Video Surveillance for Self-Storage: Modern-Day Considerations for Building a Camera System
|Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.|
|Posted on: 03/24/2012|
By Tony Gardner
In the 1940s, the Germans first used closed-circuit video systems to monitor a rocket-launch pad in Peenemunde, Germany. In the decades since, video surveillance has become a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives, from traffic-light cameras to pinhole cameras inside self-storage facility keypads. But how can these new systems benefit your facility? What’s different about the systems of today from those installed by Siemens in Germany during World War II?
In the 1970s and 80s, most video systems consisted of a black-and-white monitor, some form of mechanical multiplexor to display all the cameras onto that single monitor, and perhaps a time-lapse VCR for recording. Finding specific recorded video on the tape was an exercise that tested the most patient of people, and even when found, it was typically too grainy to be worthwhile. It really wasn't until the beginning of the 21st century that affordable and useable video surveillance became available for the self-storage industry.
When it comes to this technology, there’s no single right answer as to the "best" system to install. However, there are a number of factors to consider when building a video system for your facility. These include:
Of course, there are many other considerations each facility owner must weigh. One that’s often overlooked is how the system will be monitored and by whom. Unfortunately, many facility owners install a video system then forget about it, thinking its mere presence is deterrent enough. Others look at it only after a crime or incident has occurred. There are many ways to be interactive with your video system to not only ensure a safe environment for your tenants but to keep your finger on the pulse of the operation.
Some self-storage owners opt for a hands-off approach and hire a central-monitoring station to monitor facility cameras. This service ranges from reactive, when motion is detected during certain hours, up to live viewing of the camera footage 24 hours per day. Understandably, the price for monitoring will vary with the level of service required. As enticing as this type of service may be, it simply doesn't fit into most budgets. That means owners or managers should take steps to be more involved by using the features built into their modern digital-surveillance systems.
For example, many storage facilities without an office make use of technology, such as a kiosk, to help run their operation. That same principle can be used with contemporary video systems. Digital video recorders (DVRs) are all-in-one devices that can become your operational command center by using the following integrated features:
Advanced Camera and DVR Abilities
If you want to expand the above DVR features and have even more control over your facility, consider a pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) camera. The price of these cameras has dropped significantly over the years. These enable you to track tenant or manager activities around the facility. Most PTZ cameras can be controlled directly from the DVR software in the facility office or even remotely. When not actively controlling the camera, you can set up "tours" the camera will follow to ensure it’s always patrolling the grounds. A few strategic PTZ cameras can be just as effective—if not more so—as a dozen stationary cameras.
When you couple all the new DVR features with high-resolution cameras, you can create a powerful, integrated solution that will enable you to provide a safe environment for tenants and their belongings, in addition to staying on top of the daily operation of the facility. Increased security—real and perceived—should also allow you to increase rental rates due to the added value and safety at your facility.
Video surveillance has evolved considerably over the years, both in the sophistication of the cameras and what they connect to; however, the basic need for monitoring events has stayed the same. The modern systems available today allow for a more complete and integrated solution, enabling owners, either onsite or around the world, to actually see and hear what’s happening at their facility at the touch of a button. Is it time to upgrade your video-surveillance system?
Tony Gardner is vice president of QuikStor Security & Software, a one-stop-shop for security and software products in the self-storage industry since 1987. For more information call 800.321.1987; visit www.quikstor.com.