Why Should a Business Owner Opt in to Professional CCTV Systems vs Big Box DIY?

The integration of security technology into the business landscape has grown so quickly that it has become commonplace. Whereas once business owners debated whether or not to use security cameras and wondered if it could have a negative impact on their business, now CCTV security camera systems have become standard security equipment for businesses of any size in every industry. With the wide availability of DIY security options, the new question becomes, “Why should a business owner choose professionally installed CCTV systems over a DIY option?” There are some important answers.

There is a Difference in Equipment Offerings

Just like with any technology, there is a wide range of prices, quality, features, and operability between any given product type. Those differences are not necessarily apparent at first glance but become so while in practical use. There is a vast difference in security camera CCTV systems made for the professional market from those made for the commercial consumer market. Those differences can be critical when it is time to capture a crime on video and use the images in court.

Placement is a Science

Camera placement is tough. It takes an understanding of how to capture images in any given space as well as a vast knowledge of the capabilities of many different brands and types of cameras. I a commercial and business environment, it is essential to cover as much space as possible and use the correct cameras to cover critical areas, such as POS.

CCTV Systems are not One-size-Fits-All

Every business facility has a unique layout and orientation with different lighting issues. It is impossible to meet all of the needs and requirements of a business with a general DIY system or without a high level of knowledge and specificity.

They Must be Installed, and Integrated

Every CCTV surveillance system must be installed and should be integrated with the rest of your security and automation system. This means understanding system requirements, compatibility and capability issues—all of which impact the system wide functionality.

DIY Does Not mean Budget Friendly

One of the main reasons businesses consider a DIY system is price, thinking that the initial cost is much lower. In some cases, this can be true—initially. Keeping in mind the difference in equipment quality, DIY systems might have a lower initial cost in equipment, but that’s where it stops. The true cost comes in the time and effort involved in installation, integration, maintenance and all too soon, replacement. Even worse, poor quality images or not having covered an area where a crime occurred can also end up being quite costly in court.
Big box does not mean big savings or quality. When it comes to something as important as commercial security, it saves time and money doing it right the first time. S-TRON is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies, serving specialized needs with just as specialized solutions.

If You Use Surveillance Technology Just for Security…

Nobody likes to miss out, miss the mark, or fail to execute well, but in retail it happens- a lot. This is especially true when it comes to retail video surveillance systems. If you own a retail business and utilize security cameras purely for security purposes, you are missing out on using it to help your business reach its full potential.

The good news is, it is easy to turn that around.

Yes, Protecting Assets is Important

Having security cameras deters crimes like shoplifting and employee theft. These crimes account for significant retail loss, more than 1.38 percent of retail sales, so it’s understandable that it is a large focus of retail security. Every retailer should be concerned about protecting their assets. Skimming, employee theft, and shoplifting can all be minimized with loss prevention tools such as video surveillance.

A Key Component of Growth

Your surveillance system not only helps prevent loss, it is a critical tool in business growth. With video analytics, retailers have all they need to deliver more value, increase revenue, and create a better customer experience.

Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics

Retail data analytics provides a large amount of data that translates into a wealth of meaningful insights about things like customer count and behavior, employee interactions and productivity, in-store impressions, heat mapping and more.

Real Information Leads to Real Growth

Video analytics provides actionable insights that can help improve in-store performance. With real-time information, you can optimize product placement, compare product placement, monitor promotions, measure customer traffic and dwell times, and measure impressions for promotions among many other information responses.

Optimize Store Efficiency

One of the highest costs for retailers is staffing. It is a huge balancing act to provide enough staff, at the right times. Both overstaffing and understaffing can have huge consequence on the performance of the store and its revenue.

Having access to on-demand and real-time video delivers a clear picture of what is happening in a store so that you can make changes that make sense for the business. For example, it may not be that you need an increased number of employees during certain times of the day, but need a better system of handling the increased traffic. Insight might reveal a need to provide better training for increased productivity. It might even reveal a secret gem of an employee that would be better in a position of leadership.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership

A video surveillance system is an investment, but it is technology well worth the cost. When a retailer reviews how they use the system, and uses it beyond pure security and for improving overall operations, not only does it justify the modest expense, it lowers total cost of ownership.

S-TRON has over 20 years of uncompromising quality and service—from record response times to industry focus, S-TRON beats the competition.

3 Indications That It’s Time For A New Video Surveillance Solution

There is no disputing that video surveillance is a critical component of your business’ security system, whether it is one c-store, restaurant, or chain of grocery stores it is a technology that is trusted and proven fundamental to protecting employees, customers, and property. But the question is, when is it time to replace the existing system with a new one?  

It is easy to hold on to old technology as long as possible to try to squeeze out the most value for our money, but doing so can actually cost us a great deal.

With so many frequent developments in technology it can be a hard determination, so we have a few guidelines to help you decide.

Is the Current System Malfunctioning?

This is probably the most common reason for updating a system.  You have seen it before—law enforcement publishing grainy or useless video footage to try to get a lead on a suspect. If the footage had been clear, the suspect would likely already have been in custody. Having a surveillance system is not enough.  For it to be of worth to you, it must be functioning properly. After a while, wear and tear on older equipment takes a toll on its ability to operate properly. Be sure to have your system serviced regularly to maintain the system’s health and detect signs indicating you may need to replace the system. If the system is producing poor quality images, or otherwise malfunctioning it is likely time for replacement.

Is the Business Expanding?

If the business is growing, either in the number of locations or expanding or reconfiguring the current location, it may be time to upgrade your current system. Today’s video surveillance systems are much smarter than their predecessors and offer owners many more advantages. Business owners can employ wireless networks to connect their video network and enable remote management capabilities.

Is the Technology Out of Date?

It is easy to hold on to old technology as long as possible to try to squeeze out the most value for our money, but doing so can actually cost us a great deal. Today’s video surveillance systems are much more cost effective than older versions and offer a host of advantages that can actually save money and improve overall profitability. For example, remote management allows unattended delivery monitoring, as well as process monitoring and verification. They can also reduce false alarms through video verification to keep business running smoothly without costly interruptions. New technology offers highly improved image resolution, scalability, and upgrade options over those of just a few years ago. If the current system does not have enough storage or provide benefits beyond just recording and storing footage, it is probably time for an upgrade.

Video surveillance system upgrades are often overlooked until the old system completely fails. Not only can this leave a serious gap in protection, it also means that the business is not leveraging the most advantage possible from the current technological offerings which could leave them at a serious disadvantage. If you have questions about video surveillance systems and technologies, give S-TRON a call today.

Retailers: Is It Time to Upgrade to IP Video?

Businesses implement security camera systems for many reasons, such as protecting their employees and assets. They also play a role in preventing theft, detecting customer movement and habits, and in improving operations. If you’ve used a surveillance system for some time, it’s likely an analog system which has been the standard for decades. Recent and swift advances in the security technology industry, however, has brought us digital video surveillance systems which far exceed their counterparts. With these advances, the industry as a whole has changed making it the ideal time to upgrade to a digital video surveillance system.

What’s the Difference Between Analog and IP

There are many differences of course, but the defining difference is that analog camera systems need a direct physical connection to a recording device and use a lower resolution NTSC standard. Digital cameras, also known as IP cameras, link to the local area network rather than having a wired connection and achieve much higher resolutions.

Pro Tip: The cost of surveillance technologies have dropped dramatically making it very affordable and accessible technology.

6 Reasons to Upgrade to an IP Security System

There are many reason people are reluctant to upgrade their video surveillance systems, such as believing it will be cost prohibitive or a desire to use the old system until it no longer works. These important reasons will explain why upgrading is not only beneficial, ut economical.

Lower Cable Costs

Analog Camera systems require three cables, power, audio, and video. IP cameras use a single cable that handles between 4 to 8 cameras.

Higher Resolution

Resolution is the amount of detail a camera can capture. Analog cameras, which have low resolution, cannot provide TV standard resolution, while IP cameras provide a resolution which is many times higher. This means that IP cameras capture clear images, even while moving.

Better Image Quality

Images do not help much if they are not clear enough to identify individuals. The higher resolution of IP camera systems means the images are much clearer. Also, since the images are being recorded digitally and not being converted from analog to digital, there is no loss in the quality of images.

Remote Access

Digital cameras can be accessed remotely which allows the user to view video anytime and from anywhere.

Cost Effective

One of the most prevalent misconceptions about upgrading to an IP camera system is that it is expensive and running one might be cost prohibitive. First, the cost of surveillance technologies have dropped dramatically making it very affordable and accessible technology. Also, since the system can serve many purposes, and the NVR is able to manage video surveillance as well as operates as a foundation for data and storage needs of a remote location the overall cost is lower and advantages higher.

It’s Near the End of Analog

Low definition analog camera camera systems and DVR have nearly reached the end of their technological lifespan. The competitively priced more advanced technology is making analog obsolete.

About S-TRON

These are just a few of the many reasons upgrading to an IP video surveillance system will enhance your security, enhance your business insights, and reduce your overall costs. S-Tron specializes in retail loss prevention and addresses your specialized needs with individualized solutions.

Consumer or Commercial Grade Video Surveillance? What’s the Difference?

Most people in the market for a video surveillance system wonder: What’s the difference between consumer and professional, commercial grade CCTV and video surveillance systems. Will consumer grade surveillance systems work for a small or medium size business?

No matter the size of the business, commercial and consumer video surveillance systems are two completely different products and there are some differences that make them specific for their intended usage.

So Many Options in Commercial and Consumer Grade Video Surveillance Camera Systems

There are literally thousands of choices in video surveillance on the market, so it is easy to get lost in a sea of brands and options. There is a way to make it much easier to understand the options when you know that you can divide all of the choices into two groups: those intended for commercial use and those intended for residential usage.

Some Key Differences in Surveillance Systems

Because surveillance systems are made to fit a specific usage, they all have some basic differences that would impact your decision.

  • Commercial Systems have additional options to meet needs that are specific to their intended application, such as dramatic lighting changes, expansive spaces needing full coverage, analytics, exception reporting, networking, scalability and more.
  • Consumer Systems are made for the residential market. They offer features that are specific to residential needs, such as unobtrusive design, most suitable cameras and components, affordability, accessibility, and a host of other design features that make them a good fit for most consumer uses.  

But They Are Not Interchangeable

Video surveillance systems have become increasingly high-tech and complex as the industry rapidly advances. Because of this, it is getting harder to know which systems are intended for what, or what features you need. The systems are different, however, and no matter what level of features you want, you will find those features in a system designed for your application. Here are some reasons why the systems are not intended to be interchangeable.

  • Commercial Systems are not a good option for typical consumer usage because the system altogether would be complete overkill. The consumer would be left with a set of features that do not add anything to their security needs and complicate its usage. Additionally, a smaller space would impact the effectiveness of the cameras.
  • Consumer Security Camera Systems are conversely, not fit for business, professional, or commercial applications. Consumer systems do not have the features businesses need and would not be helpful in things such as combating shoplifting or useful in fighting false claims of injury. Consumer security systems are not made to power commercial grade cameras, such as infrared night vision security cameras and would render a commercial system virtually useless.

The retail, grocery, c-store, and restaurant industries have very specific security needs. S-Tron is an electronic security integrator with local and national reach specializing in meeting those needs.

 

7 Ways Outdated Video Surveillance Solutions Put Your Business at Risk

It can be very tempting to put off updating your video surveillance system. One of the main reasons business owners cite for doing so is the desire to maximize the worth of their original security system investment. In many instances, extending the life of a tool does maximize its worth. This is not true of video surveillance systems for some very critical reasons, and knowing those reasons can keep you from unexpected and devastating loss.

1. Aging Systems Can Malfunction Without Warning

Surveillance systems run non-stop without notice, and often without maintenance. The system can seem fine on the surface but can malfunction without notice, often when it matters most.

2. Older Video Surveillance Systems Might Not Be Supported

All technology needs updates to stay current and the same is true for video surveillance systems. As new technology is released and updated, old technology may no longer be supported with critical updates.

3. Older Surveillance Technology May Not Be Compatible with Newer Systems

Security technology is rapidly advancing and today there is a vast amount of supportive systems available. Those supportive technologies are likely only compatible with newer systems.

4. The Longer it has Been Around, the More Vulnerable it Becomes

Hackers are skilled at their craft and the longer a system has been around, the more time they have had to crack the code or find ways around its effectiveness.

5. Your Security Needs Change

Over the course of several years, your security needs change vastly and the longer your surveillance system has been in place, the more likely it is that it no longer meets your real needs. For example, your business could have grown or been remodeled making the older system ill placed or ineffective in a larger space. With increased traffic and employees, you might need security monitoring, or the ability to restrict access which older systems may not support.

6. Older Systems May Not Run Optimally

Even a system that has received regular professional maintenance can experience problems with time and usage. Systems that use magnetic tapes for example find out that the tape has a limited lifetime only after there is an incident they hope to have captured.

7. Missing Out on Important Insights

One of the biggest disadvantages of an older system is that they are not usually compatible with systems that provide valuable business insights, analytics, and access. This means you may be missing out on remote access and control, alerts, and the analytics that can improve safety and business functions.

An effective video surveillance system is the core of your business security. S-Tron’s suite of innovative video surveillance products yield critical reporting metrics that provide security, safety and marketing data in one comprehensive solution. For more information, call S-Tron Security Electronics today.

7 Tips for Obtaining Court Admissible Surveillance Footage

Businesses invest in CCTV surveillance systems for many reasons. The most common reasons are the desire to deter, spot, and stop crime. But if a crime does occur your surveillance system can serve an addition purpose of providing irrefutable digital evidence. Irrefutable, that is, if you obtain and protect that evidence in a way that prevents it from being dismissed in court.

Surveillance footage greatly improves the chances of law enforcement catching a perpetrator of a crime, and it also enhances the court’s ability to serve justice. However, the value of that footage can be jeopardized if not obtained, handled, and presented correctly. Here are seven vital points to help you.

Choose the Highest Possible Camera Resolution

The FBI recommends using cameras with a minimum resolution of 480 x 640. Anything lower produces grainy images that make facial recognition difficult and can lead to problems leading to appeals.

Have Your System Professionally Designed and Installed

Another problem with video footage faced in court has to do with camera placement. Even a high-resolution camera can produce useless footage if not placed in a way to optimize field of vision. Cameras placed too low encounter too many obstructions; too high it is difficult to capture faces. The best option is to have the system installed by a professional who understands the cameras, their capabilities and the technicalities involved in camera placement.

Consider Lighting

Choose cameras that work well in various types of lighting, including very low light. Also, consider lighting throughout the day, such as sunlight through a window which can cause camera glare.

Avoid Irrecoverable Footage

Many cameras record over old footage once the storage becomes full. This makes the footage irretrievable in most cases. To avoid this, pull or retrieve important footage as soon as possible after a crime.

Save Footage in Original File Formatting

It is critical to save your footage in “native files” that are proprietary to the camera system. Files in original format are uncompressed and contain the most detail.

Keep it Authentic

It may seem okay to adjust the contrast a little so you can see more detail on your video footage but any alterations can potentially cause your evidence to become inadmissible. Never alter images in any way through enhancements, edits, or after effects. Any changes can be viewed as misrepresentation of truth. Instead, be sure your camera system can obtain clear images.

Submit Only Relevant Images

This one is pretty straightforward. The images you submit must pertain to the crime and arguments of the case. Anything else will be dismissed.

S-TRON specializes in advanced video surveillance solutions for the hospitality, retail, c-store, restaurant, and grocery industries. If you have any questions about advanced security solutions, please call us today.

What are the Most Stolen Items This Season? Find Out

CCTV and video surveillance systems are useful all year but during the holidays they take on even more significance as retailers try to keep would-be shoplifters off the naughty list. During the holiday season, incidents of theft go up significantly all across the nation, resulting in loss for both businesses and consumers. And this year, shoplifter have their eyes on some specific items.

Topping the List

According to the 2016 Retail Holiday Season Global Forecast, shoplifting is responsible for 37 percent of a store’s annual shrink loss. This year, apparel, children’s toys, electronics and electronic accessories are expected to be the most stolen items this holiday season in the U.S.

Holiday Shrink Rate to Double

Most retailers book a significant amount of all margin dollars during the holiday season at one-third of the year’s retail sales registered in just three months. Retailers book around 32% of all margin dollars during the holiday season. However, the rate of margin decreases to 29% during the holiday season which is an 8% decline. According to the report, the holiday shrink rate in the US is expected to double over the prior two quarters.

Contributing Factors to Holiday Shrinkage Include Need for More Oversight

Stores are building holiday inventory earlier and earlier for popular, and high-risk items. This leads to increased shrink. Other factors include the need to hire seasonal staff who may not be trained in loss prevention techniques, as well as insufficient surveillance coverage of critical areas, such as in storage areas.

The High Cost of Crime

The 2016 retail cost lost is expected to be $132 per person, of which $50, nearly twice as much as in other calendar quarters, is incurred during the holiday season. These losses place increased pressures on retail establishments, as well as on honest consumers to whom some of the burden is passed on through higher prices.

Better Security Solutions

Preventing shrinkage is a full-time job for retail establishments and one which takes on added importance during the holiday season. One of the best ways to reduce shrinkage is to increase security controls such as implementing CCTV and video surveillance technologies. These technologies reduce incidents of internal shrinkage and shoplifting serving as a strong deterrence as well capturing acts of theft in progress.

S-Tron is an electronic Security Integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies specializing in loss reduction. Call us today to see what makes us different.

7 Reasons Why Mobile Apps Add Power to CCTV Systems

There is no question that CCTV systems are a huge advantage to retail, restaurants, and store security. Video surveillance and CCTV systems deter crime by increasing the risk factor for would be perpetrators, increase productivity and customer service as well as many other benefits. And all of those advantages are enhanced when you add the power of a mobile app to the system.

Mobile App for CCTV Systems Increase Convenience

When it comes to your video surveillance and CCTV system, adding convenience doesn’t just mean making things simpler or faster. It means the ability to use your system to its fullest capacity.

Mobile Apps Increase Your Access Capabilities

One of the reasons you have a surveillance system is so that you can see what is going on in your business. With a mobile app, you can access the video feed from your mobile device anytime, from anywhere.

Your Mobile App Becomes a Hub of Information

Using a mobile app allows video surveillance system users or owners to use the application as a hub of information. Mobile apps provided access to all of the video information in one place and can be integrated with other security system information.

Users Have the Information with Them at All Times

Mangers, security guards, managers, and anyone needing the information can access lie video across the application anytime, anywhere without having to go to a physical central location to view video. This increases their ability to respond to events in a timely manner.

A Constant Eye Helps Decrease Loss

Whether the losses occur from within or without, knowing that the building is secured with CCTV with footage available and easily accessible decreases the likelihood of theft.

Mobile Apps Allow You to be More Than One Place at Once

Managing a facility of any size can be difficult and keeping an eye on all of the critical areas at once impossible. A mobile app allows the user to be in all of those places at once, regardless of whether they are on the premises or not.

Utilizing a Mobile App Increases Safety and Response Times

Having the ability to view video remotely means that owners can see, evaluate and the respond to a situation within moments. In an emergency, any moment saved can be critical to the safety of personnel or visitors or in protecting assets.

Join us in the conversation! Talk to us about your CCTV and video surveillance concerns. We can help answer your questions and help you leverage your system to its fullest capacity. S-TRON Security is a national systems integrator with local, professional service and installation. Contact Us today for a custom quote!

 

Top Practical Applications for Video Surveillance

Video Surveillance technologies allow business owners to view real-time footage right from their computer or smartphone. Aside from the obvious cool factor, there are some really helpful and practical applications for video surveillance.

Here are the top most practical applications for video surveillance.

More than half of all businesses use video surveillance in the workplace. Here are some of the most beneficial and practical applications of video surveillance in the workplace.

  1. Having video surveillance reduces the incidence of shoplifting.
  2. Internal theft is also reduced when the facility is covered by a video surveillance system.
  3. Employee productivity goes up knowing that the boss can check in at any time.
  4. Employee performance also improves when they know they are under the watchful eye of management.
  5. Customer service is greatly improved when customer points of contact are monitored.
  6. It allows business owners to manage situations from afar.
  7. Video surveillance provides valuable business insights such as flow and linger times.
  8. It prevents POI theft.
  9. Video surveillance helps verify incident of employee injury.
  10. Having video footage is also helpful in verifying accounts of customer injury and establishing the validity of events.
  11. By using video surveillance, you can identify safety hazards in real time, from anywhere, and have them corrected before accident or injuries happen.
  12. Insights gained through monitoring video footage can help in developing improved employee practices.
  13. Always having a watchful eye can help protect sensitive information relating to your business.
  14. Having better business insights can lead to improved practices in every facet of the business.
  15. A visible video surveillance system can reduce incidents of workplace violence.

In the last decade, new technologies have allowed greater connection to and insights about the workplace. S-Tron’s suite of innovative video surveillance products yields critical reporting metrics that provide safety, security, and marketing data in one solution. If you are interested in custom solutions, please call S-Tron today.