CCTV, or closed-circuit television, is a video surveillance system that allows you to record video footage of your home or business premises for monitoring purposes.
There are two main types of CCTV systems, the first being the analogue camera, which records images to a digital video recorder (DVR). The DVR converts the recorded images into a digital format that can be viewed through a monitor (near the site of the CCTV cameras). Otherwise, the DVR can also be connected to a router to broadcast the images through an internal network for remote viewing (through smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers etc.).
The second type of CCTV camera is the digital or internet protocol (IP) one. This is a newer version of CCTV that records directly in a digital format. The digital images from the CCTV are sent directly through a specific network to a dedicated server – so that images don’t have to be converted using a DVR. Users can access the footage remotely, any time and anywhere.
Benefits of digital CCTV camera system
Easy remote viewing is a wonderful feature of digital CCTV cameras, but it is also accompanied by many other great benefits. That’s why homeowners and business owners in Singapore tend to opt for digital camera systems instead of analogue CCTV.
1. Remote viewing
With access to CCTV footage through handphones, laptops, tablets etc., business owners need not hire someone to monitor CCTV video footage on the business premises round the clock, saving costs on security. Plus, should any dispute or criminal activity occur, business owners can simply search for the footage on their phone, according to the date and time it happened, and play it back remotely – rather than travel to the site to find out what happened.
Homeowners leaving their houses for vacation or other travels can also continue monitoring their homes on their phone so that they get to enjoy a peace of mind anywhere they are!
2. Higher image quality
Digital CCTV systems have much higher image quality compared to analogue cameras, with high-definition clarity and wider viewing angles. As such, it is much easier to identify physical features of the offender or other tell-tale signs leading to the suspect – best fulfilling the role of the CCTV surveillance system in the first place.
Most digital cameras also have a zoom function to enlarge the video images with greater clarity – unlike analogue cameras that produce grainy images when zoomed into, providing no clear picture of the crime or dispute.
3. Less wiring, easier installation
Installation is much less of a hassle with digital CCTV cameras! These cameras need only to be connected to a small network switch or wireless network device that will transfer the digital data recorded to your phone, laptop etc. Analogue cameras, on the other hand, have to be wired to a DVR, which limits the scale of your CCTV system according to the maximum number of ports the DVR has. In all, a digital surveillance system keeps wiring to a minimum, plus makes installing and adding CCTV cameras easy.
Before you rush into installing a CCTV camera system on your home or business premises, it’s important to plan and consider your security needs and environment of the site so that you can build a most effective system. For instance, if you require 24/7 CCTV monitoring, but get a camera that isn’t able to capture clear images, you defeat the purpose of having a surveillance system. That’s why we recommend that you think carefully about which type of CCTV camera best serves your needs before you begin!
Types of CCTV cameras
Dome cameras are most commonly used by businesses and homeowners in Singapore because of their subtle, unobtrusive design that makes it easy to fit into any space or setting. While it may appear like these cameras provide 360° monitoring, they consist instead of a front-facing camera placed within a dome structure. It’s difficult to see which way the camera is facing, making it an effective deterrent for potential intruders or criminals. Plus, the camera might not have 360° monitoring, but it does record a wider angle than other CCTV cameras. One best feature of the dome camera is that its dome is vandal-resistant, making it also difficult for people to interfere with it or obstruct video footage.
Bullet cameras are long and cylindrical; this makes them highly visible and an effective deterrent against intruders. These cameras are ideal for outdoor use because they have casings that are resistant to dirt, dust, and water. Bullet cameras are fitted with either a varifocal lens, one that can change focus as the zoom distance changes, or a ‘true’ zoom lens that stays in focus even as the camera zooms. Either way, bullet cameras are great for long-distance monitoring – like in backyards, factories’ external premises, parking lots etc. They also have a short ‘cap’ above the lens that prevents glare and blurred footage resulting from raindrops. Should you require outdoor surveillance, bullet CCTV cameras are likely your best option.
3. Pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ)
Pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) cameras are uniquely able to move left, right, up, down, and zoom in, out – providing a generous scope for surveillance. These cameras should either be controlled by a security guard who is monitoring the live surveillance footage on-site, or programmed to pan a certain area (like an entryway or exit) when movement is detected. Definitely, having a security team present makes the best use of the PTZ CCTV, allowing suspicious activity to be tracked and captured quickly.
On top of being able to react to live situations, the PTZ enables you to cover a big area that will otherwise require several fixed CCTV cameras to surveil. Consider using PTZ cameras to pan large areas while having fixed cameras pointed at important locations like entries. These cameras are often used in large retail stores, factories, or offices.
As Day/Night CCTV cameras can pick up clear images in both bright and dark conditions, they are best suited for outdoor premises that require 24/7 surveillance. These cameras use extra sensitive imaging chips that allow them to record during the daytime, night time and in varying light (e.g. direct sunlight, glare, reflections, dim lighting) and weather conditions. Similar to bullet cameras that have a protective casing, day/night CCTV cameras also shield well against dust, dirt and other natural elements. Be it for homes or businesses in Singapore, day/night cameras are a desirable surveillance option.
5. Night vision
Night vision cameras sound similar to day/night cameras, but they are actually designed to function in pitch-black environments. Also known as infrared cameras, they use either infrared or thermal image technology to capture quality footage even in conditions that are void of light. Most night vision cameras pick up images both in colour and black and white – coloured footage in the daytime, and black and white footage in the night. Locations that require highly-reliable footage in the dark, like airports, banks, manufacturing factories, will choose night vision cameras for surveillance.
These are small, hidden cameras that can be disguised in various objects, like picture frames, tissue boxes, alarm clocks, wall clocks etc. Due to Singapore PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act), business premises with limited access – like offices requiring employees to tap in – are not allowed to use hidden cameras to record their employees. Businesses have to make it known to employees that they are being recorded on the premises, according to the PDPA.
More often, households in Singapore that employ a helper to take care of children may choose to use discreet cameras to surveil what happens at home, especially if they suspect wrongful actions. Discreet cameras are also sometimes placed in cars to catch car vandals red-handed. In cases of car vandalism, a person can easily stay out of sight of a regular car video recording camera and still perform damage to the car. With hidden cameras, a car vandal will not know to avoid the camera, allowing you to catch them in the act.
Overall, there are many different types of CCTV cameras suited for various settings and purposes. You should consider your surveillance needs before you decide what type of camera or combination of types of cameras to include in your CCTV system. Consult a CCTV surveillance company in Singapore to help you discover and strategise what your business or home requires, for the most well-equipped surveillance system!
Areas that most require CCTV surveillance
As you decide the best CCTV cameras for your home or business in Singapore, also consider the areas in your premises which most require CCTV surveillance. Strategic placements of cameras will more effectively deter intruders or capture evidence of any offence made. Deciding on the appropriate locations to place the cameras can also help you to pick suitable cameras for each setting.
To decide locations for installing CCTV, consider the history of crime on your property (whether home or business). You can reach out to previous owners or the landlord to find out if any intrusions have occurred on the premises and how they happened. Also think about all ways that an intruder might access your property, like through the front door, back entrance, obscured windows or doors. With this in mind, you will discover the locations most in need of CCTV surveillance.
On top of that, also consider weather conditions like light, foliage, dirt or dust, rain etc. that might affect the camera’s ability to capture clear images. For instance, you want either to avoid locations that expose your camera to direct glare from the sunlight, or use a CCTV like the day/night camera to make sure that video footage remains unaffected.
Here are some best locations to install CCTV cameras:
1. Front entrance
Front entrances are the most evident route for intruders to enter the house or business premise. To prevent the camera from being tampered with, you can install it in a higher, out-of-reach position or within a wire-caging.
Do note that it is not legal to install CCTV facing the corridor or your neighbours’ home in HDB (Housing and Development Board) flats in Singapore. It is a good idea then to install the CCTV inside your home, facing the front entrance. While this does not deter intruders, it does enable you to capture video evidence of the break-in.
For condominiums, installing CCTV outside the home may be regulated by rules of the estate, so you should check before you make an installation. Homeowners of landed properties can choose to install a CCTV on the outside of their front doors.
2. Other entrances, like windows
Window, back entrances, side doors, even parking areas are places that you also need to pay close attention to. Have cameras pointed at these areas both to deter potential intruders and obtain surveillance footage if any break-ins do occur. This is especially important for first-floor windows as potential intruders can easily climb into the compound. Parking areas or garages tend to be forgotten spots to install CCTV cameras – perhaps because they are outside of the home or business premise – but they are also routes of access to a home or business compound, making it a good idea to fix CCTV in these areas.
Indoor cameras don’t function to deter but they are effective at capturing intruders in the act, enabling the identification of their features or providing an unobstructed view of their face. Again, you should also place your indoor CCTV cameras facing entrances and other dimly lit areas in your home.
For offices, the first point of contact of an intruder after entering the building is likely the reception or front desk. That’s why, you should install wide-angle CCTV cameras near the front desk, enabling you to monitor the enterings and leavings of every person, and identify the purpose of each person’s visit to keep track of suspicious activity.
CCTV can also be installed in the office work area. Businesses in Singapore are susceptible to intellectual property and company property theft that happens in the office work area or bosses’ private offices, so train your CCTV cameras on these vulnerable areas for effective monitoring.
Steps to CCTV installation in Singapore
1. Engage a licensed provider
In Singapore, installation of CCTV cameras cannot be done on your own. According to the Private Security Industry Act, CCTV cameras can only be installed by a person who has a licence to provide security-related services. This means that, even if you’ve bought your cameras online, you need to engage a person or company certified with a Security Service Provider license to install your CCTV surveillance system for you. It does not matter whether your cameras are placed inside or outside your home/business premises – you cannot install them on your own.
For the easiest, most hassle-free installation process, we recommend that you get your CCTV cameras from a licensed CCTV provider so that they can assist you with the installation as well. Even better, they can inspect your compound and provide recommended solutions (regarding the type of CCTV cameras and where to place them) so that you enjoy the most reliable surveillance system for your home or business.
2. Perform wiring and installation
Whether you’re using analogue or digital CCTV cameras, some wiring is still required during the installation process.
For analogue CCTV cameras, each camera has to be wired to a digital video recorder (DVR) for the captured images to be converted into digital data and viewed through a monitor. This is done so using coaxial BNC cables, which consist of 2 cables within a covering: a power and video cable. Coaxial cables are thus bigger and stiffer, which can make the installation process more challenging, especially when having to run the cable through small spaces. On top of the coaxial cables connecting each camera to the DVR, each camera will also be wired to a power supply in order for the camera to be up and running, usually via 110VAC power.
With digital or internet protocol (IP) CCTV cameras, less wiring is required – though the system is not completely free from wiring. Instead of a DVR, digital camera systems use an NVR (network video recorder) that collects the digitally recorded data from the cameras to send to devices like phones, laptops, tablets – so that users can access the footage remotely. Unlike analogue cameras, each digital camera does not have to be connected to the NVR using cables. Rather, they will be tuned to the same wireless network to sync, send and receive data – largely cutting down the need for wiring.
Still, each digital camera has to be connected to a network using Ethernet cables, like Cat5E or Cat6. These cables are thinner than coaxial cables. Plus, they simultaneously power each CCTV camera – largely simplifying the wiring process.
Overall, digital CCTV cameras offer greater ease of installation and a lot more flexibility for adding more cameras (without having to wire each new camera to the main DVR). Be it digital or analogue, talk about your concerns and preferences with the licensed CCTV company to work out the best options for your home or business compound. Ultimately, you can leave it in the hands of your CCTV vendor to complete the installation process for you!
There are several ways you can view your captured CCTV footage, depending on where the footage has been stored: in the DVR (Digital Video Recorder), NVR (Network Video Recorder), SD (Secure Digital) card, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server or Cloud. We have talked about DVRs and NVRs in the previous section. As for SD card storage, CCTV cameras might have a MicroSD slot fitted with an SD card, serving as secondary storage for video captured. On the other hand, FTP servers facilitate file transfer over the internet, similar to Cloud storage.
To access footage stored in DVRs, NVRs, and SD cards, here’s what you need to do:
- When you buy the CCTV camera, it should come with security camera software, which is what you use to access your video footage. Simply launch the security camera software on your mobile phone, laptop or tablet and log in to your camera device.
- To watch the live video feed, click on the playback button and you will instantly see your video footage in real-time. NVR systems usually require you to select a specific CCTV camera channel in order to view the footage. Click on the channel, and there you have your live surveillance footage.
- To view past footage, simply select the specific date and time of the video you require. The software will pull up the footage recorded during that precise period, allowing you to easily navigate through the large amounts of stored footage.
To view footage stored in FTP servers or the Cloud, follow these steps:
- Your video footage will be stored in the FTP server or Cloud only if you are using an IP camera with cloud storage. When you buy the CCTV camera, it will already have been set up to the Cloud or FTP server. All you need to do is go to the Cloud service website and log into your account.
- Select the camera from which you want to view CCTV footage, and you will instantly be shown video footage in real-time. Should you want to view past footage, simply select the specific date and time. It’s that easy!
All in all
Consider the locations in your compound that should be monitored using CCTV cameras and decide on what CCTV camera is best for each location before installing the cameras. You also want to choose between analogue or digital cameras, depending on what you think is more convenient for you. To ensure that you get the best CCTV set up, we recommend that you don’t do all this on your own – rather, engage a licensed CCTV company to check your compound and provide you with trusted recommendations on camera, location and other accessories. Once you have worked out a plan for your surveillance system, they will help you complete the installation, then your cameras will be up and ready to go!
One Stop Office Solutions is a leading provider of CCTV surveillance systems in Singapore, having installed elaborate CCTV systems for esteemed government agencies and established multinational corporations in the country. We are dedicated to providing you with the best and safest CCTV solutions for your home or business. Get in touch with us!
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