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INSIGHTS

Guide to CCTV setup for India's small businesses and homes

Guide to CCTV setup for India's small businesses and homes
The most important security setup for a home or small business owners in India is an intruder alarm along with a CCTV system that has three or four cameras.
Large companies often have a clear idea of their security requirements. From the initial stage of setting up an office or commercial building, such companies make sure that CCTV cameras and access control systems are installed in the right places. But India's small and medium enterprises (SME) and residential segment are still not aware of the need for CCTV cameras, burglar alarms, or access control systems. 

The most important security setup for a home or small business is an intruder alarm along with a CCTV system that has three or four cameras. In this article, we examine how SMEs and homeowners should go about installing video surveillance cameras, intruder alarm systems, and access control systems.  

CCTV installation guide for Indian SMEs

Many small offices in India choose to install just a time and attendance system and not CCTV, according to Nanda Kumar, Founder, and CMO of ATSS. And even when cameras are installed, they are limited to office interiors to monitor the activities of employees. Many offices fail to place cameras at entrances, which is the first requirement to prevent the entry of unauthorized people. 

Retail store CCTV setup

A small store of about 200-300 square feet size does not require an elaborate surveillance system. These often come under Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) or SME. A 4-channel system with three to four cameras would adequately meet the security needs of these kinds of customers.

"If it's a small retail shop, the trend now is to monitor the area near cash counter through which customers pass through," explains Sidharth Mehta, Director of ATOS Global. "This is because a large portion of the security threats in shops like theft happens at this place. Normally this would mean installing one or two CCTV cameras over a counter that would have a broad view of the entire area where customers stand and walk through."

A relatively new requirement now is audio recording along with video because conversations are essential as instances of customers arguing about payment issues are common. This becomes even more relevant as more and more Indians opt for digital payment. Sometimes the transactions they make through their phones may not go through, and this could lead to arguments. A clear video and audio recording can help store owners to deal with any disputes as it gives concrete evidence of what has happened.

Talking about the quality of the camera, Mehta said that a 2-megapixel camera is more than enough to meet the requirements of small businesses. There is no need to go for 4-megapixels and or more that vendors promote in the market today. In fact, higher megapixel cameras would increase your storage requirements, which is again raising the costs unnecessarily.

CCTV installation guide for Indian homeowners

The essential requirement is knowing if your house is broken into, real-time how to protect your home from theft, whether it is physical asset theft or data theft. Mehta explained that the basic setup they recommend is an intrusion alarm with a CCTV camera at the gates or main doors, and a couple of motion sensors near it to detect any trespassing activity. Such things have become more and more relevant now as people work from home

"Along with this, using a panel that is connected to their Wi-Fi and an app that informs if the gates are closed or open, and a siren that informs when there is an intrusion is the basic setup we recommend," Mehta said. "Anything beyond this is luxury. Windows in India are mostly grilled, and even if they are open, the threat is really low. If it's a high-rise apartment, intrusion through a window becomes even rarer."   

Don't forget the burglar alarm with CCTV

The budget for something like this is relatively low and affordable to most Indian customers. But a common mistake that many Indian customers make is that they think CCTV is the only solution that's required, according to Kumar. CCTV is only useful for forensic purposes often. Combining it with a burglar alarm is critical to stopping crime in real-time.   

Choosing a product and place of installation

One of the significant decisions that customers will have to take before installing a CCTV system is which camera brand to purchase. Jacob Koottummel, an independent security consultant, explains that while the low-cost cameras may seem attractive to many, protection of data is a concern.

Then comes the part where you decide the location of installation. Although there are certain standard locations like cash counters mentioned earlier in the article, many customers have specific requirements. This is because most of the CCTV customers in India think of video surveillance after an incident happens.

For instance, Koottummel narrated the example of an apartment building, where the management found objects thrown into a swimming pool regularly. They assumed that someone from outside was throwing it in and wanted a camera in place to find out who the person was. As a consultant, Koottummel suggested that they first install a proof of concept (POC). Soon it was found that it was someone in the apartment itself who was the culprit.

"Sometimes customers like apartments call up to say that they want cameras placed all over the place, especially because government mandates it," Koottummel said. "But I tell them that's not how it should be done. There are chock points or entry points or narrow lanes where you place a camera, especially for purposes like number plate recognition or to identify the driver of a vehicle. When you work out like that, the overall number of cameras will come down and becomes more cost-efficient to the customer."

NVR theft issue

Finally, a widespread issue that customers in India face warrants special mention. Kumar said that these days a thief who breaks into a building takes off with the NVR as well so that there will be no visual evidence. This happens when some customers try to cut costs by not installing NVRs in racks or in places where they are not easily accessible.

To avoid this, make sure you install your NVRs, which contain the recorded footage, in their specific racks in locations that intruders can't reach or will not find easily.

Endnote

There is a gradual trend among small and medium businesses and homes to get video surveillance equipment in place. This is mostly driven by government regulations, which have become stricter over time. However, businesses and homeowners should know that its not just about putting up cameras all over the place. For best results and to avoid high costs, consider your needs carefully before you make a decision. 


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