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Complete Guide to CCTV Systems and Installations

What's covered in this guide

In this guide, we cover some of the more frequently asked questions we get about about installing and running CCTV.

CCTV stands for closed circuit television. It is video surveillance that is monitored primarily for surveillance and security purposes. As well as being used for crime prevention, it can also be an efficient business tool. Here, we cover all you need to know about CCTV, both from a commercial and a residential perspective.

CCTV in a commercial environment

The number of CCTV cameras you need, depends on the areas you want to observe. Some CCTV installations choose to not cover the whole property but, instead, focus on key areas where traffic is coming in and out. Our team at Green Light Electrical is happy to carry out a site visit to give you their best advice about what would be right for your location and your needs.

Do I need to tell my staff there is CCTV?

Yes. By law, you don’t only need to make your staff aware of it, you also need to display clear signs so that members of the public, as well as your staff, are aware that CCTV is recording the area and why. You need to include your company name and contact details on these signs. You also need to have a data controller who is responsible for the footage that is captured.

Can I record audio with my company’s CCTV cameras?

No, you can’t. There are special circumstances where it is allowed, for example in police interview rooms, but the options for recording audio with CCTV are really limited because you’re breaching privacy laws by recording a conversation that you’re not part of.

Will having a CCTV system affect my business insurance?

It depends on the insurance company, but most insurance companies look favourably on CCTV being active. However, if you do tell your insurance company that you have CCTV and this has influenced your premium, you must keep your CCTV maintained in full working order. If not, it could cause issues if you make a claim and it’s found that the CCTV wasn’t working properly.

What responsibilities do I have as a business owner when it comes to my CCTV system?

Your first priority is to register your CCTV with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office). This is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest. There are steep fines if you don’t register. The annual fee starts at £35 for a small business but the amount your business will need to pay depends on your company’s size and profits.

You also need to make sure that you are managing the data that you are collecting. In theory, if a member of the public says they walked past one of your cameras on a certain street at a certain time, and asks to see any footage of them and requests that you delete it, you need to have the facility to be able to do so.

How could CCTV protect my commercial premises?

We’re all aware of the obvious ways CCTV protects a property by capturing footage that you could forward on to the police. However, you can also use it to trigger outputs. For example, you can get it to turn on lights or to raise an alarm. You can also use it to push notifications to your phone so it can actually alert a security centre or people on site that someone is breaching your premises.

Recommended CCTV system for a commercial property

It depends on the type of business, as there are lots of different features available that cover more than just the security side. It can also be a useful business asset and become part of your efficient operations. For example, we’ve recently completed an installation at a campsite that incorporated an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) camera. Not only does the ANPR camera operate their site’s barriers, but it also links with their booking system online so that, every time someone books a pitch to stay there, their number plate is inputted so that they can gain access automatically. This also gives the business a comprehensive paper trail of which vehicles have been in and out of the campsite.

What are the levels of upkeep for a CCTV system for my business?

Running a CCTV system is low maintenance. There are three main areas that really need to be checked frequently. 1) Accessing the playback. 2) Establishing that there are no issues with the hard drive, which could mean looking back at old footage. 3) Making sure that the cameras are clean and free from obstructions that would affect visibility. Something that doesn’t show up when you’re looking at the camera during the day can be really highlighted by the infra-red light at night, for example cobwebs can completely distort a whole image at night, even if the same image is perfectly fine during the day.

How will the CCTV system be monitored?

Typically, you will have a screen somewhere in an office that will be recording all the time. You can set it up to be viewed remotely on your mobile devices from anywhere. It can also be set up to be monitored from a head office. So, if you are a larger company, you can have a server running that enables you to view multiple sites from one place.

Picking the correct camera for your CCTV system

Our expert team at Green Light Electrical can help you to choose the right system for you. We’ll visit your premises to survey the area, discuss your needs and your options. There is a varied range of cameras to suit different needs, for example you can use cameras for temperature screening, or thermal imaging to enable you to focus on hotspots, and you can also have heat tracking using a fisheye camera. This is typically used in a shop and usefully enables you to track the high traffic areas and see which product lines are getting the most attention. You can also get cameras with features for ANPR and facial recognition.

What features are available for commercial CCTV systems?

You have a wide range of options. We can programme the equipment to trigger outputs – anything from lights, gates, alarms and sounders to voice recordings. For example, if anyone walked over a certain line it could say “Warning! You are entering a security-protected area.” But, really, it’s limitless. Whatever you’re thinking of, we can probably make it happen.

How much does it cost to install a CCTV system?

As there are so many options available, it comes down to what you need the system to do for you. If you just need to keep your site secure, we can work to a lower budget. If you’re looking to utilise additional features to benefit your business, it will cost more. Get in touch with us at Green Light Electrical to arrange a site visit so that we can talk through your options and give you a full quote.

CCTV in a residential environment

How fast does my broadband connection need to be for a CCTV system?

It depends on what the resolution of the cameras is. Our preference, that we would always recommend, is to fit a high resolution 4k solution, which gives you 12,000,000 pixels per image (eight mega pixels). For this resolution, you would need roughly 12 megabytes of download speed and around three megabytes of upload speed.

Viewing CCTV footage from a mobile device

Yes, you can, if you install a system where working with a dynamic IP address is all built in. At Green Light Electrical, we would only provide this type of solution. It works through a server and a cloud server, so you can connect to it remotely from anywhere in the world. If you choose to buy a CCTV system through another installer, bear in mind that some solutions don’t work without a DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name System) or open ports on a router; they need to have a static IP address which can’t be accessed remotely.

Will I be able to view my CCTV footage from my computer?

Yes, you can view it from any computer, although it’s always easier to view it on a computer that you’re connected to the same network with, otherwise you might experience it being a little slow and glitchy and, sometimes, all the cameras might not load if you try to view them on a computer remotely.

What is the difference between an indoor and outdoor camera with a CCTV system?

The main difference between an indoor and outdoor camera is that an outdoor camera should have a high IP rating. This represents the level of protection, provided by the camera’s enclosure, against solid and liquid foreign objects. Also, an outdoor camera would typically have a longer infra-red range and you can also get colour view cameras which have a visible light that you can see and that produce a colour image 24/7.

Will I be able to control my CCTV cameras?

There are a lot of different options for cameras but, for most residential cameras, you probably wouldn’t be looking at expanding into a motorised lens camera, unless you’ve got a generous budget.

A motorised lens camera would enable you to zoom in and out but you wouldn’t be able to change it remotely, it would only be the live view – it will stay at whatever zoomed in position you have set it to. You can get pan tilt cameras and zoom cameras. Again, they can be set for a resting place and you can control their viewing angle. They can turn 360 degrees and they can also be set to go back to a ‘parked’ position which means that, after 30 seconds, they’ll return to their original position.

How long can I record on a CCTV system for?

It depends on the number of cameras, the resolution they’re recording footage in and the number and size of your hard drives. We always prefer to fit an eight terabyte hard drive which, depending on the amount of cameras you have, could store up to 30 days of recording.

If you wanted motion alerts on all your cameras this could reduce the amount of recording time you’ll get, but we can always add more hard drives to take care of that.

Can the cameras work by motion detection?

Yes, they can. We can programme your cameras for intrusion detection, ‘drawing’ a boxed area that will ping a notification to you any time someone steps into that area. Or, you could protect a boundary with a ‘line crossing’ that detects when someone steps over that line. You can even set it up by which direction someone’s travelling in, notifying you every time someone enters or leaves a boundary.

Can you get wireless cameras for a CCTV system?

Wireless CCTV is a camera system like Ring, Nest or Arlo, that a consumer would organise themselves rather than go to a professional installer like Green Light Electrical for. They’re very good for what they are but they have limited features, for example if your wi-fi router goes down you’re really limited on what you can recover from that but, with a wired CCTV system, you’ve got backups stored securely.

How can Green Light Electrical help?

We have years of experience and technical knowledge in this area. Get in touch with us to discuss your options. If you are looking for three or more cameras, we are happy to come and do a site survey to ensure we achieve the best coverage for your property.

How can we contact Green Light Electrical?

Give Green Light Electrical’s friendly and expert team a call on 01425 477943, email us at We would welcome the opportunity to listen to your needs and advise you on your best options.

If you choose to go ahead, you can trust us to deliver a high-quality job at a reasonable cost.

For more security on your property, we install electric gates. We’ve prepared an in-depth look into Electric gates here.

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