Video Surveillance

Video surveillance is a camera-based surveillance system designed to monitor what takes place in a given space. Video surveillance can be used in public spaces, on business premises or on private property. Although it may be used for various purposes, it's generally used to prevent damage and intrusions into a given space. Video surveillance can also be used alongside a more comprehensive alarm or security system.

Why install a video surveillance system?

The purpose of a surveillance system based on security cameras may differ depending on where it's installed (indoors, outdoors) and in particular the surveillance context, i.e. whether it's used by a private individual, a professional or the authorities.
  • Installing surveillance cameras on private property
A surveillance camera is mainly designed for ensuring that the possessions in your home are protected. The idea is to prevent burglars intruding into your property. A camera might therefore be visible in order to act as a deterrent, or alert the occupants in the event of an intrusion by triggering an audible alarm, sending a mobile phone alert or notifying you via an app in the case of a smart camera. Video surveillance can also be managed by an external security company, which responds in the event of an alert.
  • Installing a video surveillance system for professionals
The goal may be to use a camera to monitor people entering and exiting a business, as well as to secure business premises, a store or a warehouse containing goods. This type of surveillance system therefore ensures both the security of personnel and the integrity of equipment and stock. Video surveillance is also essential in the event of a theft or claim in order to provide evidence, identify suspects or prove to an insurance company that there was a break-in.
  • Video surveillance in public
The purpose of having surveillance cameras in public areas is primarily to act as a deterrent. They are designed to reduce crime and ensure the safety of the people using a space. Usually visible and fitted following a municipal decision, they may be installed in sensitive areas or widely used in places with high footfall.

What do we mean by video surveillance systems?

A video surveillance system includes at least three components: a camera, a video surveillance monitor to display the footage shot and a management tool. The monitor can be a dedicated screen or simply a computer or smartphone screen. The management tool is comprised of a recording device and/or a data-processing location (cloud, server, etc.). The surveillance system can be supplemented with other cameras, an alarm siren, a motion detector, etc.

You can monitor the video surveillance system yourself or use a video surveillance company, which handles the installation of a security system suited to your needs and, if you wish, monitors the footage taken either continuously or if an alert is triggered by the motion sensor or audible alarm. Discover all our products

The different types of surveillance camera

Many different types of surveillance camera are available. You'll need to choose the most appropriate system based on your needs, the risks involved, the location being monitored and your constraints.

There are two types of camera on the market: analogue cameras and IP cameras. The first type is connected to a monitor and a recording device via a cable. This is the most traditional type. Meanwhile, IP cameras are connected to the internet via a secure connection. This allows you to watch the footage remotely and on various monitors (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.). IP cameras use radio waves and Wi-Fi for more versatility.

You can also choose from a wired camera or a wireless product. A wired camera is connected to the video surveillance system by a cable. Although this means a more complex installation process, it provides optimal image quality. A wireless camera is easier to install and can be fitted in no time at all.

Once you've chosen which type of camera you want, you'll need to choose from a whole other set of features to decide which video surveillance accessories best suit your needs. Do you want a visible camera that acts as a deterrent or one that's hidden? A motorised camera, one with a wide-angle lens, a motion sensor, indoors or outdoors? How do you want it to be powered and how will you mount it?

Consider the constraints of where it will be installed to determine which type of video surveillance kit you need. It's best to get an infrared camera for filming both during the day and at night, one that's resistant to outdoor conditions if it's being fitted outside and a camera that provides a good-quality image and covers a fairly wide viewing angle. It can also be useful to have a vandal-resistant dome to prevent the camera from being damaged.

Surveillance cameras, image rights and privacy

In France, the CNIL (national commission for data protection and liberties) defines best practices concerning the installation and use of security cameras. The law governs the use of video surveillance and if you're fitting a video surveillance system it needs to comply with privacy and third-party image regulations.

In public areas, the installation of security cameras is governed by act no. 95-73 of 21 January 1995 and enforcement decree no. 96-926 of 17 October 1996. To install surveillance cameras, a town or city must obtain authorisation from the local authorities. In addition, each camera must only film the public space, the users of that space must be notified that surveillance is being carried out and the footage taken by the camera must only be retained for a limited period of time, usually one month.

Video surveillance for professional use is also governed by strict regulations. A camera cannot film public areas and even an outdoor system must be limited to the surroundings of a building or its front. The French labour code also prohibits employees from being filmed without their knowledge or in rest areas or locations where union meetings are held. Employees and users of a monitored area must be clearly informed of the presence and purpose of the security cameras. The footage must also be protected by a secure access system and be deleted periodically. Although a warehouse can be fitted with a video surveillance system without any special authorisation, the same isn't true of commercial premises that the public can access.

Installing a video surveillance camera at home is simpler, although certain rules still need to be followed. A private individual can only take footage on a camera on their own property or its direct surroundings, without directing it towards public areas or another person's property. Inside, camera surveillance must comply with the image rights of family members and guests. Domestic employees or occasional service providers must be informed that a surveillance system is installed and the camera cannot film them continuously.

Video surveillance is subject to even tighter rules when installing a camera in an educational establishment or a hospital due to the sensitive nature of the footage taken.

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