When deployed in the right setting, with the right supporting technology, a PTZ security camera can make a valuable addition to an existing video surveillance system. But as with any area of physical security, choosing the right product means weighing a wide variety of factors—from cost and ease of installation to the unique conditions and threat level of the environment.
If you’re thinking of integrating PTZ cameras into your facility’s security system, the following questions can make your decision a little easier.
How large is the surveillance area?
Arguably the biggest draw of PTZ cameras is their ability to patrol vast areas, thanks to their controllable field of vision. Through manual or automated operation, the camera can rotate 360 degrees and tilt up to 220 degrees to let you see what might take a series of cameras to capture. This makes them better suited to large open spaces such as shopping malls, major transportation hubs and parking lots.
Some more advanced solutions also enable programmable tours, where the PTZ camera follows a pre-determined course to reduce the need for manual surveillance. Similarly, auto-tracking functionality in PTZ cameras by Axis and other top manufacturers will automatically pick out and follow a moving surveillance target such as a person or vehicle.
PTZ cameras are often used to augment a system of fixed cameras, where full coverage has already been achieved
In years past, this level of functionality was possible only through the use of multiple cameras—the first, a fixed camera, would detect a subject, then signal the PTZ camera through an analogue feed to initiate tracking. But intelligent new features like video analytics are making it easier and more cost-effective to surveil large, security-sensitive areas than ever before.
What kind of surveillance system do you already have in place?
On the negative side, when a PTZ security camera is tracking or zoomed in on a particular area, it creates a surveillance blind-spot. That’s why PTZ cameras are often used to augment a system of fixed cameras, where full coverage has already been achieved. When there’s a need to focus on a region of interest, the PTZ camera will enable more agile coverage while letting you capture important information such as a license plate number or facial details.
If your facility already has an adequate video surveillance system in place, a PTZ security camera can make it more robust and more flexible. Just be wary of using these cameras as a stand-alone solution.
How big is your budget?
The higher cost of PTZ cameras, coupled with their advanced detection capabilities, generally makes them a poor fit for small businesses or any application where a simple solution will do. In these cases a well-positioned fixed security camera with HD video may be the best bet, especially given the lower price point. Modern megapixel security cameras provide relatively wide coverage, with high resolution and digital zoom capabilities for reliable picture.
That being said, larger surveillance areas can save money by using a single PTZ camera in place of multiple fixed cameras, so it’s important to factor in the unique conditions of your facility.
An on-site assessment by a physical security specialist can ensure that you’re getting the highest level of protection, at a cost that fits your budget. Not only will this help you avoid unnecessary costs on equipment your facility doesn’t need, it will identify the ideal placements of your cameras for maximum coverage, security and value.
For help determining whether your facility could benefit from a PTZ security camera or to schedule an on-site assessment, contact us today. We have many years of experience supplying, installing and maintaining a wide variety of PTZ cameras and other video surveillance equipment from the most trusted manufacturers in the industry.