Security Cameras at Gas Stations…not a new concept, but it is one that should be touched on and brought up to speed with the times.Most gas stations across the country have been using one form of security camera or another for years. Many stations still have their original tape-based security system while others still use just a monitor with no recording device at all.
One important thing these holdouts from the last century might want to consider is that even without a modern DVR or a recording device, the wire that the CCTV security cameras are most likely using is a common coax cable still used today. This allows a great deal of the old infrastructure and sometimes the cameras themselves to be easily incorporated into a new PC-Based DVR security system and newer camera technology.
If your Gas Station Security Camera System has been installed for so long that you have not quite caught the significance of this, let me remind you that, depending on how many cameras you have installed and how large your facility, the cost of installing the wiring for the cameras could have easily been over 30% of the total cost of your security system. Being able to use the existing wire is then a great savings for those looking to upgrade.
But those cost saving tips aside, a security camera system at a gas station can be a great way to cut down on merchandise shrinkage due to both staff and customer theft, and it can also be a great deterrent and aid in the prevention and prosecution of drive-offs. It can also be a great management information tool as it allows store owners to monitor the shop remotely across the internet in live time and even remotely play back previously recorded incidents.
Some new developments in the world of professional grade security camera systems include the ability to mix IP or Network Cameras in with a traditional CCTV based DVR. You may have read about IP cameras over the last few months or years and if you read the same articles that I did, you might be thinking IP cameras are all that and a bag of chips. Well, I would not go that far but I do think it’s worth mentioning that IP cameras can help the security situation at the typical gas station.
IP cameras have the ability to record their video at a much higher resolution than a traditional CCTV camera. A gas station using the right DVR, such as a Dell Based GeoVision DVR unit, can take advantage of this increased resolution in key areas and incorporate IP cameras into a traditional CCTV environment. For example, a high resolution IP camera watching the cars at the pumps can give the station owner the ability to digitally zoom in after the fact and more easily capture vehicle plate information than would otherwise be the case with lower resolution CCTV cameras. The same technique could be applied to other critical areas of the facility such as any choke points that either cars or people must all pass through.
Key to this scenario is that, based on where we currently see IP technology, we believe that your best solution would be to use IP cameras to supplement your CCTV based security system as opposed to building a system of entirely IP cameras. This belief comes from two facts that are often overlooked and buried in the mass marketing campaign that has become the IP camera propaganda machine. First of all, IP cameras and their amazing ability to connect directly to the internet or intranet require additional built-in intelligence that is called a web server. Having a built in web server allows an IP camera to be directly accessible across a traditional office network or even the internet. This feature, however, adds an inherent level of additional costs that are neither devoted to the cameras’ optics or housing.
Secondly, IP cameras with their increasing resolution struggle to transmit at frame rate speeds commonly requested of a traditional CCTV security camera system. This problem is an age old trade-off of frame rates and image resolution, the higher the resolution the more bandwidth and processing power that is required to transmit the video at high frame rates. Currently, a reasonable expectation is between 3-7 frames per second on a mega-pixel IP camera compared to the lower resolution CCTV cameras that can easily record at 30 frames per second. The low frame rate offered by today’s IP cameras can serve a purpose but I would caution against making an across the board trade of frame rates for resolution.
Finally, I think it’s worth mentioning that when a gas station implements a modern traditional CCTV security camera system, a mixed CCTV and IP system, or even an entire IP solution, that these systems all offer the ability for multiple event notification methods and remote monitoring capable of being used by local law enforcement in live time in case of emergency.
For more information on how a security camera system can help your gas station please follow any of the links below or call us today at 877-422-1907.
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