How much does one need to know to create one’s own surveillance system? How much effort is required to make it both functional and effective? Finally, how much would it cost? If you were to ask these questions a decade ago, the answer to all of them would have been simply “a lot”. Yet, time and technology managed to morph it into a “surprisingly little”. This article will prove that as fact.
Where to start? First of all, think of what your surveillance system is supposed to protect. Your home, your business (a store, a warehouse, an office)? Does it cover a big territory? This is going to be the cornerstone for everything, because any surveillance depends heavily on the terrain. But either way, your main points of interest are doors and windows. If at least one of them is not under surveillance, you are running a risk of being burgled. Doubting what cameras to choose for the task? There is nothing hard about that.
|Now, the cameras need a server – a hub they are all connected to. While it’s possible to use SD cards for saving your footage, unfortunately, they are easily accessible from the camera itself. A burglar can simply take the footage with him or destroy the evidence on the spot. A server is a much more secure solution: even if the camera is completely busted the footage is safe on the server (you can keep a copy of it in a cloud for even stronger security). The price tag for a server dedicated specifically to surveillance often serves as a deterring factor for a manager on a budget. Thankfully, technology provides an elegant solution to that as well – microcomputers. They are small, cost-effective and powerful enough to process information from the cameras. Their only noticeable weakness is a compatible OS – usually it’s Linux. This is an important factor for the next step in building your surveillance system.|
|With this decided, it’s time to move on to software. There is plenty to choose from but if you are using different camera models, naturally, you would want your software to work well with all of them. If your system is Linux-based (Ubuntu server is the most popular), you may run into troubles trying to find software that is compatible with it. Those are few and far between. Microcomputers are especially prone to that. With all this in mind, your best bet is Xeoma (works with nearly all cameras, on most OSs, Ubuntu server included).|
And that is all you need: cameras, server, software. As you see, there is nothing particularly difficult or expensive about building a decent security system nowadays.
19 September 2016
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