With megapixel cameras, it’s possible to use one camera to cover a driveway where we might normally use two or three. This not only saves in equipment costs, but gives us better images with a higher definition. You can digitally pan the camera after you zoom in, allowing more in-depth viewing of the entire image. It’s also possible to set up more than one recording view for a single camera, so while recording the camera in full view, you can simultaneously record a second view of a magnified area.
For instance, let’s say you have one camera recording an aisle that shows the office and gate area. You could record a second, magnified view to show license plates at the gate, and a third magnified view of the office area―all simultaneously from the same camera. This approach can be used anywhere on site.
These cameras require a piece of storage equipment called a network video recorder (NVR). This recorder offers several benefits including larger storage capacity, off-site storage, and real-time off-site monitoring, which replaces after-hours guard services. NVRs also have analytics far superior to those of digital video recorders, which have become the norm for many self-storage sites.
NVR analytics allow for features such as virtual fencing, direction tracking, object counting, missing object and many other options in post- and pre-recording modes. They allow for easy viewing over any device that can connect to the Internet, including your smart phone. It’s now truly possible to monitor several sites and multiple cameras from anywhere you can get Web access. For owners with multiple locations, this can help you manage from a distance.
Another benefit IP has given us is the ability to use more devices. One that’s of particular importance to self-storage is a low-cost, mid-range radio. Along with IP cameras and POE (power of Ethernet) routers, these radios allow us to put cameras at the far end of a property with no wire runs (with the exception of one from the camera to the radio).
Now a site operator can add cameras, keypads, intercoms and other devices in locations that have no conduit runs back to the office―and at a lower cost than using traditional conduit and wire. Radios can be placed in multiple points throughout the property, allowing an owner to enhance the security and operation of his site.
This move toward IP is hastily becoming the norm of all that we deal with in security. Within in a few years, all items across the security market will become intertwined by way of IP. Soon we’ll have smart devices that notify us of their operational state and allow us to control them in ways we are yet to imagine.
It remains to be seen how the self-storage industry will adapt to IP. With the rest of the security industry quickly turning to the benefits of this technology, the manufacturers of self-storage security equipment will need to adapt to IP so the benefits can be used by our industry, too.
Chester A. Gilliam is the president of Wizard Works Security Systems Inc. in Centennial, Colo. The company specializes in self-storage security systems and has worked across the United States installing the latest technology for the past 19 years. For more information, call 303.798.5337; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.wzrdwrks.com.