We have been looking into getting CCTV for a while now and the SMT finally want to go ahead with it.
Does anyone have any useful tips on what kind of system/cameras we should go for? And any hidden/unexpected costs?
I have got 4 quotes so far. I don't know how many cameras we will need as it is quite an open site, so I asked the people quoting to give me their recommendations.
Here are the basics of the quotes
Link CCTV: 21 cameras (Axis) @ Â£35 750
CSE: 20 cameras (Axis & Mobotix) @ Â£16 838
MISCO: 5 cameras @ Â£15 071
IC2: 15 camera's (Panasonic) @ Â£21 990
In reality we only want to start with the recording system and about 5 cameras but we may want to build on it at a later date.
One thing that confused my opinion was whether to go for camera's on our LAN or a dedicated network. The IC2 people use a special recording system that can only connect 16 cameras, if you want more you have to buy another one.
I am having a meeting on Thursday (28th Sept 2006) with SMT to make a final decision on what cameras we want so any input would be really useful
One thing that confused my opinion was whether to go for camera's on our LAN or a dedicated network
If you can avoid it, don't put them on the network unless your using VLAN's. It might be the cheapest options to set up VLAN's - this way management can pay for a network upgrade on the back of the security cameras.
Solwise do a range of IP cameras if you need a comparison, www.solwise.co.uk and a server can be set up pretty cheaply with minimal hardware http://www.zoneminder.com/
I'm sure you could set it all up for way less than the quotes you have - and pocket the difference for your network
Ok where to start! You first of all need to decide what type of system you want IP based or Digital (on its own infrastructure recording to a Digital recorder) both have there advantages - IP easily manageable in-house would even recommend installing these in-house save on installation prices - if you are wanting to record an IP based system you will need to also purchase/acquire a dedicated server with at least a 250GB hard Disk and 2GB RAM and I would recommend a piece of software called Milestone XProtect. You will need to also check cameras are compatible with the software, lists are available online. I would personally recommend the Panasonic BL family of cameras.
Digital/Analogue systems are great if you don't want a load of IP cameras sitting on your LAN or there are no existing CAT5 runs in your area requiring coverage, or you are looking predominantly at external cams, we have a hybrid system all our external cams are analogue based Panasonic cams which uplink into AXIS servers to link into our IP recorder this offers full guard tour and PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) functionality if you were going just for a digital based system you would more than definitely require a digital recorder and a PTZ controller (providing you have PTZ cams!)
My personal view on CCTV companies is that one should be very wary â€“ to many cowboys (Particularly one company by the name of Crime Prevention) if you are just looking at installing a small IP based system I would look at doing this yourself IP cams are designed for easy install as opposed to Analogue cam with there dip switches and RS485 settings.
If you were looking at installing your self I would probably be able to point you in the right direction of a supplier.
Hope this helps.
@Plexer: They have all done a site survey
@Paul: Thanks for the info. I think I prefer the idea of an IP based system because if we want to add a camera after the initial batch it should be relatively simple.
Digital/Analogue systems are great if ... there are no existing CAT5 runs in your area requiring coverage
Presumably you would need to run cables to the analogue cams so how is that different to running new Cat5e?
I would recommend a piece of software called Milestone XProtect.
I would personally recommend the Panasonic BL family of cameras.
I second both Paul's recommendations
Panasonic cameras are avaliable for just over Â£100 each, sometimes you can even find them buy-one-get-one.
Milestone Xprotect licences work out at around Â£100/camera. A demo version is avaliable for download at www.milestonesys.com
So, for 20 cameras as per your largest quote, you'll be looking at around
(software) 100 * 20 = 2k
(cameras) 120 * 20 = 2.4k
server for storage (big disks) = 1k approx.
Overall around 5-6K if you do it yourself.
Admittedly you may wish to buy some more expensive cameras for external use, but the BL-C10's are fine for classroom/corridor.
The major advantage of ip cameras is if you want to check on a classroom from your desk, you can just chuck the camera IP in your browser and nose around from there.
I had a quote recently for Milestone as I saw a demo of it at the Cisco Academy roadshow and it's fantacstic software.
They quoted me Â£839 for a four camera licenced copy of Milestone 4 camera Professional it can be upgraded to up to 50 cameras with extra camera licences the Basis+ product is Â£356 for a 4 camera version.
The mobotix cameras look good for external use and I was considering the Panasonics for indoor.
As has allready been mentioned have a look at zoneminder for the server side of things.
Our CCTV system is separate to our network and was installed before our time. All cameras are linked to a "server" (running Octar software full-screen over a Windows 2000 desktop) via coaxial cable and plug in to BNC connectors on PCI cards.
I went with a company called astro communications after seeing them at Bett 2006. I would highly recommend them. We went with the geovision software which i highly recommend. very simple to use for SMT and other people who need access to it. can be used outside of school as long as you have VPN connectivity. we paid Â£18,000 for 16 cameras and to revamp our existing cameras to a new server. At the moment we can store up to 4 weeks of data. I would recommend this company. They are based in London.
We used CSE for our installation of 41 IP cameras, some of which were Axis, others which were Sirrus. (We have been their main case study for CCTV) We worked closely with CSE to get them to use some decent software, as they were offering a very limited package by Sirrus at the time. They eventually came up with DiscoverE which I don't think is as well written as Milestone, but offers the same features for a lot less cost.
I found CSE to be very flexible, the lads who installed the system were good, neat and efficient. I would highly recommend them - the good thing about IP networks is that you can sorce all the cameras / equipment yourslef and see whether the company are ripping you off.
Whoever installs the system whether it is you or someone else will have to cable up to each camera, so it's not too much of a problem to wack in a few Switches and keep them seperate from your data network. Make sure you use POE as this will save you a lot of extra cabling. However, don't use individual POE convertors like CSE did with us. We had to have a seperate power socket for each camera at the switch locations. This is a pain and generates a lot of heat. You can get POE switches with it all built in - just make sure they are giving out the correct voltage.
The only other thing to consider is the positioning of your cameras. Correct positioning will contribute more to the image quality than will the quality of the camera itself. Lighting will have the most effect on image quality. Too much or too little light could render the image beyond recognition. Don't expect to identify faces or incidents from far off unless you have a PTZ. We didn't go for a PTZ outside because we wanted to cover the whole grounds / car park constantly, but a PTZ is handy for those 'As you need a close up' moments where something is going on and you want to take control and zoom in.
Hope this is useful information. If you have any questions feel free to ask.