Small School Video Surveillance Recommendations

Author: 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 Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

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?

Given the constraints on cost, what specific product offerings do you think would work best in this scenario?

Related Reports on Storage

Blink XT Outdoor Totally Wireless Camera Tested on May 11, 2017
Running wires for cameras outdoors is one of the biggest challenges, especially for consumer or DIY installs. Now, Blink has released an outdoor...
On-Board Storage Usage Statistics 2017 on May 03, 2017
SD card slots are now commonplace on IP cameras, but is on-board storage usage now common place? In 2014, integrators reported using edge...
Instant Cloud For Hikvision - Manything on Apr 28, 2017
One ISC West exhibitor had a very specific and clear pitch - cloud for Hikvision: In this note, we examine their offering, key differentiators,...
Avigilon Discontinuing Rialto Analytics Line on Apr 27, 2017
Avigilon is informing dealers/partners that the legacy VideoIQ Rialto products have been discontinued, recommending the newer ACC ES Analytics...
Dell EMC Surveillance Division Profile on Apr 20, 2017
With revenue growth from traditional IT customers slowing, Dell has set a focus on the security industry as a market where the company can offer...
VMS Vs NVR Usage Statistics on Apr 07, 2017
What is used more often? VMS software or NVR appliances? 160 integrators told us what they most commonly use and why. [premium_content] Key...
OpenEye Takes Aim At Exacq on Mar 23, 2017
First Milestone targeted Exacq with a takeover offer, and now OpenEye is gunning for them with an offer to swap out Exacq for their cloud-managed...
Environmental Sensors For Burglar Alarm Tutorials on Mar 15, 2017
Intrusion detection systems can be used to alert users to environmental issues. By connecting sensors that monitor the heat, humidity, and...
Positive Video Surveillance Outlook - 2017 Statistics on Mar 07, 2017
376 manufacturers and integrators revealed their outlook on the future of the video surveillance industry in a recent IPVM survey. Both groups are...
Hikvision Ezviz Mini 360 Plus - $80 Autotracking Camera Tested on Feb 21, 2017
Autotracking, integrated IR, local storage, full HD, cloud access: $80. That is the claim of Hikvision EZVIZ's new Mini 360 Plus. But for this...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Anti-Hack Access Card Shields Tested on May 26, 2017
Keeping your access control card information secure is becoming a big priority, especially since cheaper copiers can hack details easily. Multiple...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial 2017 on May 25, 2017
Since 2013, video surveillance professionals have talked about the potential for H.265. Now, in 2017, H.265 is starting to gain mainstream...
Camera Course Summer 2017 on May 25, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Most Respected Manufacturer Competitors on May 25, 2017
Manufacturers told IPVM what competitor they most respected. In terms of total revenue, Hikvision, Dahua and Axis are certainly tops but would...
CyPhy 'Unlimited' Flight Time Security Drone Examined on May 25, 2017
Drones face several issues as commercial security platforms - legal restrictions (e.g., in the US, the FAA), costs, and limited flight durations...
Milestone Entry Level Mobile Password Vulnerability Disclosed on May 24, 2017
While many manufacturers have only addressed cybersecurity vulnerabilities after public disclosures were made (or threatened), Milestone has...
How Integrators Use IPVM on May 24, 2017
150 integrators explained how they use IPVM and how it helps them stay informed and improve their business.  The 4 main uses integrators cited for...
Alarm Supervision Guide on May 24, 2017
Burglar alarms can constantly monitor the health of attached circuits, sensors, and devices to ensure that they remain operational. This is known...
Arlo Go Cellular Cloud Camera Tested on May 23, 2017
Totally wireless surveillance cameras are growing but almost all typically depend on a hub and local Internet access. However, many outdoor...
Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile on May 23, 2017
It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO. Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact