Keeping the Secure in Security Cameras

Why you might need to rethink what’s protecting your outdoor surveillance camera

The world of outdoor security cameras is changing rapidly, and with it, the need for secure, high-quality camera housing. Will Ferris, CEO and founder of Dotworkz Systems, offered some insight on why cameras need housing and what the future of that housing might look like. Dotworkz is a start-to-finish, U.S. owned, manufactured and engineered organization that builds secure housing for outdoor surveillance cameras.

Why Do Cameras Need Housing?

Outdoor surveillance cameras are valuable products that are usually monitoring either costly or high-risk objects and situations. With this much value on the line, the purpose of a camera housing is to protect the camera, as well as the situation it’s monitoring, to ensure that nothing impedes the view of the camera or harms the camera itself.

“What we’re doing is we’re increasing the life cycle of the product, and we’re also looking to increase the reliability of the performance through the life cycle of that product,” Ferris said. “We’re looking to provide reliability by keeping that product from ever having those issues.”

According to Ferris, some camera owners don’t initially consider safeguarding their camera with a camera housing because they don’t see the environment it’s in as ‘harsh’ or ‘high-risk.’ For example, in San Diego, where Dotworkz is based, one might not automatically assume a camera would need housing because of the moderate, temperate weather. Ferris said in reality, many cameras without housing on San Diego street corners can see temperatures up to 125 degrees due to the combination of direct sunlight and the processing speed of the camera. As the highest operating temperature of many surveillance cameras is 115 degrees at most, if the cameras reach 125 degrees, they will experience failure. With this in mind, Ferris said that in any situation where the camera is outdoors, there are harsh environmental elements it will encounter. The term ‘harsh environment’ does not only refer to deserts, mountains or fracking sites, but can allude to anything from a camera overheating or freezing over to a thief attempting to disarm the camera by shooting at it. The implications of a few temperature changes within a 24-hour period can easily negate an improperly protected camera into not working well or at all.

“The cost of having something broken, or having to repair it, or not having it do the job it was intended, is enormous,” Ferris said. “Especially if someone has to perform that task, or they missed something because of it.”

Where Do I Start, and How Much Will it Cost?

Whether you’re an integrator, dealer or camera owner, proper camera care is vital to ensure your relationships with clients, your reputation or your own safety and property is secure. According to Ferris, before you begin your camera housing search, it’s important to determine the specific criteria this camera housing will need. What’s the operating temperature and IP rating of the camera? Where am I going to mount this camera? Will it need features such as self-cleaning, cooling, or heating? Will I need a de-fogging feature? These are all questions to consider before purchasing a camera house.

Housing prices start around $200 for a base model that offers a built-in high degree of protection, and progressively get costlier as more features are added on. Ferris said although these systems can be an investment, they usually won’t surpass the cost of a camera repair or, in the worst-case scenarios, an entirely new camera.

The Future of Surveillance

Dotworkz takes the initiative to have market assessments frequently and to listen and study what the trends are. Ferris said if he could sum up what the future of outdoor surveillance cameras looks like, it would be bigger, faster, hotter cameras, and camera housing needs to be able to keep up. Moreover, as cameras become higher resolution and more powerful, their value is also increasing, intensifying the need for practically unassailable protection.

“Our role in the industry right now is to solve problems before they happen,” Ferris said. “To provide a level production efficiency so people in our industry can order from us and not have to wait for those life cycles to develop in a foreign country.”

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Security Today.

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