, nannies and other household employees. Security means peace of mind.

Camera systems can be simple or complex. The cost of the system also must be factored in. High-tech surveillance and camera systems are highly effective but are often expensive. Office Zone has a few suggestions that will let you find an affordable security system that you can install almost anywhere.

Security System Index | Back to Top

Questions to ask before purchasing a security system.

What should I consider when buying a video surveillance system?
First, determine how many rooms will need monitoring. Decide if you will place cameras both indoors and outdoors. Will the cameras be able to record during the day, night or both? Inspect the location first to determine how easy or difficult it will be to install and wire the system through your building. Buildings with drop ceilings are easy to run wire from room to room. If running wire from a camera to a recording device is impractical, inconvenient then a wireless system is recommended.

What model of camera should I use?
System packages are available for basic home surveillance that includes everything required for installation and setup. For customization surveillance setups, choose from a wide variety of cameras. Outdoor cameras are built with rugged materials to withstand outdoor environments. There are tiny cameras designed to be discrete and unnoticeable. Dome cameras are designed in a way that discourages theft by masking the direction of the camera. Some cameras feature interchangeable lenses to increase efficiency. View the different types of surveillance cameras available by going here:

What are the different types of surveillance systems?
There are simple or elaborate surveillance systems to meet your needs. Basic camera systems include a single camera connected directly to a VCR for recording. If more than one camera is installed then a quad or multiplexer switcher, which allows you to switch between cameras, will be necessary. Only one camera can be seen at a time. A quad will display four cameras simultaneously on a monitor in a split screen view. Multiplexers will allow you to use several cameras and are available in an assortment of styles.

Security System Index | Back to Top

What are the different types of security systems?

Emergency Lighting
Emergency lighting activates during power losses. Emergency lighting in a department restores illumination on the sales floor and will deter some from stealing merchandise. It also maintains a safe environment and prevents injuries by helping people to see where they’re going.

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Multiplexers, Quads and Switchers
Multiplexers, quads and switchers function similarly, acting as a hub for multiple cameras connections. A quad will display four cameras at once on a single monitor. Switchers cycle through the camera displays on a preset timed basis. Multiplexers display and record multiple cameras concurrently. Multiplexers are available that can handle dozens of cameras. These devices are perfect for businesses and buildings where multiple cameras are necessary.

Multiplexers, Quads, Switchers, & Splitters Index | Back to Top

Time-Lapse VCRs & DVR Systems
Time-lapse VCRs receive and record multiple feeds from several cameras, typically through a multiplexer. Time-lapse VCRs are handy because they record dozens of hours of video on one tape. Current digital systems record video to a hard drive, like a digital video recorder (DVR) for TV, which can later be exported to multiple formats. The new DVR systems are available with built-in multiplexers.

Time Lapse & Digital Video Recording Index | Back to Top

Computer Security Systems
A Four-channel video surveillance capture card is installed in a computer that saves the video recording from the cameras directly to the hard drive. This video file can be exported to multiple formats and be viewed.

Video Surveillance Capture Card | Back to Top

Box Systems
Boxed camera systems are 100% compatible and easy to wire up. Boxed systems are ideal for businesses or homes that do not want the bother of finding different cameras and surveillance components. Boxed systems usually include popular features commonly used in surveillance and incorporate them into a universal package.

Security Camera Systems | Back to Top

Cameras comes in a variety of shapes and sizes to facilitate different tasks and functions. More detail on different camera styles will come later in this guide.

Cameras are a key component in a video surveillance system. You can choose cameras that record in color or in black & white, depending on your preference. Color provides more detail. Black & white is usually less expensive. There are also cameras available with night vision capabilities, for low-light environments.

Security Cameras Index | Back to Top

Motion Detectors
Motion detectors pick up movement, alerting you and/or authorities of a possible intruder. Motion detectors can be standalone units that sound an audible alarm when tripped, or integrated into an overall security network and video surveillance system.

Security Alarms | Back to Top

Sensor Alarms
The popularity of sensor-style alarms are increasing, partly due to their cost and simple installation. Magnetic sensors are connected to a main system. Alarms sound a high-pitched noise when the magnetic connection is broken. These sensors are typically used on doors, windows, and other points of entry. They can also be placed on cupboards and cabinets to protect valuables. Some alarms are vibration activated like doorstop alarms that sound when the sensor detects the door opening.

Security Alarms | Back to Top

What are the different types of surveillance cameras?

Professional Cameras
Professional cameras are made for use in large businesses and office buildings where high-resolution images are required. Professional cameras are available in wired or wireless hookups. These are top-of-the line cameras intended for long-term use.

Professional Cameras | Back to Top

Dome Cameras
The dome cameras will record video and intimidate potential crooks. The camera is concealed in a tinted dome, obscuring people’s view of the camera. Felons won’t take chances if they’re unsure if camera is pointed at them. Dome cameras are especially useful in grocery stores, warehouses and other buildings with large coverage areas. Other models of dome camera are designed for a professional appearance and ambiance.

Dome Cameras | Back to Top

Lenses are made with different styles and capabilities in order to accommodate the picture in tight spaces, wide areas, or other situations and locations of the camera.

Camera Lenses Index | Back to Top

Bullet Cameras
The most popular and versatile cameras on the market are bullet cameras. The name comes from their bullet shape. They are small, compact and can be inconspicuously set almost anywhere. They are very handy for covert surveillance. The bullet cams are available color or black & white.

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Wireless Cameras
Wireless cameras are the optimal solution for locations where wired cameras cannot be installed. Wireless cameras transmit video to a receiver located in the building. The great advantage of wireless cameras is their ability to be placed in tight positions. The disadvantage is that the signal can be patchy if the camera is too far from the receiver or extra thick walls block the camera.

Professional Security Cameras | Back to Top

Mini Cameras
Mini cameras are among the smallest and most compact cameras available. Many are as small as a quarter. They’re often called coin cameras because many are the size of a quarter. Coin cameras are perfect for covert surveillance and can be positioned almost anywhere.

Mini Cameras | Back to Top

Specialty Cameras
Specialty video cameras are not generally for surveillance. These microscope and a telescope camera types are designed to assist professionals with different types of work.

Specialty Cameras | Back to Top

Security Accessories

Mounting Brackets
Mounting brackets simplify installing a camera to a variety of surfaces.

Camera Mounting Brackets | Back to Top

Camera Housing
Camera housing protects the cameras from elements that could damage the camera. They are ordinarily used for outdoor cameras, but can be used indoors also.

Camera Housing | Back to Top

Shoplifting Prevention Systems
Shoplifting prevention systems includes gates and tags meant to alert security personnel to unpaid for merchandise being removed from the establishment. Learn more about shoplifting prevention systems by reading our shoplifting prevention guide.

Shoplifting Prevention Systems and Accessories | Back to Top

Photo ID
Issuing employee Photo ID cards is the easiest way to increase company security and decrease vulnerability to loss.

Digital card printers make fast and easy photo identification cards. The software is user friendly for any who is computer literate. Supplies are now more cost effective than ever before and equipment will run you less than the old-time Polaroid-style composite photo ID cameras. In this increasingly complex and dangerous world, a digital card printer is essential for safety and security.

In the past a Polaroid camera was used for photo ID. The photo was shot, removed from the camera, and after 60 seconds to two minutes the picture was developed then cut down to size to be attached to a pre-printed template. The card with the picture in place was then laminated, punched and attached to lanyard or badge holder. Currently the Polaroid photo ID systems are decreasing in popularity to more efficient digital ID makers, but they are still in use for low-volume photo ID production and small businesses.

The newer digital card printers use die sublimation, a process where the color ribbon uses multi-colored panels to create full-color images. The image quality is as good or better than older Polaroid-style composite ID systems. Most ribbons create around 100 ID cards before needing changing. Digital printers may appear like a huge up front investment, however operating costs, however, the cost to purchase blank PVC cards and ribbons saves money long-term in comparison to composite systems.

Photo ID Equipment and Supplies | Back to Top

Counterfeit Detectors
Counterfeit detectors identify phoney bills protecting your company from lossed incurred by accepting fake currency. The detectors use UV light, magnetic detectors, ink and other measures to authenticate the bills. Read more about counterfeit detection by reading our money handling guide.

Couterfeit Detectors Index | Back to Top

Metal Detectors
Metal detectors increase the safety of businesses and organizations alerting security personnel to people who may be carrying weapons. Metal detectors are a necessity for any security guard.

Metal Detectors | Back to Top

Security Equipment Index | Back to Top