Guest Column | May 21, 2013

3 IP Camera Selection Mistakes You'll Regret

BSM-IP Cameras Blue Sky

If you're new to the video surveillance game, you should be leaning on your vendor and distributor partners as much as possible for help. Making mistakes is unavoidable, but you can take steps to minimize the severity and frequency of those you do make. In addition to help from your partners, I recently spoke with Thomas McIntyre, National Sales Manager for the US and Canada at Merit Lilin USA who identified three common mistakes you could make when it comes to IP cameras.

1.    Who supports the product? Do you get quick, personal support from someone who knows what they’re talking about, or is willing to find the answer if they don’t know it themselves? Who you buy from is sometimes more important than what you buy.

2.   Integrators can sometimes fall into the trap of looking for the best spec OR the lowest price, when the best products usually fall somewhere in the middle. Many advanced features that come with a lot of today’s IP cameras are rarely, if ever, utilized by the end-user or the integrator. Additionally, a camera manufacturer that offers a CMS managing access control, video analytics, burglar alarms, fire alarms, and the kitchen sink typically isn’t focused on simplicity and quality in what matters: the cameras.

The same goes for price – if you can get a $90 2-Megapixel camera from a company, while the rest of the market is at $200 to $600, there’s probably a reason the cost is so low. It will come back to haunt you and we see a lot of integrators eating a lot of labor costs to back and fix the problem.

3.   Image Quality – Look for image quality when the camera is streaming at 2mb/s. Most manufacturer’s demo their products running at 5 to 8mb/s, which is just unrealistic in a real-world application. Compare image quality at the same bitrate it will be used!