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How to deploy IP cameras in your small business

Paul Mah | Aug. 20, 2013
Deterring would-be criminals and resolving disputes rank among the benefits derived from setting up IP cameras to keep an eye on your business. Here are some guidelines and recommendations on what to look for in a network camera solution.

For an on-site deployment, you'll need to consider the amount of storage required. For cloud-based storage, you'll need to know the average bitrate consumed by each IP camera-and whether you have sufficient Internet bandwidth to support that. In either case, give yourself some time for hands-on user training on accessing and extracting recorded footage.

As noted, storage and bandwidth requirements depend on various factors-video resolution, frame rate, compression algorithm used, video quality and the number of IP cameras deployed. While it's not always easy to determine the amount of storage space required for a specific deployment, ACTi's online storage calculator can generate estimates for planning purposes.

Managing Storage: Lower Frame Rate, Consider Motion Detection
As mentioned, storage space is a fairly important consideration for organizations deploying IP cameras. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies for reducing video storage and bandwidth requirements.

In locations where the period of exposure is large, such as a long hallway, lowering the frame rate can be particularly effective. Reducing the quality of video images can work, too-but this comes with the attendant risk that resulting video resolution may not be high enough to make out important details.

Finally, you can set the IP camera to record only when motion is detected. To reduce false alarms, some cameras offer the ability to monitor only a specific part of the screen for motion.

IP Camera Option No. 1: Logitech Alert Security System
Having outlined the specifications you should keep in mind as you consider an IP camera setup for your small business, it's time now to look at a trio of popular products.

The Logitech Alert Security System lets homes and small businesses assemble a complete system with real-time monitoring from a local PC, the Logitech Alert Web portal or from a mobile app. Video is saved on a microSD memory card that's installed at each network camera, though you can keep the Logitech Alert Commander app running to automatically back up camera video onto your computer.

The Logitech Alert security system lets you see what your cameras see, in real time.

Setup is straightforward. Purchase a "Master" system and up to five add-on cameras, plug in the IP cameras and use the Logitech Alert Commander app to detect and configure them. All cameras offer a 130-degree, wide-angle lens and 960 x 720 resolution; they can be hooked directly to a standard PoE network switch if desired.

For its elegance, the Logitech Alert Security system isn't cheap: An Indoor Master system costs $299.99, while an indoor Add-On camera is priced at $229.99 (with night vision) and $199.99 (without). Annual subscriptions to the Logitech Alert Web and Mobile Commander service are $79.99; these let you watch recorded clips and change camera settings directly from a smartphone.


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