We Know: All About Video Surveillance Equipment


What is Video Surveillance Equipment?

Video surveillance equipment consists primarily of a camera or a collection of cameras directly linked via cables or other direct means, and it's used to watch over a specified area. You'll find video surveillance at banks, casinos, shopping centers, streets, airports, transportation centers, and today at many private homes.


What Kinds Can I Get?

The most common choice for video surveillance is the closed circuit TV (CCTV)O system, where the surveillance cameras view or record an image but don't broadcast it. Many home security systems use this because it's simple and inexpensive, but it's also reliable enough to use at some banks and ATM machines. Today, lots of CCTV surveillance cameras are monitoring public spaces, as was dramatized in the London transit system bombings.

Closed-circuit cameras have also been installed in many taxis to deter violence against taxi drivers.

Is It Legal?

Depending on how you use it, video surveillance equipment may or may not be legal. Cameras should never be used if you would be arrested for being in the place the camera's at, or for stalking, peeping, or other crimes. For instance, if you put a camera in a place where you know couples go to make out and then post it to the internet, it's probably illegal. If you use it in a high-crime area to try to get pictures of the criminals to turn in, that's probably legal. For any specific use, you should check with your local police department as to whether it would be considered legal before using a video surveillance camera. In today's explosion of video technology, we're in very fuzzy territory.

Surveillance on your own property should, in general, be legal.

How Do I Install A Home Surveillance System?

Until the last decade, installing a home surveillance system involved running lots of wires and cables to very visible cameras, and back to at least one closed-circuit TV.

Today's wireless technologies enable you to simply bolt wireless cameras onto the proper places (think about electricity for power, but otherwise, the sky's the limit), set up signal jumpers if necessary, and install a wireless server and surveillance software to sort out the signals on your home computer. It sounds a little complicated, but it's really simple; the cameras and jumpers work out of the box, so all you have to do is experiment with placement for signal strength (like your cell phone, the camera has to be close to its signal source -- your computer -- to operate properly) and learn how to use the software on your computer.

Images are transmitted to your computer, and stored in a database that you can easily access whenever you wish. You can do the same thing with a laptop if you want to take your surveillance on the road.

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