Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying a Security Camera System
Updated: Mar 22
Purchasing a security camera system is an important decision to make to protect your home and is becoming increasingly more common for Australian households.
While criminal activity across Sydney has been on the decline since 2000, there has been a steady demand for security systems from the business and residential markets over subsequent years.
In 2020, it was reported that the number of CCTV cameras in Australia has doubled in the past decade. The figure is estimated to be about 1 million, with about 300,000 of those in NSW. Over the next four years, the state government plans to increase the number of CCTVs in Parramatta, Liverpool and Camden by 1000 (Source: Sydney Morning Herald).
We constantly see people making the wrong decisions when it comes to purchasing and installing security cameras, mostly because they don't know what to look for.
We felt obligated to do something about it so YOU can make sure to have the upper hand when investing in security.
Here are the top five most common mistakes people make when buying a security camera or alarm system:
Mistake #1: Wi-Fi, or a wireless security camera
Now, just in summary, between wireless, and Wi-Fi, and wired security cameras, a wired security camera is always a lot more reliable, and they maintain a longer lifetime. Wi-Fi and wireless security cameras are usually purchased in terms of convenience.
There are a few types of wireless security cameras. The first type is a powered wireless security camera. It actually needs to be plugged into a powerpoint. It sort of defeats the purpose of having a wireless security camera, because it still needs power, and power is run via cable.
So, instead of running a powerpoint out for that wireless security camera to be powered up with, you might as well just do it properly, and run a data cable, and get the whole camera system installed properly.
Another type of wireless security camera is a battery-operated security camera, and these ones are pretty dangerous because they just get screwed in.
They have a few weeks, or about a month or two lifetime before you have to replace the battery. But they're dangerous because anyone can literally come up, grab it, run off with it, and that's it. There's no real main safety element to it, and it, of course, defeats the purpose of acting as a security device.
Solar security cameras are starting to become a lot more popular. I understand in certain situations, in rural properties, where it's more cost-efficient (instead of running cabling), just to have a solar-powered security camera. But you need to take into consideration that these are powered up from the sun's energy. So, when it's cloudy, or when the sun is down, you're not going to have an effectively-running system.
All in all, wired security cameras are the way to go.
Mistake #2: Purchasing outdated security cameras
Purchasing outdated security cameras, although they might be cheap from the market or online, don't fall into that trap because you want a security camera to make sure it has a long life-time and it's doing its job properly.
An outdated security camera is something that runs off an analogue type of system. An analogue type of system is the old way of operating a security system or cameras, having them energised and downloading the footage through the old type of cabling.
It would usually be operating off a coax cable, which is what our antenna-looking cables are, the black RG6 cables. That's where the video footage is actually transferred through and a figure-eight cable, which looks like a speaker cable. That's where the unit, the security camera, is actually powered up from.
These cables don't have to be run out for our security cameras nowadays. Our security cameras right now are actually IP security cameras. A sneaky thing some companies out there do when they're advertising their boxes of the IP cameras, they're not actually IP cameras, they're actually writing on the box that they are IP cameras but it'll be an analogue setup. The way they go about doing this is because it's actually an IP-rated camera, which means it's rated in terms of weatherproofing.
Just a small pointer of what an IP camera should look like, it would have a small data point or an ethernet point taken to the camera. So all it means is one cable needs to be run out per camera and it's actually a Cat5 or a Cat6 data cable, which is exactly what an ethernet cable is that ties into your router.
It brings a whole lot of reliability to the overall camera system. So when choosing your camera system for your home, you want to make sure you're choosing the right one.
You want to go for an IP camera system.
Mistake #3: Not choosing a vandal-proof camera
Make sure your security camera system is vandal proof. Two good scenarios come to mind around this topic.
I remember a post a few months ago on our local community pages on Facebook, where a person threw up a video recording of an intruder coming to their property. And that intruder actually grabbed the camera that was installed on a low mounted eve.
He was able to grab it, he ripped it off, and threw it on the ground and stomped on it. The intruder crushed the camera into pieces and it's obviously built up a lot of fear in the community when that post was thrown onto the community page.
Obviously, that's not a vandal-proof security camera.
Another good example that comes to mind is, I remember seeing another post on another Facebook community page. This particular person showed the recording of when an intruder came into their property and the intruder saw the camera that was installed and attacked it with a baseball bat, under the impression that it actually damaged the camera from the inside so it wouldn't record what he was doing. The intruder then followed through to break into the house and attack the person's property.
The whole time the intruder was under the impression that this camera was damaged and was not recording, because he started belting it with the baseball bat. But the whole time the camera was actually recording everything and it was able to capture who that person was and the police were able to identify him after.
This obviously is the difference between a vandal-proof and a non-vandal-proof security camera. A vandal-proof security camera is engineered with a hard metal casing around the optical and mechanical lens on the inside.
So it just means it gives you peace of mind when having a security system installed, and it provides a longer lifetime guarantee of the protection of your home and your family's safety.
Mistake #4: Assuming that all security cameras do the same thing
A lot of people assume that all security cameras do the same thing. Of course, their primal role is to record footage when an incident occurs or just keep a protective eye over a person's property or a certain area.
But in today's day and age, there is obviously heightened levels of technology out there. A few core functionalities that security cameras nowadays can do, certain brands is tripwires zones, exclusion zones, facial recognition and facial detection.
Tripwires are actually pretty cool. They're usually used when a family goes away on holidays or a house is unattended and the person can actually set up a virtual line drawn on the system and if that line, that virtual line gets triggered by an intruder, a push notification straight away will be sent to the user's phone or an email can be set up to be sent straight away.
An exclusion zone works very much the same way. Let's say you have your car parked in your front driveway, you can draw a virtual box around your car and if anyone was to trigger or break that virtual box it will send a push notification or alert the customer's phone straight away.
Facial detection and facial recognition are two separate things. Facial recognition is more used for commercial use not really used in residential properties and not every camera system out there is compatible with it.
Facial detection only picks up a person's face and can see in the system when a face is actually being picked up. The difference between that and facial recognition is facial recognition can actually do something about it.
If someone was escorted off a commercial property or out of the office, or someone was caught shoplifting, it can alert the user's phone if that particular face shows up and gets recognised by the system.
A lot of the camera systems have different types of functionalities out there that you can leverage off, but just keep in mind don't assume that every camera system is the same.
Mistake #5: Not doing your own research
Mistake number five people usually make is not doing their own research.
And as obvious as it sounds, a way people decide to do their research is just by asking their friends or their colleagues, whatever camera systems they have installed for their house.
Now it could be convenient for the person, but everyone's situation is different. What might be good for a person might not tick other boxes for someone else.
And what might last for a particular person may not last for someone else depending on the situations, the environment, and just the technology for that brand.
Of course, doing your own research doesn't mean clicking on the websites of particular brands, and seeing how much they talk up their own product – that's a given.
Go onto forums, go onto community pages, search on Google, and just research what that product is about, and what are the pros and cons of purchasing that system.
Three things to look for:
Warranty periods usually camera's systems will have about a year or a two-year warranty. A good reliable camera system we'll have a three or four year plus warranty.
Of course, a warranty is a big thing because you wanna make sure that the system that you're purchasing, and you're investing your home security in, is going to last you, and it's not going to give you issues.
A good point to bring up with the security installer is what their warranty is. If they're installing these systems for your house, are they going to back that warranty with the products that they're using? Do they have faith, and do they trust the products that they're is using?
What do the reviews say?
Another good point to pick out when researching are the customer reviews of the installer and the product. As we mentioned before, there are pros and cons of each product and what their specs are like comparing to each other.
According to ASIAL’s Security Licensing Report 2020, Australia now has almost 150,000 individual security licence holders and over 11,000 security firm/ Master Licence holders.
With so many accredited installers it can be hard to decide who to choose and invest your trust in to protect your home. Do your research and look at reviews posted on Google, Facebook, or ask your community for recommendations.
You want to get a reliable product AND have it installed correctly by a certified electrician.
Is it user-friendly?
Another point people should take into consideration when doing their research is how user-friendly the system is.
Whether you're a tech nerd, or you're a geek, or you're a middle-aged mum watching "Housewives of Beverly Hills", you want to make sure that the system you're operating works on your phone, and works easily. You want to be able to navigate through it efficiently without it being a challenge.
To recap: warranty periods, reviews, and how user friendly it is.
Choose a wired security camera.
Don't purchase outdated technology.
Ensure that the security camera is vandal-proof and durable.
Look into the features of the system and determine what your needs are.
Research warranty periods, reviews, and user-friendliness.
If you have any questions regarding security camera installations, or just questions around existing security cameras you might have installed, make sure to reach out to us via our website, Facebook, or Instagram. Thanks for reading!