Why SMEs should choose quality over price

Video surveillance is critical to increase visible security and create deterrents for potential perpetrators. However, a focus on cost savings in this area alleviates potential benefits in the prosecution of shoplifters. Most CCTV cameras are ceiling-mounted, making it easy for perpetrators to disguise their faces and resolution often isn’t sufficient for facial recognition. The deterrent from cameras is limited as criminals know that their chances of actually being identified are often slim.

Technology has improved at a rapid pace and new solutions allow for far more efficient video surveillance. There is a clear move towards quality products and one of the most important developments in this sector is the introduction of Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology.

Quality cameras provide quality images

WDR technology enables cameras to handle complex scenes with high contrasts when sunlight creates both very bright zones as well as very dark shadow areas. This challenge is commonly faced when monitoring glass front entrances of retail stores. With WDR technology, cameras can provide homogeneous images without too dark or too bright zones. This allows for identification of shoplifters and criminals no matter if they are in a very bright or very dark zone of the camera's field of view.

Image caption: Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology allows for clear identification of people when monitoring glass front entrances of retail stores

Image source: http://www.axis.com/ng/en/technologies/wide-dynamic-range (need to request from MarCom helpdesk)

The concept of mounting cameras is changing as well. Previously ceiling-mounted cameras are now placed more strategically and are increasingly moved to eye-level. There are also camera models available now that are mounted inside a pole, facing upwards and therefore enabling excellent facial recognition.

Smart cameras sense when they are fooled

With criminals becoming smarter, spying out and preparing the scene, the tamper alarm feature in new cameras proves to be a helpful tool. This intelligent software feature can detect a sudden scene change and identifies if the camera has been moved, taken out of focus or covered with a sticker or a plastic bag, for example. The system then triggers an alarm and alerts the store owner.

SMB retailers need to consider that the money that is saved on CCTV will eventually be spent exponentially on losses incurred. A typical baseline system for SMB retailers should consist of network cameras, SD cards, video management software and mobile viewing applications. Network cameras are smart devices. Small installations of up to 10 network cameras can be laid out very cost-efficiently by storing video footage and running video management software on the cameras themselves, no longer requiring a dedicated storage device and a dedicated desktop PC to manage the system day-to-day.

CCTV should always be set up in strategic locations and cover blind spots, cash tills, parking lots, as well as entrances and exits. Often, all customer traffic is led past a certain point to ensure everyone entering and exiting the store is identifiable on video surveillance footage.

Authored by Sudhindra Holla, Country Manager – Axis Communications, India & SAARC