Remote surveillance is an electronic system that enables users to access their surveillance systems via the Internet or a cellular network from any location around the world. Digital technology has made it possible to stream video images and audio clips captured by surveillance cameras which is then recorded and stored on a computer hard drive.
Affordable digital surveillance technology means that remote surveillance systems are now widely available and no longer just popular with large corporations. Many people use these systems to monitor their homes, offices and small businesses while they are away.
Many of these remote surveillance systems come with features that allow users to customize the program to suit their particular needs. The motion sensor is a good example of a feature that can be used to save space on a hard drive. This motion sensor is triggered by movement and recording starts only when motion is detected. This means the hard drive isn't filled with endless recordings of an empty room.
Remote surveillance systems can also be hooked up to an alarm system which, when triggered, causes the surveillance system to begin recording. The system then either begins broadcasting to a remote computer or sends still images, via e-mail, captured by the cameras at the time the alarm was triggered.
Disadvantages of remote surveillance systems for video and audio footage
The main problem with remote surveillance is information security. When video or audio footage is sent over the Internet it is subject to all the same privacy issues as any other data on the Internet. One way to combat this is to use a virtual private network (VPN) which is basically like private network within the Internet. While wireless cellular networks are generally more secure, bandwidth restrictions mean that the quality of the images are compromised.
When buying a remote surveillance system it is wise to invest in as large a hard drive as is reasonably possible. Large corporations would have a number of equally large hard drives in order to store months worth of surveillance footage. However, for the average homeowner 40GB would be enough to hold two weeks worth of recordings. How much disk space is needed depends on resolution, duration of the recording, compression, number of frames per second and the number of cameras used.
Digital video recording (DVR) devices are used to compress video images so they can be stored on the computer hard drive. DVRs can come as part of a complete system that includes motion sensors, CCTV connections and a software package. These complete system packages can cost from $400 to $7000 and can come with four, eight or sixteen cameras.