Small School Video Surveillance Recommendations

By: John Honovich, Published on Oct 27, 2009

What's the best video surveillance solution for a small school? Schools are a fast growing market for video surveillance and one of the most successful markets for IP video.

In this report, we examine the needs of an actual school and examine what solution would fit best.

[Update: The report now features 40 comments discussing and debating a variety of options. While using IP cameras with storage built-in was attractive, the two best fits for the school are likely to be (A) a mixture of analog and megapixel cameras connected to a hybrid DVR or (B) all IP cameras with free software loaded on a 'normal' PC.]

Background of the School

This US elementary school does not currently have a video surveillance system. Driven by recent vandalism problems, the school would like to add a moderate amount of surveillance video.

The school is independent and the system does not need to be integrated with other campuses.

School Staff

Like many smaller schools, the school does not have full time security staff. They do have in-house IT expertise and a Gigabit LAN with ports in each classroom. They plan to monitor their own system.

With their in-house IT expertise, they are open to installing the system themselves.

School Building and Camera Coverage

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

The school is a 3 story building with dimensions approximately 150' x 105' (40 meters wide by 30 meters long).

The school is planning for 10 surveillance cameras. The school notes:

"It would require probably 5 outdoor cameras and 5 indoor cameras.  Indoor would be 1 in gym that would cover the whole gym, one in the main entrance, one at the stairs to the second floor, one looking down the long hall where the classrooms are and one between the cafeteria and kitchen covering the cafeteria.  Outdoor would need to cover main entrance looking toward the main road, in the back covering the a/c units and back door, in the front covering the door and exterior stairs, and probably two on the long side - one covering the a/c units and one at the other end covering the door there."

Local Bids

The school has received multiple bids from local installers to provide 11 analog cameras, a DVR with 500 GB storage, monitor and full installation. The average bid is $6,000 USD. While the bids do not specify the make or model of the equipment, given the price, it is likely entry level/ lower quality products.

Key Concerns

From talking with the school, here are a few key concerns:

  • Price: While price is not the only concern, it is a key one. It is unlikely that the school will want to spend more than the price of the bids it has received from local installers for analog systems.
  • Resolution: Using analog cameras for the outdoor monitoring and gymnasium likely will not deliver sufficient quality needed to identify people.
  • Cabling: Since the school already has network drops in each classroom, IP could reduce the cost of buying and installing cabling. However, the additional cost of the IP cameras may offset these costs. Also, there are only 2 drops in each classroom and these are currently used for academic purposes.

Potential Options

Here are a few potential options given the school's key issues:

  • All analog: Go with one of the existing local bids recognizing the risks of insufficient resolution or the need to add more cameras in the future to increase coverage.
  • Hybrid approach: A hybrid approach could be used combining an analog encoder card or hybrid DVR with some analog cameras (for the hallways) and IP megapixel for the gymnasium and outdoors. This would keep the cost of hallway cameras low but will be more expensive for the hybrid DVR (compared to free single vendor IP solution).
  • Single Vendor IP Solution: A single vendor IP solution would allow for megapixel cameras, free IP video software and flexibility in storage and computer selection. A downside is that the indoor analog cameras for the hallway would be significantly more money. Also, the school would be limited to the camera selection of that vendor and the functionality of the single vendor's free IP video software which tends to be less capable than open IP video software.
  • Multiple Vendor IP Solution: A multiple vendor IP solution would likely provide the highest quality IP video software and the flexibility to choose the best IP cameras from a variety of manufacturers. However, the IP video software will likely cost $1,000 while the single vendor IP software is free.

What Do You Recommend?

Related Reports

2020 Video Surveillance Cameras State Of The Market on Jan 03, 2020
Each year, IPVM explains the main advances and changes for video surveillance...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the...
Video Surveillance Business 101 on Mar 30, 2020
This report explains the fundamental elements of the video surveillance...
NetApp Video Surveillance Profile on Mar 09, 2020
NetApp is increasing its efforts in video surveillance and told IPVM...
IP Networking Course Fall 2020 - Last Chance - Register Now on Sep 23, 2020
Today is the last chance to register for the only IP networking course...
Budget Covert Cameras Tested on Nov 26, 2019
Covert cameras under $100 are widely available online but are they any...
Camera Course Summer 2020 - Last Chance on Jul 18, 2020
This is your last chance to register for the Summer 2020 Camera Course. This...
Startup XNOR.ai, Inventors of YOLO, Video Surveillance Plans Examined on Sep 24, 2019
YOLO is arguably the most discussed and hyped computer vision model today....
Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in...
Directory of 96 Video Surveillance Startups on May 20, 2020
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 27, 2020
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2020, with more and more...
Video Surveillance Architecture 101 on Feb 18, 2020
Video surveillance can be designed and deployed in a number of ways. This 101...
The 2020 Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Dec 20, 2019
The 300-page, 2020 Video Surveillance Industry Guide covers the key events...
Video Surveillance 101 Book Released on Jul 07, 2020
IPVM's unique introduction to video surveillance series is now available as a...
Video Surveillance Trends 101 on Apr 01, 2020
This report examines major industry factors and how they could impact video...

Recent Reports

FaceFirst Problems And Layoff on Oct 01, 2020
FaceFirst, a US company and one of the oldest ongoing facial recognition...
Ava / Vaion Releases Cloud Connected IP Cameras, Verkada Competitor on Oct 01, 2020
Ava (formerly Vaion) announced its new direct-to-cloud AVA Aware IP cameras...
Single Frame Gait Recognition From Michigan State and Osaka University Examined on Oct 01, 2020
Gait recognition has the potential for accurate identification at a distance,...
CDW Sells School District 36 Low-Res, No Blackbody Hikvision Fever Cameras With Federal Funds on Oct 01, 2020
Mega IT distributor CDW sold low-resolution Hikvision fever cameras with no...
Temperature Tablet Shootout - Dahua, Hikvision, ZKTeco, TVT + 5 More on Sep 30, 2020
Temperature tablets, aka terminal or stations, have emerged as a 'low-cost...
New Products Show Fall 2020 Concluded on Sep 30, 2020
IPVM's sixth online show has concluded. The first 2 days of recorded videos...
ButterflyMX Raises $35 Million on Sep 30, 2020
Startup ButterflyMX has raised $35 million for its smartphone based intercom...
Worst Access Control Manufacturers 2020 on Sep 30, 2020
200+ Integrators told IPVM "In the past year, what access control...
Access Control Levels and Schedules Tutorial on Sep 29, 2020
Configuring access levels and setting up schedules is central to maintaining...
Avigilon / Motorola VS Virtual ISC West on Sep 29, 2020
ISC West has historically been so dominant that no player would think of...
Dartmouth College Deploys K3 Temperature Screening on Sep 29, 2020
While Dartmouth College has a $6+ billion endowment, the College has bought...
Hanwha AI Object Detection Tested on Sep 28, 2020
Hanwha has added detection and classification of people, cars, clothing...
Favorite Access Control Manufacturers 2020 on Sep 28, 2020
200+ Integrators told IPVM "What is your favorite access control management...
OnTech Smart Services Partners With Google and Amazon To Compete With Integrators on Sep 25, 2020
A pain point for many homeowners to use consumer security and surveillance is...
The Future of Metalens For Video Surveillance Cameras - MIT / UMass / Immervision on Sep 25, 2020
Panoramic cameras using 'fisheye' lens have become commonplace in video...