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The CSI Journal

I need a security quote!

By Colonnade Security Inc.

Today, customers know what they want and need to protect their home or business, but do they. Some customers have some idea of the costs associated with their proposed project. Others have no idea at all. Others busily search online to find products or a company that will price a product they find interesting. They request a quote, knowing they have no interest in getting the actual work done. They want to find out the price!

There are many examples one can address with online shopping, and security systems are no exception – it’s buyer beware. Many companies offer a package price that can easily quote online without a critical site visit. Something large Telco or Cable Companies are actively known for. It’s much easier to offer a blind quote, a package-priced security system – you’re responsible for the installation and the equipment maintenance. Here is another catch, you may not own the equipment; you might be renting it from the Telco or Cable company. What could be easier for them to sell online and then ship it to you, and then you install it. All the while, you will be under their monitoring agreement. At some point, you will have to ship it back to them and pay for the wear and tear of their product. Read the fine print. No one will give you something for nothing. Certainly not a Telco Company or Cable Company.

Are you looking for video surveillance?

With CCTV systems, products vary by the build quality, image quality, feature set, simplicity of use, and system integration availability. Each alarm security system requires a site visit to determine what product is compatible. Who knows, that video camera you purchased for your existing alarm system might not work. It is a fundamental problem because some customers do not want you to come to their location; they simply want a price. Customers see CCTV systems at the local BestBuy, Walmart, or Costco and figure that they can get the same or similar system for their house or small business – We need to talk!

A Doorbell camera is another example. You set these up to connect to the customer’s Internet hub using WiFi technology. A company can provide a quote over the phone, and roughly 90% of the quotations received might be accurate.

Some CCTV systems will also use this type of technology (WiFi), but a customer needs to understand that the CCTV system still needs to be wired to a power source. A battery-operated camera system will drive a person crazy because they will need to change the batteries every week. The cost and time associated with this battery issue will defeat any minor cost savings you may think you have to use the product. Then there is the camera footage, storage, and playback quality. Uploading high-definition video to a cloud, for example, takes a lot of bandwidth. If your WiFi and your Internet service can not support high-speed upload, you may lose vital frames or lose your recording entirely when the system is down. A professional CCTV video Camera System records video up to 4K; include night vision and you will have monthly costs associated with recording to and uploading proxies to the cloud.

Remotely monitor your home or business from the convenience of your smart phone.

Consider This

Further to this discussion, a professional CCTV video Camera System is hardwired. Meaning a wire is run for each camera back to a Network Video Recorder (NVR) unit. The storage capacity is based on the unit size, the number of cameras deployed, the resolution, the recorded video’s compression ratio, and the remote features a customer is interested in. Basic 1TB of memory to 100TB can be purchased . The (NVR) unit needs to be hardwired to the Internet provider’s router, enabling the customer to view the camera system online from a computer or smart device.

The issue is time, installation time, and there is no escaping it. A professional CCTV video Camera System takes time to install. Wires need to be run through the home or business. Either along the wall’s surface, or hidden in the walls, or under the trim or baseboards.

Then there is the cost of the cameras themselves. Most systems nowadays use 4K cameras. But not all 4K Camera systems are the same. You can have a commercial grade system, a residential system or a below-average system. The installation is the same, and it still takes the same amount of time to do the wiring for each camera on the system. In the end, it is all about the picture quality.

Imagine this scenario; you have a 4K video camera mounted outside, it is a hot day, you believe the camera is working fine, and you decide you want to check the footage. You log into the admin page and… no video. Why, the camera is overheating – cheap components. Or the camera is frozen due to the harsh Canadian winters.

In another scenario, something happens, and you need to show a video to your insurance agent. Still, the video footage is too grainy, and it’s hard to make out the person you’re trying to identify.

Video surveillance camera

I often say you can watch the same TV programs on any TV. You can buy a quality brand TV or you can buy an unknown brand from a discount store that sells other items like clothes, shoes, appliances, and some auto parts. You can still watch TV, but you will not benefit from clear picture quality or enhanced resolution. And in the end, that is something the customer has to decide; what are the trade-offs?

Carl Waddell

A vast majority of consumers, as mentioned earlier, shop for items, including alarm security products, online. Depending on the site, you might find a price for a base starter system, not a quality system, but one using cheap components. These systems can be purchased online and are available in a kit for a do-it-yourself–install. You then have to subscribe to what is referred to as a video service to activate video functionality. Some DIY-type people have no problem with this kind of scenario; they understand the inherent issues. If not prepared, what happens when a device is defective, or the alarm system needs servicing? To address the issue, you need to send the faulty parts back to the company yourself for service. Maybe even call a 1-800 number to call for help. In the end, you installed it and are responsible for all aspects of the installation.

To avoid this scenario, call Colonnade Security, we’re a full-service alarm installation company.

We will not sell you a low-quality system; our reputation is at stake. A quality security system needs to be installed by a professional. There are false alarm bylaws in most locations, and as such, a do-it-yourself kit is not the way to go. In some cities their Alarm By-Laws are strict about the services you can use. It is best to find out before you buy a kit and sign a contract.

The same goes for a quality camera system that will last you many years of worry-free service. An average or low-cost system might work for a while, issues will arise, and you may not be able to get parts, order the same model, or repair or replace the security system component. In the end, your low-end product is no longer available, and you must now buy a new version of the system. These low cost mass produced systems are made for quick sale and not longevity of product life.

Does it make that much of a difference?

Commercial grade systems are required by stores, warehouses, high-security locations like an Embassy or high-end homes because they need a quality video to see what happens in an incident. Most likely the box store you buy these low end products in will have their own quality camera system installed by a professional, it’s not a DIY installation. In the event of a security breach, they need to show a video of the incident to the Police or the authorities and hope they can use it to solve the crime. In the end, what should be of utmost importance is the video quality. These same-store locations do not use the CCTV products they sell because they require quality systems themselves – Did you catch that? BestBuy, Walmart, or Costco, do not use the CCTV systems they sell as their security system. They purchase a system from a professional Alarm Security Company.

Suppose a consumer simply wants a deterrent system, or wants someone to think they have a camera system on their house or in their business. Some have installed fake or dummy cameras. It might have a motion activated LED light in the device when you walk by. It will have a false video lens with an active red dot at the bottom to give the allusion you are being recorded on video. Be careful, when using these dummy cameras. Whether you realize it not, someone has the impression they are being watched. Someone has the impression they are safe. Someone has the impression they are being recorded. It’s a false sense of security that you are providing and that could come back against you if a crime takes place on your property. Especially if you have a sign stating, Video Surveillance, or you are being watched.

These are some examples of what you do not want to do. But if they want a real security system or CCTV installation – Call Colonnade Security Inc.

At Colonnade Security Inc., we have the knowledge, the installation experience, and the wisdom to know with any problem; there is always a solution. Our 40+ years of installing Alarm Security Systems in residential and business environments is a true testament of our business model with many satisfied clients.

Call CSI today for a FREE quote for a Security System or CCTV System you require.

At Colonnade Security Inc.; we do not lease or rent alarm security systems. If you are considering a finance option, we are here for you. With over 40 years of security experience, give Colonnade Security Inc., in Ottawa a try.

For more information, you can call 613-839-1274 or email inquires@colonnadesecurity.com

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