CCTV installation is, nine times out of ten, not a straightforward job. Every site is different and every customer has a different set of requirements.
In many circumstances remote monitoring is recommended for enhanced security with 24/7 (or when required) surveillance from professionals. And in those circumstances there are a number of factors installers must keep in mind when completing a new installation or an upgrade.
We’ve pulled together our top 12 CCTV installation tips from the perspective of remote monitoring experts here at our alarm receiving centre and remote monitoring station. The below will help ensure CCTV systems are installed to the standard required for effective remote monitoring whilst also making the installation process as smooth and seamless as possible – for both you and your customers:
CCTV installation tips: connecting to the remote monitoring station and alarm receiving centre
1. Stay on schedule
More often than not there is a lead-time in place for new or updated CCTV systems to be connected to a remote monitoring station.
At Farsight, for example, we require information to be sent across 24 hours before you arrive on site to connect the security systems to the remote monitoring station.
It’s important you’re aware of these timelines and deadlines and that the customer is also kept up to date. They will need to provide you with information, so making them aware of the timings will help keep everything running to schedule.
2. Know the commissioning process
Every remote monitoring station and alarm receiving centre has a different commissioning process. As we’ve already mentioned, information often needs to be sent to the station at least 24 hours before you arrive on site to commission a CCTV system.
With this in mind, it’s always worth familiarising yourself with the requirements of the remote monitoring station well before you plan to commission the site. It can often be simple things, such as compatibility of equipment with the remote monitoring station’s software, that can cause issues – but which could have been addressed in advance.
We’ve worked hard to make our commissioning process as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Find out more about our commissioning process.
CCTV installation tips: the basics
3. Blind spots
It’s a basic requirement of security systems. CCTV cameras should be capturing footage from key areas of a site – not leaving blind spots in vulnerable areas where an intrusion could go undetected.
Check for blind spots by working closely with the remote monitoring station. Whilst you’re on site, commissioning the security system, do a walk test with an operator based at the remote monitoring station. This is a simple test, which involves you walking around a site and the operator confirming whether or not they are able to see you using footage from the CCTV cameras.
If the operator cannot see you, you’ve detected a blind spot and the security system may need to be tweaked.
4. Know who to go to for technical support
It’s one of the big challenges of being a security systems installer: you consistently encounter new technology. As a result you need to stay up to speed with how the technology works and it’s often not as simple as reading a manual – as many might expect.
Different technology works differently depending to sites. Beyond that you may have to consider integrating new technology – either hardware or software – with legacy systems. This throws up a whole new range of hurdles you may have to overcome.
When you’re on site you will want to deal with technical issues quickly. You don’t want to be stood on the phone, on hold, trying to find out why a camera won’t connect.
Often remote monitoring stations and alarm receiving centres will be able to offer technical support to installers. We certainly do here at Farsight. We have created numerous ‘crib sheets’ that run through the installation and common technical issues with a range of major security devices.
Although the manufacturer can often help with technical issues too, it’s always worth asking your chosen remote monitoring station first. At Farsight we’ll always do our best to deal with your query quickly and endeavour to put you in contact with the same operator each time you call during an installation.
11. Signage and maintenance
Follow up any installation with a conversation with the customer. Make sure they’re aware of the regulations surrounding CCTV, for example that they must have a ‘CCTV in use’ sign displayed.
Here at Farsight we provide free CCTV signs, which include additional information to deter criminals.
In addition, although you will have hopefully secured a maintenance contract following the installation or integration, it’s still important to communicate to the customer how they can look after their CCTV system too. A key step in the installation process is after-care; it can make all the difference to a site’s security.
12. Stay up to date with standards, regulations and safety
Make sure you stay up to date with health and safety, CCTV regulations and standards, to ensure the installations you complete are fully compliant. Not only does this make the system compliant, but it inevitably makes it easier to monitor.
It can be tricky to stay on top of what seems like an ever-changing field of regulations but this IFSEC guide is helpful and many other industry publishers and magazines have similar resources that are kept updated.
Although these tips are focussed on the installation of remotely monitored CCTV systems there’s a huge amount of information freely available that offers further guidance to security installers. For example, the BSIA also have a whole host of information on installation best practice and regulations here.