An Internet Protocol cameras, or IP camera, is a type of digital video camera that receives control data and sends image data via the Internet. They are commonly used for surveillance.
They require no local recording device, but only a local area network. Most IP cameras are webcams, but the term IP camera usually applies only to those used for surveillance that can be directly accessed over a network connection.
Some IP cameras require the support of a central network video recorder (NVR) to handle the recording, video and alarm management. Others are able to operate in a decentralized manner with no NVR needed, as the camera is able to record directly to any local or remote storage media. The first centralized IP camera was Axis Neteye 200, released in 1996 by Axis Communications.
Common Types of IP Cameras
PTZ IP cameras are so named because they can pan, tilt, and zoom. These cameras can help cover large areas and can be run by special software to operate without the need for an attentive operator.
Dome cameras are often found in stores and businesses. These cameras are covered in dark domes that make it difficult to tell where the camera is pointed.
Bullet cameras are perhaps the most recognizable type of security camera. These cameras are cylindrical, and are the most traditional type of camera, offering high resolution, easily replaceable lenses, and easier to clean lenses. Because of the way these cameras are constructed, their housing can reduce the amount of reflection that reaches the lens.
Fisheye cameras can also cover large areas with a full 360-degree range. A fisheye camera also allows you to use one camera in place of several since this camera can zoom in and out to focus on a particular area.
Benefits of IP Cameras
IP cameras have the ability to contain three or four cameras in one, which can cover an area that may normally take multiple cameras to cover. Thus you can run four cameras in one. Most IP cameras go one cable to your system, and it only costs one license too.
Ease of installation
An IP camera only takes one wire for both data and power that connects to a network switch, so you don’t need power at the camera site. You can also focus and zoom in remotely. Once it’s installed, as long as you’ve got it angled at what you want to angle it at, you can control the focus remotely from your anywhere in the world.
Resolution in cameras just keeps getting better and better, IP cameras have superior image quality. You can get cameras with different resolutions and aspect ratios customized to your needs. The video produced by IP Cameras is encrypted and authenticated so transmission is secure.
Intelligence and analytics
IP cameras are basically small computers that compress and store video, plus they can be programmed to provide all sorts of analytics. They can detect motion or smoke, count people, track certain colours, sense when something disappears, and set off alarms. You can draw a trip line where if something crosses that line, it sends a signal to you.
Disadvantages of IP Cameras
Cost of initial set-up
It may cost more to initially set up your IP camera system if you’re making the switch from analogue; however, once you have it set up, it’s much easier to tailor and scale your system as needed. In the context of Ghana, a good IP camera is very expensive and because of that, there is a wide range of substandard IP cameras in Ghana.
IP cameras are higher resolution, so they generate larger files than analogue. You’ll need to adjust your storage space accordingly. Storage is yet another issue with IP cameras even if you have cloud storage it will require you to have larger storage to cover and month to a year of recording.
With IP cameras, there’s a user interface. A lot of it is pretty intuitive once you get going, but there is a certain level of technicality that needs to be learned by the end-user. This includes setting the camera right to meet your security needs.
What to consider before buying an IP Camera in Ghana
Reach out to a CCTV expert
The expectations you have for your cameras may not fit their capabilities, so having a security and CCTV expert examine and recommend the right IP camera will help you choose what you need and want is crucial.
A company that manufactures and installs cameras is going to ensure you get the best advice for easy decision making and set your expectations right especially when IP cameras are fuel by the internet when the internet is not the best in certain parts of Ghana. Light is also one of the most important things to consider in designing a camera system, and people overlook that in Ghana.
With the kind of economy we have in Ghana it is more likely that you’re on a limited budget. If that is the case then consider have both analogue and IP cameras instead or what we famously call the hybrid system. You can install analogues if you can afford IP cameras.
When it comes to installation you need to find an installer who specializes in IP systems. You really want to deal with someone who understands the technology, understands the networking, who understands what it’s capable of doing and how it needs to be set up to make sure that’s what you’re going to get.
Know what you really need
IP cameras come with all sorts of capabilities. However, you should know what you want from your IP cameras. What do you really need? What do you want to accomplish? What’s a realistic budget? The goal is to get the property to where you want to be that’s within your budget with an analytic system that’s usable and has longevity to it. Be careful where you acquire your IP cameras
Have a security plan
Going for an IP camera creates a perfect opportunity for you to revisit your plans with what you’re trying to accomplish, reevaluate your risk and your vulnerabilities, and see where you’re going to need the cameras installed. Analyzing what you’re trying to accomplish is a great opportunity to reevaluate your camera system as a whole before you just go and buy a camera.
Think about lighting
Light is one of the most important things to consider in designing a security camera system, and people overlook it all the time. There’s really no one camera that can do everything. You need to have the right camera for the right application. Cameras need the help of a good lighting system to support it do what it suppose to do.
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Global Sky Limited (GSL) is the leading, integrated security company in Ghana, specialising in the delivery of security, monitoring, diagnostics, high-quality CCTV security systems across the 16 regions of Ghana.
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