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Security System Guide

Do You Need A Security System?

Do you need a security system? You may have asked yourself this very question. Many people wonder how important a security system is and whether they need one. Several factors come into play when answering this question.

Department stores, shops and larger offices benefit the most from a security system, especially a video surveillance system. These types of businesses have people entering and exiting the facility on a daily/hourly basis. Because there are so many people involved, it is hard to keep tabs on what's going on.

Proper security is critical in helping operations run smoothly and keeping buildings safe. Proper surveillance acts as a deterrent and can help answer many questions when a theft or break-in occurs. Having a video surveillance system allows you to keep tabs on what's going on.

Video surveillance systems can also save businesses money by streamlining security. Hiring enough security guards to keep tabs on merchandise and people can be expensive. Security systems make it possible to do the job of several security officers, all from one location. This saves you money in personnel costs.

Surveillance systems are also growing in popularity with homes and residential neighborhoods. Setting up a security system in a home is easy. Because you are not home all day, it can be difficult to keep an eye on your house. A camera can help do this for you. Our customers also use security cameras to keep an eye on children, babysitters, nannies and other household employees. This helps give you peace of mind.

Camera systems can be as simple or complex as you need them to be. Unfortunately, effective surveillance and camera systems can often be expensive and price prohibitive. ABC Office 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

Things to consider before purchasing a security system.

What should I take into consideration when purchasing a video surveillance system?
First take into consideration how many rooms you will need to monitor. You will also need to determine if you will need cameras inside or out and if they need to be able to record during the day, night or both. You will also need to determine how easy or difficult it will be to run wire through your building. In buildings with drop ceilings, it is very easy to run wire from one room to another. If you are not comfortable with running wire from a camera to a recording device, wireless systems are also available.

What type of camera should I use?
For basic home surveillance, box packages are available that include everything needed to set everything up. If you want to customize your surveillance setup, there are a wide variety of cameras to choose from. Outdoor cameras are designed to withstand the elements. Some cameras are tiny and designed to be discrete and unseen. Dome cameras are designed to intimidate and prevent theft by making it difficult to tell if the camera is pointed at you. Some cameras have interchangeable lenses for different situations. You can see what types of cameras can be used in a surveillance system by going here:

What are the different types of surveillance systems?
Surveillance systems can be as simple or complex as you need them to be. The most basic camera system is installing a single camera and having the line lead directly to a VCR for recording. If you are installing more than one camera, you will need what is known as a switcher, quad or multiplexer. A switcher will allow you to switch between cameras. You can only see one camera at a time. A quad will take four cameras and display them on a monitor in a split screen view. Multiplexers are available in a variety of styles, allowing you to use several cameras.

Security System Index | Back to Top

What are the different types of Security Equipment?

Emergency Lighting
Emergency lighting is designed to kick in when the power is off. In a department store, lighting deters people from stealing merchandise. In a complete blackout, lighting can maintain a secure environment.

Emergency lighting is also ideal for businesses by making the environment safe. Many businesses go completely dark when the power goes out. Emergency lighting can help people see where they are walking and prevent injuries.

Emergency Lighting Index | Back to Top

Multiplexers, Quads and Switchers
Multiplexers, quads and switchers are all similar in function. They act as a central point where multiple cameras are connected. A quad allows you to see four cameras at once on a single monitor. Switchers change from one camera to another on a preset timed basis. Multiplexers can allow multiple cameras to be displayed and recorded at once. Some multiplexers can handle dozens of cameras at a time. These devices are ideal for businesses and other buildings where multiple cameras will be used.

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

Time-Lapse VCRs & DVR Systems
Time-lapse VCRs are designed to take multiple feeds from multiple cameras, typically channeled through a multiplexer, and record them. A time-lapse VCR can record dozens of hours of video on one tape. Some newer systems use a hard drive, much like a digital video recorder (DVR) for TV, to digitally record video. The digitally recorded video can later be exported to multiple formats. The new DVR systems usually have built-in multiplexers.

Time Lapse & Digital Video Recording Index | Back to Top

Computer Security Systems
We sell a four-channel video surveillance capture card that can be installed in a computer. This card takes the video from cameras and records it directly to the hard drive. This video can later be exported to multiple formats and be viewed as needed.

Video Surveillance Capture Card | Back to Top

Boxed Systems
Boxed camera systems are designed to be 100 percent compatible and be as easy as hooking up a few wires. Boxed systems are perfect for businesses and homes that do not want to spend a lot of time finding different cameras and surveillance components. Boxed systems usually take the most popular features used in surveillance and incorporate them into a universal package.

Security Camera Systems | Back to Top

Cameras are available in a variety of shapes and sizes for a variety of different tasks and functions. We will go into more detail regarding different camera styles later in this guide.

Cameras are one of the primary components in a video surveillance system. Cameras are available in either color or black & white video. Which you choose depends on your preferences. Black & white is usually less expensive, but color gives you more detail. Some cameras are also available with night vision abilities, for low-light situations.

Security Cameras Index | Back to Top

Motion Detectors
Motion detectors are designed to pick up movement and alert you or authorities to a possible intruder. Some motion detectors are wired into a larger security net, while others are stand-alone units hooked to an audible alarm. Motion detectors can be used by themselves or be integrated into a larger video surveillance system.

Security Alarms | Back to Top

Sensor Alarms
Sensor-style alarms are growing in popularity, due in part to their cost and simple installation. These alarms create a high-pitched noise if the magnetic seal is broken. A magnet is usually placed next to a larger alarm system. When the magnet is taken away from the alarm, it sounds. These are typically used on doors, windows, cupboards and other points of entry. Some of these alarms are activated by tremors rather than a broken magnetic connection. An example of this would be a door-stop alarm. Door-stop alarms sound when the stop feels the door opening.

Security Alarms | Back to Top

What are the different types of surveillance cameras?

Professional Cameras
Professional cameras are designed for use in larger businesses and buildings where higher-resolution images are needed. Professional cameras are available in both wired and wireless designs. These cameras are top-of-the line and are designed for long-term use.

Professional Cameras | Back to Top

Dome Cameras
Dome cameras are designed to both record video and intimidate. Dome cameras are especially ideal for use in grocery stores and other buildings where a large area of space needs to be viewed, but hundreds of cameras are not an option. Because these cameras have a dome over them, it is difficult to see where the camera is pointed. This causes would-be thieves to drop plans for shoplifting due to both intimidation and not knowing where there may be a hole in the security net. Other dome cameras are designed simply to look professional and add to the existing ambiance.

Dome Cameras | Back to Top

Different situations and locations may require a camera to use a different style of lens. Some lenses are designed for tight spaces, while others are designed to view a large area.

Camera Lenses Index | Back to Top

Bullet Cameras
Bullet cameras are one of the most popular cameras on the market. These cameras are small, compact and inconspicuous. Because they take up little space, they can be placed almost anywhere. They are popular for covert surveillance. Bullet cameras are available in both color and black & white models.

Finger / Bullet Cameras | Back to Top

Wireless Cameras
Wireless cameras are typically used in locations where a normal "wired" camera cannot be installed. They transmit video wirelessly to a receiver located somewhere in the building. The advantage of a wireless camera is they can be placed almost anywhere. The disadvantage is the signal can be broken up if the camera is too far away or is blocked by a lot of solid matter.

Professional Security Cameras | Back to Top

Mini Cameras
Mini cameras, often referred to as coin cameras, are some of the smallest and most compact cameras on the market. Many are as small as a quarter. They are perfect for covert surveillance and can be placed almost anywhere due to their size.

Mini Cameras | Back to Top

Specialty Cameras
Specialty video cameras are typically not used for surveillance. They are usually designed to assist professionals with different types of work. We sell both a microscope and a telescope camera.

Specialty Cameras | Back to Top

Security Accessories

Mounting Brackets
Mounting brackets are designed to make it easy to attach a camera to a variety of surfaces.

Camera Mounting Brackets | Back to Top

Camera Housing
Camera housing helps protect cameras from the elements and other contaminants that could damage a camera. They are typically used outdoors, but can be used indoors for added protection.

Camera Housing | Back to Top

Shoplifting Prevention Systems
Shoplifting prevention systems use a series of gates and tags to prevent thieves from removing unpaid products from stores. You can read more about shoplifting prevention systems by reading our shoplifting prevention guide.

Shoplifting Prevention Systems and Accessories | Back to Top

Photo ID
There is no easier way to increase your employee's security and decrease your organization's vulnerability to loss than by issuing photo ID cards.

Digital card printers make photo identification easy and are now something any computer literate person can use. Thanks to increasing popularity and use, supplies are more cost effective and will run you less than the older Polaroid-style composite photo ID cameras. With a complex and increasingly dangerous world, a digital card printer is a necessity for both security and safety.

Polaroid cameras used to be the norm for photo ID. A picture was taken, removed from the camera and about 60 seconds to two minutes after the picture was developed it was cut to size. The photograph was then later attached to a pre-printed template, where it was later laminated and punched for use with a lanyard or badge holder. Although Polaroid photo ID systems are decreasing in popularity, they still have their place with low-volume photo ID production and small businesses.

The newer digital card printers use a process called die sublimation, where the color ribbon uses several different colored panels to create a full-color image. The quality of the image is as good and in many cases better than the older Polaroid-style composite ID systems. Most of these ribbons can create around 100 ID cards before being changed. Although the digital printer may seem like a large investment up front, the cost to operate it, purchase blank PVC cards and ribbons actually saves you money over the long run in comparison to the composite systems.

Photo ID Equipment and Supplies | Back to Top

Counterfeit Detectors
Counterfeit detectors save you money by letting you know when bills and other currency are counterfeit. They use UV light, magnetic detectors, ink and other measures to verify a bill's authenticity. You can read more about counterfeit detectors by reading our money handling guide.

Counterfeit Detectors Index | Back to Top

Metal Detectors
Metal detectors help keep businesses and other organizations safe by alerting you to personnel and other people who may be carrying a weapon. Metal detectors are a must-have item for any security guard.

Metal Detectors | Back to Top

Security Equipment Index | Back to Top

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