What Should I Include In A Camera Design Package?

I am curious what you would expect to find in a camera design package?

A local community has asked my client for a security camera design package and I would like to do a "nice" job so here is what i was thinking.

  • Topographical layout
  • Performance Specification - ppf for each camera, recording setup for NVR, else?
  • Parking Lot Lighting Layout?
  • 3D Views?
  • Anything else???

Jason, good question.

I think, unfortunately, the 'average' job is a 1 page quote with the model numbers obscured.

If you did everything on your list, that would be pretty impressive. Ultimately, though, it comes down to how much time / money you want to spend on doing these things.

Related, see our webinar on 3D Camera Design and for a fast / professional powerpoint design, consider using our IPVM Camera Calculator Presentations.

IMO, the goal is to provide something that answers the customer's questions and helps illustrate how the package will solve their problems.

The stuff you laid out is common, but it probably varies based on the application.

John, it would be nice to see the stats on the average job of one page quote; poll? I think a one page floor would be an automatic include unless the one that is providing the quote is the the installer too (Possible with smaller shops). At most, maybe 2?

Our video surveillance proposal template is three pages with most of the jargon (Introduction, Project Objective, Scope of Work, Warranty, Constraints, and Legal related information) included. With a few changes of customer name and pricing, I can get a quote out the door in about 30 - 60 minutes after the site walk for a 4 camera system. We require a site walk for all customers no matter how small the job or system appears to be (This is mainly for the installer[s]).

Most of the work on the quote is a "just in case" a competitor coming in with just a quote of just price. I think a quote stands out if there is an Intro, SOW, etc; it shows the customer you took a little bit more time than the other guy. A bid job is automatic 3 to (x) pages, but our standard is 3 pages. We include pictures of the equipment, but no model numbers or specifications; most customer could careless unless it is a bid proposal from an RFP.

Never short change the quality of your work just to get a quote out the door, be better than the competitor!

Good Luck; Aloha!

"John, it would be nice to see the stats on the average job of one page quote; poll?"

Billy, thanks. I think this is worth a survey to get more detailed responses / color on what people do. I've put it in queue.

"My Client" implies you are a sub-contractor, and the local community is not your direct client, true?

Are you inadvertently educating your potential competitor?

I believe the consensus on this forum is HOA's should be avoided, unless their paying for specific consulting and recommendation services.

If you're doing this, betting on the come, then I'd suggest you limit yourself to providing basic education on available options to the decision makers while learning just what their concerns are and why.

I strongly recommend you charge something for your written and confidential recommendations. Given the nature of security, I'd include a mutually binding non-disclosure agreement to indicate you take your responsibilities seriously. Charge anything you wish, but first establish yourself as a paid professional, and not a re-seller, and do not discount that fee from future equipment or integration work.

Phase I - would include;

Basic Video Education about technical capabilities of video systems including;
IR, WDR, Installation Suggestions, coverage recommendations, and image quality PPF stuff.

Specific Recommendations (sans equipment) to address their concerns.
example - they wish to identify cars or people that drive or walk into the neighborhood.
Suggest the best location to place cameras to capture the color and/or license plates. Explain LPR vs. visual capturing plates.

Perhaps explain Analytics to capture people, and the ease of finding and locating both cars or people using analytic searches vs. motion detect searches.

Your Phase I document has no specific equipment recommendations..... You really don't know enough, and can quickly put yourself into a commodity sale.

Phase I should include establishing a budget.

Phase II - Technical recommendations
With a budget, you can determine if this is a real project of a "BFH" begging for help.

Again, charge something for specific equipment recommendations. $99 or $1,000 establishes that you and your recommendations have value.

I believe the consensus on this forum is HOA's should be avoided, unless their paying for specific consulting and recommendation services.

Really? When did the forum reach that conclusion?

consensus - retracted, however , search "HOA" and find more that 1 comment like

"Home Owner Associations. While they've been plentiful they are a pain in the butt to deal with. Constant haggling, take's an eternity to make a decision, always someone on the board with an ego who's an "expert" or knows someone who's an expert in the business"

A local community has asked my client for a security camera design package and I would like to do a "nice" job so here is what i was thinking.

Why are you doing "the clients" work? Why did they not ask you directly?

Let me further explain... It is a commercial building project and the community planning commission is requiring new projects to have a properly designed system and the design on file. I am being compensated for my time.

Please avoid the big brother range of emotions that might overtake you on this subject.

Terrific sounding project.

Using your tool of choice, I'd provide overlay views of recommended camera locations, accompanied by explaining the reason these locations address their concerns. Assuming there is a public and private space component, I'd provide samples of how the camera views can have "MASKS" to block seeing into private business windows, and provide examples of image quality and vms features. The message is they have to balance image quality with the coverage areas and the number of installed cameras.

A great example of too many cameras is one of the areas premier luxury car dealers have a parapet mount dome camera every 25' around their showroom. It is horrible looking for such a high end brand.

No offense, but who decides if your recommendations are "a properly designed system?"

proposed views

Developed In-House.

No offense taken. The planning commission who is made up average citizens charged with the task of nit picking and increasing the costs for everyone who wants to do business in their community.

What software created the image in your post? I have used REVIT and IPVM's for other projects.

There are number of factors to consider in the term "Design Package." If the design package is being done gratis, I think it is natural that there may be less features to the package than if it was being done for a fee for example by an independent consultant. In the latter case of a consultant's design package, it would likely include a Division 28 specification supported by a number of typical drawings (e.g., title sheet, site plans, floor plans, schedules (with a lot of detail about each camera and the required performance) a riser diagram and installation typical details. The failure to include all of the required information leaves much to chance and a lot of interpretation that can either delight or disappoint (more frequently the case) the end user. There are upwards of 15 data points that need to be collected and analyzed when specifying a camera for a project and if any of these are omitted, the performance of the system overall will be impacted. When someone tries to get something for free, they more often than not get what they pay for...

Frank - you got me!

I gotta know what your 15 data points are?

Frank - I am intrgiued as well.

Brian - you didn't teach me this in the IPVM camera class :)

I'm not sure which 15 points are on Frank's checklist, but I am confident our classes indeed properly equip members to specify the right cameras! :)

Assuming that someone is specifying, someone else is selling and installing:

  • Site location
  • Building/Floor
  • Drawing/Sheet #
  • Location Description
  • Observation Description and Field of view
  • Horizontal field of view at the far edge
  • Resolution required, frames per second (informs bandwidth and storage)
  • Mounting location
  • Connectivity (e.g., wired, type of wire, wireless)
  • Run to location
  • Accessories required (e.g., surge, media converters)
  • New lens information
  • GPS coordinates (for exterior location)
  • Recorder server room location
  • Form Factor
  • Existing or new camera
  • Additional features (e.g., vandal resistant, WDR, IR Illumination)
  • Integration required (e.g., assessment of alarm)
  • Camera power
  • Lighting
  • Resiliency required (e.g. back up power, fail over on the server)

Sorry, I was a little short when I said 15. This is only for the camera generally; I like Oleksiy's analysis for the head end.

Thank you.

Note: We have a 20+ point Surveillance Camera Specification Guide here.

Now if someone takes the time to pull all of this together into a nice tidy form, they can rule the VMS world!! Thanks John.

Typical Surveillance Design Project documentation passed to customer:

Technical Assignment signed by customer - describe precisely what they want. Typically created by integrator and corrected and signed by customer. This document prevent future problems with misunderstanding and project changes while on the go...

Technical Project signed by both parties. Technical Project is a response document to TA and respond to a question "how we will complete the project and customer's wishes". Chapters should be included:

  • Location(s) description. Description of considerations made by designer (low light levels, large windows, long hallways and so on)
  • Camera full specs and camera-location matching with answers "why this camera"
  • Physical camera placement topography with coverage areas (floor plans)
  • Network topology scheme (IP addressing, VLANs, routing if needed)
  • Network equipment specs and configuration (POE budgets, rack placement and so on)
  • Security considerations. (why vandal-resistant, masking, alarm triggers, network security)
  • VMS specs and basic parameters configuration (disks, backups, network, logs, cooling needed)
  • VMS roles and responsibilities (access rights matrix)
  • System continuity considerations (power overall budget, UPS's in place, power loss situations, recovery procedures)
  • Project timeline (who will do what and how long - Gantt Chart or OPPM Excel chart)

May be I've missed something... Please comment

"May be I've missed something... Please comment"

Yes, you did

Where do I buy all this shit, so I don't have to hire you :)


Where do I buy all this shit, so I don't have to hire you :)

You'll love Costco. They have a lot of shit.

I am generally not in favor of people commenting undisclosed, although a few have a valid reason.

Undisclosed 1, you should absolutely continue to do so. Sober up. This is what it looks like when you mix alcohol with the internet.

Undisclosed 1, you should absolutely continue to do so. Sober up.

Such behavior gives Undisclosed's a bad name. ;)

I do missed...

Physical cabling topology, labeling standard and testing requirements.

we've been doing it all wrong.

Having never spec'd and not also sold, installed, and supported, we've skipped a lot of steps.
Having never worked from another firms specs, we've never looked for many of these steps.

We're simpletons.

client tells us their troubles, concerns, and budgets, now being on same page, we educate client on "video capabilities and limitations."
The theme of our interview is based upon three available technologies
1. Motion Detection
2. Video Analytics
3. 3rd party detection, PIR, Thermal, Loops, etc...

Where, When, and at What distance do you wish to detect a person or vehicle?
(detect means the scene is recorded, but you cannot accurately identify the car or person.)
Aside from recording the scene, is there something the system must do?
Send email, turn on light, buzzer, get beer?

Where, When, and at What distance do you wish to be able to Observe the activities or people and vehicles. (observe means that under normal daylight hours, you would be able to determine the color of cloths, cars, and the general actions of a person. (they hit the other person first)
the car hit another car, they moved.) The person was light skin, red shirt... something in their hand. Aside from recording the scene, is there something the system must do?
Send email, turn on light, buzzer, get beer?

Where, When, and at what distance do you wish to be able to recognize someone you already know and their actions? people that already know this person will recognize their walk, facial traits, color of skin, mannerisms, cloths etc...

Where, When, and at what distance to you wish to be able to accurately identify a person. someone that does not know the person will be able to accurately match that persons face with another photograph 100% of the time, from live or recorded video. For cars, this distance defines the ability to get at least 50% of the LPR characters...

If we can all agree to these conditions, we're happy to provide recommendations, and overview layouts of camera placements,

Andrew, please tone down the sarcasm.

John - really!

After "You'll love Costco. They have a lot of shit."

I get called on the carpet for "we've been doing it all wrong."

Followed by some very useful sales tactics that have kept us in business, with extremely profitable sales, and wonderfully educated and satisfied customers.

Can we simply delete my entire post?

Opps - more sarcasm.

I am not happy with the 'lot of shit' comment either but I'd rather one line of sarcasm than 10 paragraphs. Let's leave it at that and move on.

No clue what your "10 paragraphs" refers to, but humor is a significant part of many posts. Cleary my opening line was a follow up to, "You got me" along with Jason's supportive statement, and subtle pokes at IPVM, followed by and preceded with substitute sales material.

Am I being targeted as one of the remaining Avigilon Dealers?

Gotta be something - kinda B.S. As I share valuable information well with context of a thread.

Andrew, we're not against Avigilon. We have them ranked in the top 5 of every favorites report we released in the past month.

We are against your style of sarcasm, attack and relentless bickering. This is your last warning. Let it go and comment another day. Continue with this and you will be banned.

I offend only you. please close the account.

"please close the account."