Home security cameras are wildly en vogue, and for good reason. At one time prohibitively expensive, advancements in technology have opened up high quality, affordable cameras to the average homeowner. Almost overnight, a wide variety of “standalone” or “do-it-yourself (DIY)” cameras have flooded the market with the intention of capturing the attention of homeowners looking to protect what matters most.
Unfortunately, these “cheap” options often offer cheap protection. A camera that lets you check in on your kitchen from a smartphone app can be invaluable, but there are limitations to this kind of approach:
Most of these cameras aren’t particularly robust when it comes to features, which can prevent the capture of important footage.
Most of these cameras have limited mounting or coverage options, leaving blind spots for homeowners wanting comprehensive coverage.
Most of these cameras require a WiFi signal to function, limiting the maximum distance a camera can be placed from your router. They also strain your internet bandwidth.
Most of these cameras have middling video storage options, limiting the homeowner’s ability to recall footage of an event from “X” days ago.
Every home has something or someone worth protecting, but for those with workshops, storage sheds, poll barns, home offices, or collections of valuable goods, a minimum approach to surveillance can prove costly in the event of a break-in, vandalism, or other malicious event. Luckily, commercial-grade, comprehensive surveillance systems for homes are within reach and can provide essential video coverage of the people, places, and things you can’t afford to lose.
Affordable “check-in-on-the house” cameras have become popular options because many tie into overarching smart home infrastructures. For instance, the EPS Security Total Connect® platform supports home security devices, smart home add-ons such as light switches and door locks, and Honeywell Home® Total Connect® cameras. These HD cameras can be viewed live from the Total Connect application or record and store brief clips of the surveilled area whenever significant motion is detected.
These cameras are perfect for those who want to take a peek at their pets throughout the day or check the house while on vacation. However, so-called “DIY” cameras that are often marketed to homeowners are not as advanced or versatile as a full-fledged surveillance solution. Someone installing cheap “DIY” cameras in their home would quickly discover the limitations of such options. For one, someone looking to keep an eye on their extensive property would find themselves hindered by lower quality cameras with limited range. Additionally, many “affordable” DIY or smart home cameras don’t come with features that often come standard on full-fledged surveillance cameras, including:
Remote zoom and focus
IR capabilities for better night vision
Wide dynamic range for better imaging in extreme light and darkness
For homeowners protecting a storage shed, barn, workshop, or studio (and the valuables inside), a “clip capture” setup isn’t going to cut it, especially when the sun goes down. Even in the sunlight, certain models of surveillance cameras simply capture better images. Crystal-clear images can be captured by cameras with resolutions far higher than the 1080p HD standard including 5MP options, 10MP, and beyond—though you’re apt to spend more money in exchange for the incredible quality of your video.
Common DIY home camera options include tabletop or wall-mounted “bullet” style cameras. These cameras are less a means to protect your home and more a way to stay connected to it. For someone desiring a more top-to-bottom layer of protection, surveillance systems provide far more versatility in what kinds of cameras are available. While many of the more “niche” cameras such as pinhole or explosion-proof cameras are more often seen in commercial settings, models such as dome cameras, bullet cameras, or even pan-tilt-zoom cameras can give homeowners visibility on everything they want to see outside or inside of their home. There are even specialty telescopic cameras available for seeing great distances away for homeowners looking to keep an eye on a wide swatch of their property.
The other detriment of self-installed or “tabletop” cameras is that they are really only meant to surveil a small, specific, limited area. These options don’t work well in studios, garages, or any space with a potentially complex layout. A self-installed camera system may ignore glaring security vulnerabilities in your home studio or poll barn, defeating the entire purpose of investing in a camera system in the first place. While surveillance cameras are certainly a step up from such options from a purely hardware standpoint, professional installation—especially by a company who has a hand in helping you design your solution from the ground up—is an absolutely essential component in maximizing the efficiency of your camera solution.
Property doesn’t always include “just” your house. On occasion, homeowners have need to protect separate buildings such as sheds, poll barns, detached garages, barns, or workshops and home businesses. In the past, analog surveillance systems would require cabling to be run from the detached property all the way back to the digital video recorder back in the house, either leaving cables exposed or requiring a great deal of digging in order to bury them. Nowadays, certain IP cameras can be set up in a separate building nearby and programmed to communicate with the network video recorder wirelessly.
Granted, most barns or sheds don’t have a Wi-Fi signal readily available. Luckily, a professional security company can set up devices known as point-to-point wireless bridges to provide the cameras guarding the second with the appropriate Wi-Fi connection to beam footage back to the network video recorder. An out-of-the-box DIY-style video camera isn’t going to have the same remote coverage capabilities as a professionally designed (and installed) surveillance system.
Cameras might be the sleekest, most immediately identifiable part of a security system, but the heaviest lifter on any surveillance system is the video recorder. Whether you have two cameras or twenty, a video recorder acts as the storage unit for all of the recorded footage on a given surveillance system. The hard drive space for recorders varies greatly both in capacity and in price. A few factors play into how much storage space you’ll require from your recorder:
The amount of cameras on your system
The number of days you want to keep your surveillance footage
Your desired resolution for your captured footage
The frame rate of your captured footage
For instance, a surveillance system that hold 14 days of footage from 10 cameras is going to require a much larger video recorder than that of a system holding 3 days of footage from 4 cameras. The more footage a video recorder can hold, the more expensive it will be, but the investment certainly pays off in many situations. A collector of antique cars, for instance, might want every inside and outside corner of their garage covered by cameras—and would consider a surveillance system more than worthwhile when it comes to protecting such priceless artifacts.
Less involved standalone or DIY home security cameras simply can’t hold a candle when it comes to storage space. Some companies offer cloud storage options—for a monthly premium. Even then, such a system pales against the ultimate customization of an engineered surveillance system from professional security engineers and installers.
For some homeowners, a simple standalone camera or two may provide the glimpse into the goings-on of their home while they are away that they desire. For homeowners requiring a more substantial protection selection, a full-fledged security system is a security investment worth every penny. Whether protecting your people, places, or things, it’s worth choosing a professional security provider with substantial experience in installing security systems in everything from banks to hospitals to schools—and, yes, Michigan homes.
Consider EPS Security, West Michigan’s largest family-owned security company. We’ve been an industry leader in home security solutions for 66 years and counting, working closely with the top vendors in the security industry to provide our customers with the best technology at competitive prices. Our consultants, engineers, and technicians work to deliver you a custom security solution that fits your unique needs and protects what matters most to you. When it comes to keeping an eye on what matters most to you, trust EPS Security and discover the peace of mind that a comprehensive surveillance system backed by more than sixty years of experience can bring to you and your family.