Product Evaluation

11 Common Types of Security Cameras

Bullet, dome, covert, outdoor, varifocal and night vision are just some of the common types of surveillance cameras. Here’s a quick reference list. Selecting a type of security camera is simple, right? If you want a camera that follows people as they move, you want a pan/tilt/zoom or PTZ camera. Otherwise you want a fixed […]

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Wink Hub or SmartThings Hub: Which Works Better?

These home automation hubs were tried out in this home to see which better handled connecting its smart devices. Many of us got into this industry because we like playing with toys. Sure, we call it work, but at the end of the day, it’s kind of fun to face a challenge head on, figure […]

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The Truth About License Plate Recognition Technology

After numerous questions about the merits and drawbacks of cameras designed to capture images of the license plates of vehicles entering and exiting a property, I wanted to put something together to clarify the two approaches to this application. These cameras are often referred to interchangeably as “license plate cameras” and “license plate readers”. In […]

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Do You Really Want to Use That Security Product?

We’ve recently started providing product reviews forSecurity Sales & Integration magazine and its website, www.securitysales.com. As we kick this off, and on an ongoing basis, we’re going to be looking for feedback on how these reviews meet your needs, where they come up short, and what you’d like to see covered. The genesis of SSI’s Bench Test […]

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HDcctv: Back to the Future, or Ahead to the Past?

At ISC West 2014 last week, the HDcctv Alliance provided a first look at the new generation of HDcctv 2.0 surveillance technologies and products. As this is a technology that has been mentioned on and off over the years but never really gained traction, I thought I would avail myself of this opportunity to understand a little more about […]

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Overpromising & Underdelivering: How Cutting-Edge Tech Is Often a Waste of Money

We are all familiar with the business mantra imploring you to “underpromise and overdeliver”. The concept is that by managing expectations in such a manner that you are positioned to exceed them, you stand a greater likelihood of leaving behind a happy customer. Or spouse, or child, or co-worker, as the concept really works anywhere […]

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Keep the Customer Satisfied

In an earlier posting (Manage Customer Expectations to Define Success) I knocked around the idea that properly setting expectations was a requirement for defining a project’s success. Some inferred that a successful project equated to a positive reference, which could in turn lead to more business. I want to explore that concept in greater detail […]

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Manage Customer Expectations to Define Success

I think that most of us agree that the success of a project, to a great extent, is defined by the level in which we meet the client’s expectations. Yes, I know that there are financial goals for a project as well, but if a project winds up not being as profitable as projected, it’s […]

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Some Corners a Security Installation Shouldn’t Cut

Security system installations are rarely done in a vacuum, although many integrators would tell you otherwise. Often the emphasis is on getting in and out quickly — after all, time is money, right? Unfortunately, as many learn the hard way, that axiom cuts both ways. Sure, it’s more profitable to complete a job quickly than […]

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Protecting Your Video Surveillance From Leaks

While there are a number of opinions and methods as to the best ways to capture and manage video images for investigation and evidence, we tend to focus on the technical aspects. What’s the best resolution, frame rate, compression method, or retention time for a given application? How will we get images off of the […]

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A Guide to Fiber-Optic Cable & Coxial Media Converters

One topic that generates a lot of discussion is the transition from analogue to IP cameras. On new construction, it’s rapidly becoming a moot point — there are so many advantages to IP, and the cost advantage of analogue is rapidly disappearing — but there are a lot of analogue systems out there that are aging […]

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Back to the Basics of Camera Placement

As we move toward more advanced image acquisition equipment, it’s often hard to resist finding high-tech solutions to low-tech problems. For example, if you can use image stabilization, why worry about camera vibration? While it’s true that modern cameras can often get you good images under lousy conditions, improving conditions usually improves the image quality […]

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How Trimming Support for Obsolete CCTV Products Benefits the Industry

I received an E-mail blast from a CCTV manufacturer today describing a new five-point plan aimed to overhaul its technical support and customer service. Four of the five points were in line with expectations for a high-end company in the electronic security industry, but I suspect that the bulk of the objections the manufacturer hears […]

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How to Impress Clients During a Bad Installation Job

It seems to me that clients often measure the performance of an integrator by how well the company cleans up the metaphorical messes its made. I suspect that this is one, if not THE most important, factor when considering job performance and customer satisfaction. In fact, for many, this defines the actual quality of the […]

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Objectionable Consultants

At ISC West, I had the honor of teaching a class on bright and early on April 6. Early in Las Vegas was at 11:15 a.m. The session, “Developing, Influencing and Responding to Request for Proposal’s (RFP’s)“, focused on practical, hands-on tips to make the whole RFP process work better for all involved. The class […]

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ISC West 2011: The Year of the Copycat

I’m a big fan of the ISC West trade show, which is held in Las Vegas each year at the beginning of April. As a consultant who must bill hours to make a living, my time is valuable and I try to choose one major trade show a year to attend. The two biggest shows […]

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Grade A Security for ‘Big D’ Complex

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the sprawling Galleria Dallas shopping center and its new expansive security system live up to that claim. However, what looms largest was the tightly coordinated effort the security consultant, integrator and end user demonstrated to help maximize the facility’s safety. There is nothing average about Galleria Dallas. […]

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Handling Coax, UTP Cables During Installations

“There’s a lot of coaxial cable out there.” “The 100 meter limit for Ethernet over copper presents some installation challenges.” I think there are very few people involved in the installation of IP-based CCTV systems that would disagree with either of the above statements. In an upcoming study featured in SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION’s April […]

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To Bid or Not To Bid: That Is the Question – Security Sales & Integration

Part of the value we bring to the table as a consulting firm is the ability to secure our clients competitive bids on their project(s). Our goal is somewhat different than that of an integrator. We want an embarrassment of riches — so many qualified bidders and competitive bids that the owner has to scratch […]

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Bigger Isn’t Always Better – Be Mindful of the Category Rating

More and more of our projects involve networked systems and associated devices, and that inevitably includes cabling. And, as the price differential between the various category-rated cables diminishes, we are finding the temptation to provide the highest level of category rating possible throughout projects, whether or not it makes sense. If CAT5 is good, and […]

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What Not to Recycle

Our last blog entry (“Recycling Is Green, But It Can Make You Some Green Too…“) reviewed the benefits of recycling in unexpected ways, telling a short case study involving the reuse of a console. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t explore the dark side of recycling. Some things should be destined for the landfill, […]

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The Update Treadmill – Security Sales & Integration

I’m a big fan of the consumer electronics blog Engadget. It publishes a number of news, tips, and rumors on consumer electronics equipment and software, and I have always found the consumer electronics field to be a good barometer for what we’ll be seeing in the commercial and industrial space. After all, it’s the economies […]

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Tips to Better Manage Project Scheduling – Security Sales & Integration

For many of us, the nature of our business is feast or famine. I have yet to meet a consultant, integrator, manufacturer, or other person in this industry (or any construction-related industry) that didn’t experience the peaks and valleys that can make your life (and your business) a roller coaster. Sure we’d all rather be […]

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Spending Too Much? Part 1 of Many – Security Sales & Integration

The topic of “overbuying” comes up so many times in our practice that I can’t limit this to just one blog entry — this could easily become a recurring theme. I’m not talking about paying too much, where the competitive process breaks down and the end user pays more than they should have (easily another […]

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Get Peak Performance from Lenses – A&S Magazine

Lenses are essentially ground the same way, but their installation affects image quality significantly. This second of two articles explores practical installation tips along with development hurdles. Capturing good images is an interplay of quality equipment, installation and environmental factors. Getting a lens to perform well requires accounting for lighting, field of view and camera […]

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Zooming in on Surveillance Lenses – A&S Magazine

Lenses operate as the eyes of a camera, taking in every single detail. A&S finds out what makes surveillance lenses good, how to test them and what’s ahead for development. The lens is a crucial part of a camera. When light strikes, the lens focuses those photons to the image sensor to capture a complete […]

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Spelling Counts

We have spent a good portion of the past few days reviewing bid responses for a major CCTV project that our firm is handling. After a fairly detailed request for proposal (RFP) package, multiple walkthrough opportunities, and a comprehensive request for information (RFI) process, we thought that we would get a number of complete, professional, […]

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What Really Is an IP System?

The market is being whipped into a frenzy by buzz about IP, yet studies show that only 10-15 percent of systems sold include IP cameras. What’s the deal? Our firm was recently retained by a new client to provide a strategic review on the electronic security industry. This client was focused on CCTV, and inevitably […]

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Do Not Underestimate the Power of the UPS – Security Sales & Integration

November 2006, By Robert Grossman – Now more affordable than ever, UPS units have become an essential piece of equipment in myriad settings, from large data centers to home entertainment systems. But nowhere is a UPS application more essential than for security. In a day and age when most products incorporate microprocessors and, therefore, require boot-up time, UPS units have become even more critical. Consider a half-second loss of power to a system could easily result in a reset time of several minutes or longer – an unacceptable episode for equipment that requires 100-percent uptime, such as surveillance cameras and access control systems.

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Birth of a Security Product – Security Sales & Integration

Like many of today’s modern technological conveniences, electronic security products typically require a year or more to get from the drawing board to the stock room.They are the result of countless hours of brainstorming, research, development, testing, production,marketing and support. How do manufacturers do it? Take a journey with a mythical product to find out.

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Consultants – Time to End the Confusion, Security Sales & Integration

March 2004 by Robert Grossman, Webster’s Dictionary defines a “consultant” as “a person who gives professional or expert advice.” But, with that definition, isn’t just about everyone a consultant?

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