How to Choose a Video Surveillance System in 2017

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1. Define objective. What do you want to see, in what level of detail, and how far away? How many megapixels and what focal lengths are required to achieve viewing objectives? Are objects moving? If so, what size are they with respect to the field of view, and how fast are they moving? How many cameras will be on the system? (Most recorders or VMSes support a maximum number of cameras.) Will more cameras be added in the future? Are there multiple locations, and if so does the corporate headquarters want administrative control of each location? If so, would there be a network admin who would want to apply modifications to each location’s server in bulk using Federated Architecture (Milestone XProtect Expert or Corporate)? Will the system be recording on a schedule, continuously, on motion detection, or both?


2. System design. How many clients will be viewing the cameras simultaneously, and from inside or outside the network? (If a lot of clients viewing multiple cameras at a time on a Milestone Expert or Corporate system, a separate Mobile Server should be used.) Are clients PCs or Macs? Are mobile clients Android, iOS, or any others? How many users are there? If there are a lot of users, would it be more ideal to to use Active Directory to manage all the users and their permissions? Is the network LAN/WAN bandwidth sufficient to support all the remote clients? Will any cameras be connected via wireless LAN or wireless bridge? Is there a need for any monitors to be displayed for viewing purposes, and if so how many cameras per monitor, and are any controls needed or is the monitor just for viewing? Should the server hardware include multiple points of redundancy, e.g. power supply, RAID storage, multiple video cards? Should a RAID10 live database be used to maximize performance? For how long should footage be retained, and should certain cameras retain longer than others? Should the frame rate be reduced for long-term retention, e.g. “grooming“in Milestone XProtect? Will there be a need for any add-on products to be integrated into the surveillance system such as access control, LPR (license plate recognition), POS text overlay (for POS machines or cash registers), and would there need to be a searchable database for the add-ons? (For example flagging a vehicle license plate of a discharged employee who tries to enter the parking lot will send the proper notifications to Security, who will then diffuse the situation before it gets out of hand.) There should be a camera list in most deployments identifying the camera’s location, type of camera, and special features required, IP address of each device (if network-based), installation height, and if any mounting accessories or lenses should be included.


3. Existing infrastructure. Are there any existing cables, recorders, cameras, or Wi-Fi access points? Does any part of the existing equipment need to be integrated into the new system? Are any of the existing cameras going to be upgraded? Are the cables in good enough condition to re-use, either for new cameras or for caryring network data to a PoE switch to which numerous cameras will be attached? Will the existing cables support the resolution needed to accomplish the objective for each new camera? Are there any existing client computers or laptops? Are there PCs or Macs, and are they powerful enough to run multiple HD camera streams with controls? If there is an existing PC-based server, is it powerful enough to run a VMS (video management server)?


4. Network and technical knowledge. Is there going to be any network administrator on-site or for deployment and maintenance purposes? Will the camera network be on the same as the main network, and if so what is the network capacity of the switch and workstations? Will there be a separate switch for cameras (requires at least dual NIC on the server–one NIC for the camera network and one for the main network). Is it desired to have network cameras and recorders pre-configured so that they are plug-and-play once the equipment is received?


5. Budget.  Recurring maintenance costs of software to keep software current, e.g. Milestone XProtect. If existing infrastructure is in place, and/or if the client wants an easily deployed plug-and-play system with with little maintenance and administration, better to go with a non-PC based standalone Hybrid/Tribrid or multi-function DVR. Will the equipment be purchased all at once or over time?


For additional information or for a free consultation, please contact us at, or start a web chat, or call us toll-free at 1-877-DEALS-79 (1-877-332-5779) x1 M-F between 9am to 6pm PST.

January 9, 2017

Posted In: Video Surveillance

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