Choosing a Remote Video Surveillance System: The Ultimate Checklist

April 30, 2024
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Security needs are constantly changing. Businesses and property owners face a wider range of threats than ever before, meaning traditional security measures often aren't enough. Remote video surveillance is a powerful solution that offers the adaptability and features needed to address security threats. However, choosing the right remote video surveillance system can be overwhelming – there are a lot of options available. This blog will guide you through the essential features to look for, explore the different types of surveillance systems, and provide a checklist to help you find the perfect fit for your security needs.

Key Features of Remote Video Surveillance Systems

Choosing the right remote video surveillance system means finding the perfect combination of features to address your unique security needs. Let's take a closer look at the key elements that will define the effectiveness of your system.

Video Quality

At the heart of any surveillance system is its ability to capture clear, usable footage. Video quality is determined by several factors:

  • Resolution: Measured in pixels, resolution determines the level of detail in an image. Higher resolution means greater ability to distinguish faces, objects, and license plates, which can be crucial during investigations. Systems with 4K resolution are increasingly common, offering exceptional detail.
  • Frame Rate: Measured in frames per second (fps), this determines the smoothness of the video. Higher frame rates are essential for capturing fast-moving objects and reducing blur. A minimum of 30 fps is ideal for most security applications.
  • Low-Light Performance: Many security incidents happen at night or in dimly lit areas. Look for cameras with infrared (IR) LEDs or starlight sensors for optimized low-light footage.
  • Wide Dynamic Range (WDR): WDR helps cameras handle scenes with both bright and dark areas. This prevents situations where details in shadows or highlights become washed out, ensuring a usable image.

Storage and Retrieval

How your video footage is stored and accessed is critical. Consider these two main options:

  • Cloud Storage: Cloud-based storage provides scalability, remote access, and automatic backups, eliminating the need for on-site hardware. With cloud solutions, you can view footage from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Local Storage: On-site storage using network video recorders (NVRs) or digital video recorders (DVRs) offers direct control over footage and reduced reliance on external networks. However, scalability and remote access may be limited with local solutions.

Beyond storage type, consider:

  • Search and Playback: Choose systems with intuitive search tools for filtering footage by time, date, or specific events. AI-powered surveillance systems can usually pinpoint objects and behaviors with precision.
  • Export Options: Ensure you can easily export footage in standard formats for investigations or sharing with law enforcement.

Remote Access and Control

One of the most significant advantages of remote video surveillance is the ability to stay connected and in control, no matter where you are.

  • Web Portal and Mobile Apps: Intuitive web dashboards are essential. Look for systems that allow you to view live footage, review recordings, and manage cameras on the go.
  • Real-Time Notifications: When unusual activity is detected, instant alerts to your phone or computer allow you to take immediate action. Choose systems like VOLT AI with customizable notifications to ensure you receive alerts for the events that truly matter.
  • Remote Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ): PTZ cameras offer dynamic coverage. Remotely adjust camera direction to gain a wider view, zoom in for finer details, and track movement – all without having to be physically present.

Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI and advanced analytics are changing video surveillance, turning passive footage into actionable intelligence. Here are the features that are possible with AI video surveillance:

  • Object Detection: AI-powered systems can detect and classify objects in real-time, differentiating between people, vehicles, and animals. This enables precise alerts and reduces the number of false alarms, compared to traditional motion detection.
  • Behavioral Analysis: Advanced AI models can analyze patterns in behavior, detecting suspicious activity like loitering or unauthorized access attempts.
Schedule a demo to learn how VOLT AI's cutting-edge behavioral analytics can proactively identify potential incidents.
  • AI-Powered Incident Detection and Tracking: VOLT AI excels in this area. Our AI algorithms learn over time, becoming increasingly great at spotting unusual activity. This reduces the amount of time spent reviewing footage, and allows you to take swift action when it truly matters.

Integration and Compatibility

A truly effective security system often involves integrating multiple components. Your remote video surveillance system should be integrated with other security tools for maximum protection and simplified management. Here's what to consider:

  • Integration with Other Security Systems: Look for systems that integrate with access control, intrusion detection, and commercial alarm systems. This allows for a centralized view, where events from different systems trigger coordinated responses.
  • Compatibility with Existing Equipment: If you're upgrading your security, finding a system that works with your current cameras or infrastructure can save both time and money. Consider platforms that support a broad range of cameras and devices.

Understanding System Types to Match Your Needs

There are different types of remote video surveillance, each with its own strengths and ideal use cases. Let's break them down:

Traditional CCTV Systems

These systems typically involve wired cameras connected to a local recording device (NVR or DVR).

  • Pros: Can offer reliability and direct local control over footage.
  • Cons: Limited in terms of remote access, scalability can be complex, and they often require more ongoing maintenance.

Cloud-based Video Surveillance Systems

Rely primarily on cloud storage and access, with cameras connecting over the internet.

  • Pros: Easy setup, remote monitoring from anywhere, and excellent scalability to add cameras as needed.
  • Cons: Dependent on reliable internet connection, and cybersecurity issues, such as hacking, can be an issue.

Hybrid Surveillance Systems

Hybrid surveillance systems offer the "best of both worlds" approach, combining local and cloud storage, and may bridge traditional CCTV with cloud-based components.

  • Pros: Adaptability, with options based on your need for local control and cloud flexibility.
  • Cons: Increased potential for complexity in configuration and management compared to purely cloud-based systems.

AI-powered Video Surveillance Systems

These systems use cutting-edge AI models for intelligent analytics, taking surveillance capabilities beyond simply recording events. They offer flexibility in camera and storage choices to best suit your business requirements.

  • Pros: Proactive threat detection, reduced false alarms, and enhanced efficiency in reviewing footage.
  • Cons: Can require more processing power and may have higher upfront costs (but often balanced out by long-term value).
VOLT AI provides powerful AI-powered solutions accessible to businesses of all sizes. Book a demo to learn more.

The Ultimate Checklist

Choosing the right remote video surveillance system involves careful evaluation. This comprehensive checklist provides key questions to consider:

Video Quality

  • What resolution is needed to clearly identify people and objects? Will you need to read license plates?
  • How important is low-light performance for your security needs? Are there frequently dark areas to be monitored?
  • Does your environment pose challenges with extreme backlighting or contrast variations? Do you require WDR technology?

Storage and Retrieval

  • How much footage do you need to store and for how long? Consider local regulations and your specific needs.
  • Is secure cloud storage a priority, or would local storage be a better fit? Do you need a hybrid approach?
  • How quickly do you need to access and search recorded footage? Are advanced AI-driven search tools important?

Remote Access and Control

  • Do you require real-time monitoring from your mobile device? If so, how will you respond to alerts on the go?
  • How many users need access to the system? Do you need to manage different access levels?
  • Are pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) capabilities important for your surveillance needs?

Advanced Analytics and AI

  • Would you benefit from object detection to accurately distinguish between people, vehicles, and other movement?
  • Could behavioral analysis improve your security by proactively detecting unusual activity patterns?
  • Do you need to simply detect objects or people statically or follow their movement dynamically as the incident unfolds?

Integration and Compatibility

  • Does your system need to integrate seamlessly with existing security components like access control and alarms?
  • Is it critical to have a future-proof system that is compatible with emerging technologies?

Comparing Remote Video Surveillance System Options

Here’s a table that will help you decide which remote video surveillance system you will need, given the questions above:

Feature AI-powered (VOLT AI) Traditional CCTV Cloud-based Hybrid
Video Quality Up to 4K+ with advanced features (low-light, WDR) Resolution can vary Often 1080p - 4K Mix, depending on cameras
Storage Flexible cloud, local, or hybrid Local (NVR/DVR) Primarily cloud-based Local + Cloud options
Remote Access Extensive remote control & insights Limited Full remote access Varies
Analytics Advanced AI object detection, behavior analysis Basic motion detection Limited to system provider Dependent on setup
Integration Seamless integrations Potential, but can be complex Varies. Easier with cloud-focused providers Offers flexibility
Scalability Easily scalable Requires hardware changes Highly scalable Moderate, depends on setup
Cost Flexible pricing, based on how many cameras you need to connect Can be budget-friendly upfront Subscription-based Can be more nuanced

Last thought

Getting a remote video surveillance system is an investment in your peace of mind. By carefully considering your specific needs and weighing the pros and cons of different system types, you'll gain the security and operational advantages your business or property requires.

Technology in this field is constantly advancing, so it's important to look for solutions that are not just powerful today, but also designed to adapt with your changing needs.


What are the key differences between traditional CCTV and remote video surveillance systems?

Traditional CCTV systems primarily rely on local storage and often lack extensive remote access capabilities. Remote video surveillance systems offer cloud storage options, robust remote monitoring from anywhere with an internet connection, and increasingly incorporate advanced analytics for proactive security measures.

Why is video quality important in remote video surveillance systems?

Clear, high-quality video is essential for identifying individuals, reading license plates, and gathering usable evidence during investigations. Remote video surveillance systems should prioritize resolution, frame rate, low-light performance, and features like wide dynamic range (WDR) for optimized footage across various conditions.

Can remote video surveillance systems help deter crime?

The mere presence of visible cameras can act as a deterrent to criminal activity. Remote video surveillance systems take this a step further – with real-time alerts, remote monitoring, and the ability to swiftly share footage, they empower you to take proactive action, potentially preventing incidents and increasing the likelihood of apprehending perpetrators.

How do AI-powered remote video surveillance systems enhance security?

AI-powered systems like VOLT AI bring intelligence to your surveillance. They can detect objects, analyze behaviors, and alert you to unusual activity with greater accuracy than simple motion detection. This reduces false alarms and allows you to focus on the events that truly need your attention.


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