How to Choose the Right Video Surveillance System

Video surveillance protects your property and assets. Our comprehensive guide covers the business benefits, characteristics to look for, and types of systems.


Matt Klingbeil



Building a security camera system for your business can bring a multitude of benefits. But with so many different types of systems, software, and video cameras to choose from, it can be tough to determine the best surveillance system for your needs.

In this ultimate guide to video surveillance systems, we'll cover everything you need to know about video surveillance and surveillance equipment. Below, we'll dive into why security camera systems benefit businesses, the types of video surveillance systems available today, and considerations when choosing one for your business.


How Does a Video Surveillance System Benefit Businesses?

A high-quality surveillance system can provide numerous benefits to business owners — some obvious and some you might never have thought of before. 

Enhanced Workplace Safety and Security

With real-time monitoring, a video surveillance system is one of the best tools that business owners have available for enhancing workplace safety and security. 

Along with helping prevent crimes such as theft and vandalism, a security system can also be used to help prevent workplace accidents. In 2021, there were 5,190 fatal workplace accidents recorded in the United States. A video surveillance system can be highly effective at preventing such accidents by serving as a tool for detecting unsafe behaviors.

Crime Prevention and Detection

This is the benefit that usually comes to mind first when you think of surveillance cameras, and crime prevention and detection is certainly a top priority for modern business owners. 

According to data from The World Bank, global losses due to theft and vandalism equaled 4.8% of the annual sales of the businesses that were affected. This is a difficult loss for any business, but you can dramatically reduce it with the right surveillance system. 

With an intelligent surveillance system such as Spot AI, you can detect and prevent crime within your business via real-time monitoring and automated security alerts. You can even configure your system to notify law enforcement automatically if a crime is in progress so that police officers are able to respond as quickly as possible.

Improved Employee Productivity

Monitoring your employees via a surveillance system can improve employee productivity by enabling you to analyze their performance and provide targeted feedback. Surveillance cameras also boost employee productivity by holding employees accountable for their performance and encouraging them to be more efficient.

Remote Access and Monitoring

With security cameras that transfer surveillance footage to the cloud, you can access the footage you collect from any location. This allows you to remotely access real-time footage and review historical footage while working remotely. 

Remote access and monitoring aren't possible with analog cameras that don't connect to the internet. With wireless security cameras that transfer footage to the cloud via Wi-Fi, though, you can enjoy access to your surveillance footage no matter where you are.

Types of Video Surveillance Systems

Business owners can choose from three main types of video surveillance systems: analog video surveillance systems, digital video surveillance systems, and IP video surveillance systems. We'll explore each in greater detail in the sections below.

Analog Video Surveillance Systems

Analog video surveillance systems utilize analog cameras such as CCTV cameras and an NVR that converts the raw footage into a digital format. 

An analog surveillance system transfers the surveillance footage that cameras capture via a wired connection to an NVR. The footage is then stored locally on a hard drive, meaning that remote access and monitoring aren't possible. 

Analog systems also don't allow you to back up your footage on the cloud, making your footage more vulnerable to data loss and corruption. While analog surveillance systems have been the standard ever since security cameras first came on the market in the 1950s, today, there are better, more capable options.

Digital Video Surveillance Systems

Digital video surveillance systems capture and store video footage in a purely digital format using a DVR. Digital video surveillance systems are typically easier to install and configure than analog systems. They also make it easier to back up the footage you collect on the cloud for remote access and better disaster recovery capabilities.

IP Video Surveillance Systems

IP video surveillance systems utilize internet protocol (IP) cameras to transmit video footage via a wired or Wi-Fi connection. These systems make it easy to configure any camera connected to the same network as your NVR and can also automatically transmit video footage to the cloud. 

In addition to eliminating the need for manual backups, this ability to automatically send footage to the cloud as it's recorded allows for real-time remote monitoring.

Components of a Video Surveillance System

Choosing the right surveillance system for your business starts with understanding the key components that make up a surveillance system. Here is what you need to know about the components of a video surveillance system:


It's important to choose durable, high-quality cameras that can stand the test of time. This is especially important if you plan to install outdoors or use cameras in any other harsh environment.

Choosing cameras that will offer the capabilities you need to build the ideal surveillance system for your business is also important. Features such as zoom and motion detection can make a camera a lot more capable and versatile than cameras that don’t offer these features.

Lastly, you will want to choose a camera capable of recording high-quality video footage. With cameras that offer 5-megapixel resolution (such as the high-quality IP cameras that Spot AI provides free of charge), you'll be able to see crisp and clear details in the footage that you record rather than trying to make sense of fuzzy, grainy footage.

Software and Data Storage

Software is arguably the most important component of modern surveillance systems and is typically the difference between a system with limited functionality and one that provides a range of features and capabilities. Automated video analysis and surveillance management are useful features that the right surveillance software enables. 

With an intelligent security camera system such as Spot AI, you can automatically analyze the footage you collect for key insights rather than manually reviewing it. Video surveillance software can also unlock a number of other valuable capabilities, from access control to license plate recognition to automated security alerts.

Data storage is another important factor to take into account when it comes to video surveillance software, and it's a good idea to choose a system that offers unlimited cloud storage since video footage can take up a lot of storage space.

Video Recorders

A video recorder is a device that converts the footage that cameras capture into digital video footage and is a central component in any surveillance system. In the past, DVRs and NVRs were the only two available choices. 

But the advancement of NVR technology brings a third contender into the ring: intelligent video recorders, or IVR. IVR systems like Spot AI offer greater analytics features and enhanced security intelligence. These systems give business owners insights into employee and customer behavior, can monitor suspicious activity, automatically detect camera problems, and trigger instant alerts for security personnel. 

DVR vs. NVR vs. IVR

A digital video recorder (DVR) converts raw analog video footage into a digital format, while a network video recorder (NVR) only works with digital footage. Meanwhile, an intelligent video recorder (IVR) is a type of NVR that comes equipped with video intelligence features, enabling you to automatically analyze the footage you collect in addition to a number of other powerful capabilities.

With advanced AI technology like license plate recognition and human/animal motion detection, Spot AI's IVR can provide actionable insights and analytics that help your organization make more informed decisions surrounding operations, security, and HR. 

IVR like Spot AI offers a practical solution for businesses that prefer an open, easy-to-scale system. As a camera-agnostic system, Spot AI customers can use camera hardware from any vendor, making it easy to establish solutions for large, expanding, or multi-location sites. 

Choosing the Right Video Surveillance System

The exact video surveillance system that you choose can make or break your business's experience with video surveillance. If you are shopping for a new surveillance system, here are the most important features to look for:

User-friendly Software

Video surveillance software that is clunky and difficult to use will have limited value even if it offers many helpful features. Above all else, the software in your surveillance system should be user-friendly and feature a user interface that is easy to understand and navigate.

AI Capabilities

AI-equipped video surveillance systems provide a number of powerful capabilities that you won't find on systems that don't include AI features. With AI-equipped video intelligence, you can automatically categorize and analyze your footage, saving countless hours spent reviewing footage manually. 

AI-equipped video intelligence features also unlock numerous customizable capabilities such as facial recognition, access control, automated security alerts, and license plate recognition.

Compatibility With Different Cameras

Choosing a camera-agnostic surveillance system such as Spot AI means that you won't be limited to specific models of security cameras. If you already own security cameras, a camera-agnostic system will allow you to upgrade your system without purchasing new hardware.  

The flexibility of using any camera provides customers with better options — you shouldn’t need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for cameras. With security camera systems, the software is the key. Spot AI’s software continues to add value over the course of a contract with new features being released every two weeks, guaranteeing that your business has the most up-to-date product possible.

Built To Scale With You

As your business grows and expands to new locations, your security system will need to scale alongside it. With analog security systems, this isn't always so easy and will often require you to purchase a new system for each new location you wish to survey. 

But with an IP video surveillance system such as Spot AI, adding new cameras and locations is a breeze. Spot AI's Spot Genius automatically detects new cameras that connect to the same network as the IVR. This makes it easy to horizontally scale your security system as your business expands.

Installation and Continued Support

Installing and configuring a security system can sometimes be tricky, making choosing a surveillance system with expert installation services a good idea. In addition to designing our surveillance system for easy installation, Spot AI guides our customers through every step of the installation process. Our highly reviewed support services mean that someone will always be there to answer your questions and assist you if issues arise.

Transform Your Video Surveillance Capabilities With Spot AI

From boosting productivity to improving workplace safety and security, a high-quality video surveillance system can substantially benefit business owners. 

Get started with the most advanced intelligent surveillance system on the market: Learn more about Spot AI's video intelligence today.

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