Modern CCTV for Business or Home
Considering CCTV for your business, or maybe even around your own home?
We have recently been impressed with a product from a US Company called Ubiquiti, and their UniFi range of CCTV Systems.
Historically, we've always leaned towards the likes of Hikvision due to their excellent picture quality and reliability, however those have always been flawed in some areas.
- The online viewer application needed some fairly hooky plugins installed, which had to be a specific version, and only sometimes worked.
- The mobile application wasn't very nice to use, and we ended up using other third party applications
- Firmware updates because hugely over complicated. By the time I got around to updating one of my cameras, the model had completely disappeared from their public website and I had to hunt around other 'untrusted' websites to find the firmware files needed.
All of this also overshadowed by the fact that the Chinese government are Hikvision's controlling shareholder, who have actually increased its ownership towards the end of 2018.
I'm not sure how much I trust them.
With news-a-plenty of online hacks targeting and taking control over unsecured IP Cameras, and the fact that my own Hikvision IP Camera has reset itself twice now even though I've disabled any form of online access, it still forms a concern when looking at who you should trust as a Business or Home security product.
Enter Ubiquiti, who I still have my own concerns over given all of the press over the NSA (although nothing as recent as the Hikvision news).
First off the mark - for anybody with a 'traditional' CCTV system, then any system like Hikvision or this Ubiquiti system is going to be a marked improvement on your existing system.
Unifi Protect, which is the name for Ubiquiti's CCTV product, is an incredible Simple, but also brilliant solution. It's also very affordable.
The UniFi product involves a couple of components:
- UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus - The hub that controls everything and stores your recordings
- IP Camera (One of a range of 6 currently available)
All of this is wired together through your existing network switches, although cable may need to be run to the nearest switch - and you may wish to upgrade your switches (if not already) to Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches.
This means you can install a camera wherever you can run a network cable, be that internally and mounting them from a ceiling tile, or externally
The hardware itself is very well built, relatively inexpensive and easy to install, providing the cabling and network is already in place.
As far as benefits and features go - well, there's not much you need from a CCTV system except that it works well and records when it needs to.
One of its greatest strengths, which is also its greatest weakness is notifications.
On one hand it's brilliant, as you can configure notifications to send an email or ping to your mobile phone when motion is detected.
On the other hand it's awful, since you can't specific a schedule or geo-fence for notifications.
For our offices, if we enable notifications on all our cameras then my phone becomes a buzzing mess by 9am with all of the staff moving around in the main office. So we have to tweak how these work for us.
Otherwise, in my opinion, the product seems fantastic, and has all of the usual features that other IP CCTV systems have. You can view the camera's from anywhere in the world - very useful if you need to be nosey and see if someone is actually in the office before you try calling them!
Cost wise, you can buy the main recorder for ~£200, the internal + discrete cameras for around £70 each and the external ones for between £120 - £250 each depending on the model.
On this basis, you could have a 6 camera system with 4 Internal Cameras, 2 External and the recorder for around £1,000.
It's also regularly updated, so you will able to access new features as the system gets better over time. Something traditional CCTV systems just can't compete with.
If you're thinking of either upgrading your existing system, or installing a whole new one then don't hesitate to give us a call on 01329 552500 and we can put together a bespoke solution for you.
Watch our full review of the UniFi Protect below: