Jamie Warburton, from Videcon Basics, provides some top tips for getting started with CCTV installations.
Is CCTV something your customers are asking for? For an increasing number of electricians surveillance installations seem to be a growing add-on service that increases revenues with both new and existing customers.
But, how do you start? I started my career as an electrician and was on the tools for 10 years. Over time I transitioned fully into a security installer and now I am a BTEC-qualiﬁed CCTV installation trainer contracted to Videcon Basics. Here are four things you need to know if you’re deciding to start installing CCTV as a part of your business.
1. CCTV is more accessible than ever before
CCTV can now be both affordable and simple to install. With new analogue HD equipment now available, analogue CCTV systems can now offer up to 1080p video quality, allowing you to offer upgrades on legacy systems that use the same coax cable already installed. If you’ve ever installed a TV aerial or older surveillance system, you already have the skills needed to install HD CCTV.
Due to its increased popularity, the price of IP CCTV has dramatically fallen over the years. The platform can offer much more ﬂexibility in the types of applications it can be used in, but you don’t need to be an IT expert to install a basic system. Plug and Play integration between cameras and recorders makes connecting the two devices easy, with no additional network conﬁguration needed. Most cameras support Power over Ethernet (PoE) meaning – unlike with analogue installs – you do not need to worry about ﬁnding a local power source for each camera.
“Due to its increased popularity, the price of IP CCTV has dramatically fallen over the years. The platform can offer much more ﬂexibility in the types of applications it can be used in, but you don’t need to be an IT expert to install a basic system.”
One of the most requested features of modern day CCTV installs is smartphone/tablet connectivity allowing users to view their system on-the-go. This too has now been made very easy with Peer-to-Peer connectivity (P2P). A simple scan of a QR code found on the CCTV system through the mobile app on a user’s device is all that is needed to connect the two together.
2. Balance cost of CCTV with the quality and value it offers your customers
There is a lot of incredibly low-cost CCTV product on the market from abroad that is mis-sold, poorly made and may not provide the adequate level of security for your customers. If things do go wrong, repeat visits to a job are likely and replacement equipment may be very hard to come-by as manufacturers continually change their product catalogue. In the long run, this won’t be cost-effective or be of beneﬁt to the reputation of your business.
Similarly, don’t cut corners with low-cost cable and connectors either. A surprising amount of technical issues I have been called on-site for can be put down in part to this simple problem.
You also need to consider the impact choosing budget kit may have on your customer. Many cheaper recorders offer very confusing user interfaces and poorly translated menu options that could put off customers from using your business in search of someone that offers a higher standard of product.
3. Find a reliable and knowledgeable CCTV supplier
Finding a reputable provider of CCTV product will be of great beneﬁt to your business and should be able to advise on a reliable product solution that will suit your customer’s needs.
Look for a trade-only supplier of CCTV that provide an element of price protection for you as the installer. Try to stay away from product that is widely advertised online.
A good supplier will always offer technical support and products will be backed by warranties, reducing the risk for you as a business if something does go wrong.
4. Invest in training
If you can invest the time, installer training is a very effective way to quickly start offering CCTV as a part of your business.
Over the course of a day or two, training will give you the essential knowledge on the key principles of installing analogue and IP CCTV systems, the different types of camera in the market, the types of cable needed on installs and how to correctly wire them.