MAYBE THE ‘PERFECT’ CCTV MOBILE APP ISN’T PERFECT FOR YOU
CCTV MOBILE APP
Only a few years ago CCTV was expensive, especially for the home. The equipment, which was big and basic by today’s standard, wasn’t cheap. So, it was often found on the larger houses and not your average semi. Things have changed – computing and the processing power of chips just gets faster and faster while the price gets lower and lower. Five years ago, a professionally installed, four camera system on a house could be five to six thousand pounds. Today it would be a third of that or less. Stand alone, off-the-shelf cameras a fraction of that. The DIY option may be for you depending on your budget and what you need it for. However, read the rest of the blog which may help you with that choice as a professional system with CCTV mobile app can be one of the best ways to go.
This ties in with the last question. When equipment was expensive and only the largest houses had CCTV then it could be taken as a sign to a burglar that there’s rich pickings inside. However, if you look around your neighbourhood you won’t have to look far to find a home with security cameras. It’s quite possible that you can spend less on your CCTV than you would on your home entertainment suite. Latest stats tell us that houses fitted with no security measures are 5 times more likely to be burgled. Police recorded theft was up by 11% in the year ending June 2017 compared to 2016 and has grown in the last two years. CCTV is no longer just for the very rich.
We read all the time about hacking and computer breaches and CCTV has become very IT based – So are we right to worry about security – Yes. However, what is totally secure in our IT reliant world? Your internet connection? Your banking details? Personal information? Credit card details? Most of that information you give when using your pc or laptop and would have measures in place to protect it – antivirus, firewalls etc. Security cameras bypass your pc so what’s in place to protect them? The first thing to consider is how the video gets from your cameras to your router.
One of the most popular, and cheapest solutions, today are Wi-Fi cameras. They’re easy to install, need no cables and are fairly easy to set up but are probably the most vulnerable option. Just Google ‘Hacking Wi-Fi Cameras’ and see what results you get. When buying these cameras people are often looking for a cheap plug-and-play solution so rarely do the following: update the camera software and firmware, change default admin usernames, pick strong passwords (or any passwords!), choose a camera and router that can use WPA2 transmission, ensure they only connect to https sites and not http sites. When using a CCTV mobile app, keep it up-to-date, use secure passwords and usernames and logout when not using it – How plug-and-play does all that sound?
Our preference is to use wired IP cameras that don’t openly broadcast your images. Video is streamed via Cat5 (computer network) cables to a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) which finally connects to your router. So that’s one device sending data to your router, not five or six. The DVR has security measures in place much like your PC and finally only very specific ports are opened on your outer to tie down security even further. Equipment has got cheaper but unless your very IT savvy going the DIY route has many pitfalls.
As you have just read setting up and securing a camera system is quite technical but when that’s all done then using a CCTV mobile app isn’t. Our engineer’s guide you through the simple download and installation from either the Play store or App store. Just enter your secure username and password and you’re off. Streaming live images with intuitive tap-to-view controls. You can, move from camera to camera, pinch to zoom, take snapshots (which you can save or send), playback recordings, get alerts when there’s movement and (if you have functional cameras) you can pan, tilt, and zoom … from anywhere in the world!
In a nutshell yes! A DIY box from Maplins, a computer company or sparky that’s just branched into cameras quite possibly won’t tell you that – if they even know. That’s no problem for them though because the regulations apply to the owner and user, not the supplier – Go figure!!
Firstly there are local-council regulations of which many require an application and planning permission to install CCTV – this doesn’t just relate to listed buildings or conservation areas either. Your supplier can’t help you with that it has to be your undertaking.
Secondly there is the Data-Protection Act. The Data Protection act was introduced in 1988 and for many decades it didn’t apply to domestic premises. Then in 2012 the Protection of Freedoms Act was introduced and on the back of that the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice was issued in 2013.
Data Protection Act now tell us ‘If your CCTV covers any areas beyond the boundaries of your property it will no longer be regarded as domestic processing and be exempt from the DPA’. Camera systems that incorporate a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) can provide privacy masking allowing you to electronically blank out areas of the screen.
Quite possibly. Many cameras give useable video in good daylight conditions but suffer when the light fades. Choosing a switchable colour / mono camera is wise. These cameras will give colour images as long as the light level is good enough then automatically switch to black and white giving sharp monochrome images until the morning. However just looking for a camera that is colour / mono is not a guarantee of useable night-time images. It is important to know to just what level of light (lux level) they will work to. Even after reading the lux level you can be mislead as it may say works to 0.1 lux at 1 metre – meaning if you’re within a metre of the camera it can see you in the dark. Your best bet … ask for a demo.
There can be factors that will influence the time needed such as age and construction of the property but as a rough guide a one to four camera system (cabled with Cat5 and using a DVR) is often installed in just one day, with an additional four to six taking a further day. When obtaining a quotation ensure you get a quotation not an estimate then if it takes longer than expected it’s not your problem. At Keybury quotes are free and without obligation so it makes sense to arrange to see a surveyor and find out just what you would need.
Non-professional, off-the-shelf or DIY installations will not be recognised by the major insurers. However, a professionally installed system from a company with third-party accreditation such as NSI Gold will be recognised by many of the top nine.
If you have accepted any kind of discount on your insurance premiums for having CCTV it will be a requirement that the system is fully maintained. In addition, the Data Protection Act and the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice says that it is important that you check your system regularly to make sure that it is working properly. Typically though you don’t check that often and only discover it has failed at the very time you needed it.
There are many IT-based companies providing a CCTV mobile app available at many price points but if you’re not an IT genius and you want to stay on the right side of UK legislation then a professionally designed and installed system surely give the best peace-of-mind.
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