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Why using old phones and other cameras can't compete with proper CCTV cameras when it comes to security

Why You Should Invest In A Real Security Camera Instead of Your Smartphone

Security cameras have come a long way, both in style and function, since they were invented way back in 1942. Technology continues to advance every day, bringing along new ideas and innovations. But are some of these new technologies better in the long run?

Different Types of Security Cameras

There are a few main of security cameras in use today. The more traditional security systems most often include a CCTV camera of some kind, usually a PTZ camera. CCTV, which has been in use since 1942, stands for closed-circuit television and refers to a security system in which the camera's signal is transmitted only to a specific place, rather than openly transmitted like a broadcast signal. CCTV cameras also operate only on a set number of monitors. There are many different types of cameras that fall under the category of CCTV systems, but the most often utilized type of camera happens to be PTZ. PTZ stands for pan-tilt-zoom, a type of camera that can be controlled remotely to change directions or zoom in and out. A more advanced PTZ camera, often called a virtual PTZ, can pan and zoom digitally for a better look at an image without the camera ever physically moving. These cameras are most popular as security cameras, but also find use in television production and long-distance education.

When it comes to securing both homes and businesses, the use of some type of CCTV camera has long been the norm. Recently, however, there's been a push to use more unconventional means for home and business security. DIY, or do-it-yourself, projects have rapidly become the favored method of fulfilling any and all unmet needs. From crafting furniture to building entire houses, people prefer the hands-on, and often cheaper, process of doing things themselves instead of buying a product or hiring a service. This is as true for security systems as it is for home decor and construction. The most recent trend in security systems has been to turn old smart phones into security cameras.


On the surface, it's easy to see why the thought of DIYing a security camera would be appealing. Smart phones are no longer viewed as a luxury, but as a necessity. Phones today are capable of performing a large variety of tasks, both mundane and important. So much so, in fact, that people trust their smart phones with every aspect of their lives, including their security. People will often choose to work with technology they are already familiar with, rather than invest in new systems that might take some getting used to. It may also seem like the cheaper option, using an object most people have lying around in their homes already instead of paying the upfront cost of an entirely new camera and security system, plus the installation fees. Another appealing factor is the use of recycling. Many people try their best to make environmentally conscious decisions in their day to day life and the world at large has become aware of the environmental impact of consumerism.

The process of converting a cell phone into a security camera is relatively easy as well. All it requires is the phone, a charging cable, access to wifi, and the right app. A person who wishes to convert their phone into a security camera only has to connect the phone to the internet and a charging cable, position the phone wherever they see fit, and install any one of dozens of available apps that will although the person to remotely monitor the video feed. The whole process is a lot more simple than installing a traditional video camera.

The Downside

Technology, like all things, has a downside. Although repurposing an old smart phone into a makeshift security system may seem like an effective way to subvert cost and be more environmentally conscious, there are a few reasons why it might not be the best idea all around. No matter how sophisticated the system, nothing is bulletproof.

A DIY smart phone security system relies on access to wireless internet or wifi in order to operate and anything that works on wifi is prone to hacking. Hacking is the process of using technology, usually a computer, to gain access to the data on a system the hacker is not authorized to access. This puts the entire system and all of its data at risk.

It might seem improbable that a security camera would be hacked into, but it's more common than most people realize. For instance, in recent years there have been quite a few incidents where digital baby monitors, especially those with video surveillance, have been hacked. Families would be spied on and often times parents would find that the hacker would be speaking to their children through the system. The terrifying reality has prompted many parents to abandon digital systems altogether. It's not out of the realm of possibility that other wireless security camera systems would be prone to hacking.

In addition to their susceptibility to being hacked, smart phone security cameras are less practical than they initially appear. The cameras that are programmed into most smart phones are not as sophisticated or advanced as cameras designed for the purpose of security monitoring. Picture quality will be greatly reduced as well as the amount of space that the camera is capable of monitoring, particularly if it is being compared to a PTZ camera. A stagnant camera that is incapable of moving or adjusting is not as effective as a camera that can be controlled and repositioned remotely. The smart phone will have to be positioned very carefully in order to capture as much of the room as possible. In some cases, more than one phone will be needed in order to monitor the entire space, and that only accounts for one room, not an entire home or business. Users will also have to take into account the physical needs of the phone. Phone batteries are not designed to last long and the phone will need to be connected to a continuous power source. This can drastically limit where the phone can be set up.

Benefits of Traditional Security Cameras

There are quite a few reasons why investing in a security camera, in general, is a good idea for any home or business. To start with, a security camera system that provides round-the-clock monitoring of the entire building will produce and store a lot of data about what happens in and around that building on a daily basis. This is helpful in a few ways. First, a continuous record of all that data is being kept in case someone needs to go back through it for specific information. Second, that record can be helpful in the event that something happens. Evidence of the event has already been gathered and stored, ready to be used however it's needed. Lastly, this record can help business owners detect patterns in how both their employees and their customers behave. This can help a business owner fix issues that contribute to low productivity or determine how they can more easily draw in customers.

Cameras that are installed in clear, visible locations are known to be a crime deterrent. Criminals are wary of having their faces appear on camera where they can easily be identified and will usually avoid vandalizing or robbing a home or business with security cameras installed outside. Some people will even put up fake cameras for this reason, although a fully functional security camera is a much wiser investment than one that doesn't work. A security camera can also be cost-effective. Some insurance companies will improve the customer's insurance rates based on the fact that they have installed security cameras on their property. The insurance provider considers it to be less risky with the security cameras installed.

Although it may be tempting to save on costs by turning an old phone into a makeshift camera, utilizing a real security camera is a much better investment in the long run. A CCTV or PTZ camera will provide better quality, more data, and stronger, tighter security all around.






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