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January 16, 2019

Selecting a VideoMonitoring System for Your Small Business: Features to Consider

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As a small-business owner, you understand the value a video monitoring system can provide: it can help deter theft by customers, employees, and intruders, as well as arm you with surveillance footage to help with investigations if such crimes occur. These systems can also result in discounts from your insurance company, so they’re no doubt a must-have for any small business.

But today’s video surveillance systems offer so much more than the systems of the past. With features that go beyond security, they can help you to improve your business efficiency. They provide better image quality, more secure storage options, mobile notifications, insights, and more. Here are the features to consider when choosing a system that’s best for you.

Motion detection analytics

A video monitoring service can detect motion on your business property to alert you to unexpected activity. But did you know it could also provide analytics to help you improve business performance? Internet protocol (IP) systems like Comcast Business SmartOffice use advanced motion detection analytics to show you where and when the most physical activity occurs at your business. Identify peak activity days and times, and use that information to assess the following:

  • Staffing: Save money by decreasing staff at low-activity times and redirect it into additional staff at busier times to improve customer service.
  • Sales and promotions: Target the crowds or entice more people during slow times.
  • Layout: Maximize design and product placement within your store or business based on areas with the most traffic.

This information can be a game-changer if you’re not always in your store to experience firsthand the waves and lulls. And when you are there, you can keep your focus on running your business and rely on your video surveillance to give you data-driven insights.

IP functionality

Motion detection analytics is just one of the features available in IP video surveillance systems — they can do so much more. IP systems are an alternative to analog systems (also called closed-circuit television) and offer the following additional functionality:

  • Cloud storage: Recordings can be stored on a network video recorder or in the cloud. Video surveillance cloud storage increases the amount of video data businesses can save, and it makes it possible to recover footage even if onsite equipment is damaged.
  • Remote access: IP systems allow remote video monitoring access, meaning you can view footage remotely from any device — laptop, tablet, or phone. Busy business owners can keep an eye on their operations and buildings without being there in person.
  • Mobile alerts: Some IP systems also offer mobile phone notifications to business owners when they detect certain types of activity on the premises, such as motion after hours.
  • Scalability: IP systems tend to be more scalable, meaning it’s easier to add cameras once the system is already set up. This is, in part, because IP cameras can run on a single cable, while analog cameras require two.

Keep in mind that IP video requires significant bandwidth — particularly when multiple cameras are in place — so make sure that your Internet service can support them.

Image quality

One of the most important features of your surveillance camera system is the quality of the footage it captures. Here are the factors to consider:

  • Camera resolution: Higher resolution also allows you to zoom in with clarity. Standard resolution is 480p, high definition starts at 720p, and full high definition is 1080p. If your surveillance needs include facial recognition or other identification of detailed information, like license plates, you’ll want high-definition cameras.
  • Field of view: The wider the camera angle, the more area covered. Wide views could decrease the number of cameras you need. Keep in mind, though, that wider views could result in lower image clarity.
  • Night vision: Do you need to ensure high-quality images at night? If so, look for cameras with infrared technology.
  • Indoor/outdoor: It’s a good idea to protect both the interior and exterior of your business location. Look for models designed to stand up to the elements.
  • Camera placement: Think about where you need video surveillance. Do you want to monitor all entrances? Checkout lines? The entire building? Parking areas? Determine how your budget aligns with the number of cameras you want and consider whether you want the cameras to be unobtrusive or have high visibility to deter crime.

When it comes to surveillance camera installation, consult a professional. Not only will it save you time, but you’ll also get expertise on camera placement, equipment operations, and making the most efficient use of your network bandwidth. See how Comcast Business can help you set up a monitoring system that works for your company.