Spanning two decades, video surveillance technology, or CCTV as it’s known in security industry parlance, has undergone some dramatic changes. During the 90’s, relatively expensive analog equipment was the industry standard. By the turn of the century however, CCTV systems made the switch to digital. Exploiting the public’s unfamiliarity with these newer technologies, unscrupulous retailers looking to line their own pockets have been pushing consumers into the most expensive solutions for years.
Loaded with tech-jargon and exaggerated claims of superior quality, typical “IP Solutions” come at a steep rate for consumers and range in price from $1,000-$2,000 per camera. In addition to repeat fees for software licensing and maintenance contracts, truth be told, IP cameras aren’t even necessarily useful for most applications.
With demand for greater security measures on the rise in a post 9/11 world, unlicensed operators and ethically challenged online retailers have flooded the marketplace in recent years. To help cut through that noise, here are a few helpful tips:
Products and Providers: What to Look For
There is still equipment at all price levels being installed without the necessary knowledge and expertise good long term results require. Work and maintenance performed by unlicensed contractors who treat CCTV installations as a sideline gig will always be subpar. Absent a long list of documented customer testimonials and lacking end user support, hiring a local all purpose contractor on the cheap will always degrade the usefulness of high quality equipment. For starters, find a company that specializes in a single discipline and keep your investment under one roof; don’t buy equipment from one entity and hire another to install it. There are high quality products and providers out there prepared to service your security needs professionally, and at an affordable rate.
Rational Expectations: What Can a Consumer Expect to pay for a Standard CCTV System?
The cost of a high-quality surveillance camera with installation by a licensed contractor, and a one year warranty averages about $350. The cost for a professional, licensed installation of a full system, with 4 cameras, including a high-quality PC based DVR, including a one-year warranty and advanced technical support averages about $3,000. That makes a professionally installed and supported, high-quality surveillance camera $350/ea. Those that insist on doing it themselves can spend less but the result will not be the same. Never spend more, ever, keep shopping.
Now That You Know, Where Should You Go?
To weed out rogue retailers and installers disinterested in providing long term support and services, search the web by Googling, “CCTV Surveillance Services.” Interview no less than three companies. Do your due diligence and seek as many references from each company’s list of existing clients as you can.
Many people will only work with someone they can get a read on through word of mouth. This is wise, prudent and advisable, and why we’ve asked our customers to come forward with their own video testimonials.