IP CCTV: How Does it Work, and is it Worth Considering for Your Business?

Internet protocol CCTV, also known as IP CCTV or hosted CCTV, could be described as a sophisticated webcam. Flexible, simple to operate and cost-effective to install, there is a lot to like about this type of surveillance camera. But exactly how do IP CCTV systems work, what are the pros and cons, and what are the important things to consider during the purchasing process? Let’s take a look.


With so many different types of CCTV cameras to consider, it can be something of a challenge trying to decide which is best to protect your business premises. One of the main choices has to be wired CCTV versus wireless, internet-driven CCTV. On the one hand, wired surveillance cameras offer the benefit of not being at risk from unauthorised access, interference or bandwidth issues. However, they are generally a lot more expensive than their wireless counterparts, and a lot less flexible.


If you are looking for a CCTV system that is easy to install, doesn’t require permanent wiring and is financially accessible, but that delivers the high quality images in real time that you need to safeguard your premises, IP CCTV could be the right choice for you.


What is IP CCTV and how do IP CCTV systems work?


IP CCTV works by transforming recorded images into data, then transmitting that data either over a local area network (LAN) or the internet via ethernet or WiFi to the destination of your choice. This could be your PC, a smartphone, a tablet or your security suite.


The cameras on an IP CCTV network can triggered either by movement sensors, deployed manually or set to record continuously. A secure remote login gets you access to the cameras via any networked or internet enabled device, allowing you to view and record footage on demand. Some models will also allow you to control the cameras, allowing them to be used for surveillance. If you have a need to keep tabs on your premises remotely, from anywhere in the world, this could be the system for you.


What are the benefits of IP CCTV?


IP CCTV users can enjoy many benefits.


Because IP CCTV is networked, it is possible to integrate it with other security measures, such as access control and intruder alarms, allowing you a more sophisticated level of control over the safety of your premises.


You could, for example, on detecting an intruder, remotely trigger a lockdown event to prevent the intruder escaping, or getting any further into the building. It is also possible to configure an IP CCTV system to automatically send live footage to an Alarm Receiving Centre when an intruder alarm is triggered.


A further benefit of IP CCTV is that it makes it possible to view and record simultaneously from an unlimited set of cameras. You get to choose where the recordings are stored, which could either be on a hard drive, or using your cloud storage.


The wireless cameras on an IP CCTV system make everything flexible, allowing positioning anywhere, inside or out, as long as the cameras are in range of the receiver. This makes ad-hoc repositioning straightforward, and is ideal for locations where wiring just isn’t possible, such as heritage buildings. It also keeps the installation cost to a minimum.


You can use IP cameras both indoors and out, and there are day and night time options too.


What to consider when buying an IP CCTV system?


Whilst IP CCTV has its benefits, there are some important things to consider before you make the investment.


Wireless cameras do tend to be prone to interference or signal loss from time to time. Thick floors or walls, adverse weather conditions, nearby power sources and electrical equipment can all affect the feed, sometimes causing intermittent loss of footage, grainy recordings or lost streaming altogether. A lot of this depends on the quality of the system, but you will be hard pushed to find a system that offers 100 per cent uptime.


You should also bear in mind that, because IP CCTV works via an internet or network connection, it is at risk from unauthorised access. The same caution as you would apply when using any connected device must be exercised, and this includes good password habits.


The capabilities of your network will need to be considered when you are looking at installing a hosted CCTV system. Some will have a greater impact upon bandwidth than others. The more complex and sophisticated the camera, the more likely it will be to challenge your network resources. One solution may be to run a parallel network so that your CCTV has its own channel and doesn’t affect all the other devices that are reliant on the network.


It is vital that you call upon relevant, combined security and IT expertise to ensure the impact on your network is fully considered.


IP CCTV tailored for you, from PC Docs


Here at PC Docs, we offer an expert CCTV system design and installation service. Our experienced consultants combine both security and IT expertise to ensure any CCTV or other security system installed on your network delivers a streamlined experience, with no negative impact upon productivity.


If you’d like to discover whether IP CCTV is right for your business, and want to know more about how IP CCTV systems work, you are welcome to get in touch.

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