As of 2021, an estimated 85 million surveillance cameras have been installed in the United States. From heightened security to more streamlined incident resolution, these security cameras provide business owners with a range of benefits — but only when they work properly.
There are several issues that can cause security cameras to go offline, and the resulting downtime can often be costly. In this article, we'll take a deep dive into what causes camera downtime and how innovative technology like Spot AI helps prevent it.
What Is Camera Downtime?
Camera downtime is any issue that causes a security camera to stop recording or go offline. Some issues can cause a single camera in your video security system to stop working, while others can bring down the entire system. In either case, camera downtime can leave gaps in your business's security and is an issue that you should prioritize preventing.
Causes of Camera Downtime
There are numerous factors that can cause camera downtime. The most common causes of camera downtime include:
Even the most modern, software-driven security camera systems still rely on a lot of hardware. This includes the security cameras in the systems, any ethernet or power cables that they connect to, and the system's recorder (the device where footage is sent to and processed).
Of course, any time there’s hardware, there’s the potential for mechanical and electrical issues. Hardware failure is the most common type of issue that leads to camera downtime, and it is often the most challenging issue to fix as well.
In many cases, fixing a broken camera or other device in your system will require professional assistance. This makes it essential to properly monitor and maintain the hardware in your surveillance system to prevent hardware failure issues — rather than fixing them after the fact.
Powerful software features such as these are what make modern security systems so convenient and capable. However, software can also be prone to bugs and other issues, so it’s best to work with a responsive provider who can resolve software issues quickly to minimize downtime.
At Spot AI, our experts work diligently to test, update, and maintain the software in our intelligent camera system — and we release frequent updates, ensuring users a reliable, error-free experience.
If a security system isn’t configured correctly, it may be prone to downtime issues — but sometimes, the downtime results from something as simple as an employee accidentally unplugging the wrong wire.
Preventing camera downtime due to user error starts with training your staff on how to properly use and maintain the business's security camera system. Choosing a system such as Spot AI that offers swift and helpful ongoing support can also help you prevent, identify, and address any user errors that cause your cameras to go offline.
Outdoor security cameras are often left exposed to the elements for long periods of time. If you don't choose a durable, weather-resistant camera, this exposure can easily lead to hardware malfunctions.
Even if your camera is able to stand up to the elements and continue functioning properly, environmental factors can still indirectly cause camera downtime. For instance, heavy rain or snow can sometimes distort the footage that security cameras capture, rendering those camera feeds useless even though the cameras are still technically recording.
Any camera — whether it's outdoors or indoors — can go offline if its power source is cut due to a power surge or outage.
In 2021, U.S. electricity consumers averaged seven hours of power interruptions over the course of the year. From power surges to severe storms, there are several issues that can cause power outages.
While some security cameras are powered using batteries, most rely on the power grid. It might not be possible to prevent power issues completely, but using surge protectors and a backup generator can help reduce the resulting downtime.
How To Prevent Camera Downtime
If your business relies on its video camera system for security, workplace safety, analytics, or any number of other mission-critical applications, having one or more camera outages can be a big problem.
There are three important best practices to follow to prevent camera downtime and ensure that your security system will function flawlessly at all times:
1. Conduct Regular Maintenance
The cameras and other hardware in your security system will need to be regularly maintained to prevent and address hardware issues before they are able to evolve into serious failures that take your system offline.
Conducting regular maintenance on your security cameras will likely require the assistance of a professional, whether you have an in-house expert or work with a third party. But when you consider the potential costs associated with repairs and downtime, the routine maintenance is worth the time and effort.
2. Monitor Camera Performance
It's one thing to understand that your security cameras need maintenance, but knowing when they need maintenance is another. Often, business owners are unaware that a camera requires maintenance until a malfunction takes the camera offline.
This is why Spot AI includes automated camera health alerts along with a user-friendly dashboard for monitoring camera performance. These features make it easy to continually monitor your camera and IVR health and performance. With Spot AI, users get alerted immediately if a camera ever goes down. They can monitor if cameras and IVRs are online or offline and take corrective course quickly.
By providing timely and informative maintenance alerts, Spot AI ensures that business owners can stay on top of their system's maintenance and resolve hardware issues before they result in camera downtime.
3. Invest in a Quality Camera System
One of the most effective ways to prevent camera downtime is choosing the right camera system. This starts with choosing a flexible system that is easy to use and easy to set up. A modern system with a sleek, optimized dashboard provides a user the visibility needed to see all locations and monitor health of appliances and cameras anytime, anywhere.
However, it’s just as important to choose a security system powered by reliable, regularly updated software and an experienced support team — like Spot AI. Whereas hardware issues will typically only affect a single camera in your system, software issues can easily cause the entire system to go offline.
Eliminate Camera Downtime Issues With Spot AI
Featuring a combination of durable hardware and reliable, up-to-date software, Spot AI is designed for business owners who understand how costly camera downtime can be. In addition to offering some of the most reliable hardware and software in the video surveillance industry today, Spot AI offers swift and professional support services to quickly resolve any issues you might experience.
Learn more about why Spot AI is the leading choice for reliable business video security: Check out our industry-leading video intelligence features.