When evaluating a camera system you should always ask to see a demonstration of the system and products being quoted for the installation. Product specifications can be confusing and even misleading; luckily video is a visual medium so make sure you see a live demonstration. Below are 3 key areas to pay close attention to during the demonstration of the security camera system.
1. Overall ease of use and intuitive software layout.
Take a look at the overall software layout. Ask if you and other people within the company can try out the software. In other words can you and the other system users “drive the car”? Many sales presentations make software look easy because they have repeated the same demo over and over again. The real question is how intuitive is it for you and your staff? A lot of that will depend on your computer literacy and competence. If you are not going to be the only one using the software make sure you have the person with the least amount of computer knowledge try out the system. Are they able to easily layout the live camera views that they want to see, can they find recorded video and export it if needed? These are valuable insights into how well the surveillance software will perform for you and your company.
2. Ability to quickly retrieve video and easily export to CD, DVD or Flash Drive.
The ability to find stored video quickly and export it to an external device is essential. Finding stored video needs to be quick and easy. Say you are looking for video of an incident that took place between 7am and 8am on Monday morning. You need to know how easy is it to begin reviewing that specific time frame and how quickly you can find what you’re looking for. Ask about the number of steps necessary to perform this common and simple task. The more steps, the more complicated the software. A quality system will allow you to export video in 3 to 5 clicks of a mouse. If it takes more than that, the system most likely is too complex for standard users.
3. How fast can you find video?
The problem with most demonstrations is that they are canned sales presentation. They don’t represent real life situations in which you the user have to actually use the software. So how long does it take to find an incident? Obviously there are some variables. First, what is the time frame in which the incident occurred? If you are looking for something that happened in the last hour or two most systems are going to be able to find the video fairly quickly. But what if you had something happen over the weekend and now it’s Wednesday. Better yet, what if a valuable piece of equipment goes missing, let’s say sometime in the last three weeks? Find out what features during the demonstration the software does to enhance your searching efforts in this type of search. These are the searches that really matter and the ones that can really produce a return on your security system investment.
A camera surveillance system can be expensive so make sure you know what you’re getting before it’s installed. Paying careful attention to the above 3 key areas during a demonstration can save you a lot of money and frustration.