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Quick Hits – five things to be sure of when purchasing security cameras

Investing in a good security camera solution can do wonders for home protection. Cameras can simultaneously serve as a deterrent and give you a method for identifying criminals if they do try to invade your home. At the same time, a camera system can also identify when something unusual happens at your home and alert you so you can respond accordingly. However, finding the right camera setup for your needs is not always simple, so working with a good solution provider that will collaborate with you and give good advice is key. Once you've found a reputable vendor – ask for references and testimonials – there are a few things you should keep an eye on before, during and after the installation process.

How does the vendor handle the estimate?
Getting a good estimate is key to knowing what to expect from a security camera system. However, it is possible to have an estimate that seems too accurate. If the vendor gives you a really precise number without clear documentation, you may want to ask a few questions to see if the estimate can be that accurate. At the same time, you should be able to get a fairly good estimate from a quality vendor. In many cases, the best solution providers will be able to show you a list of the components of the project, how much each will cost and then give you an estimate on costs like labor. It also helps if the vendor can tell you about any problems that could arise during installation and create new costs.

What features will the cameras have?
Security cameras can do a lot of things. You can establish a closed-circuit TV, get web apps that let you interact with your camera or establish a DVR system. You can also get cameras that feature night vision, are extremely resilient or use minimal energy. With so many features available, you need to not only know what you need, but exactly what the cameras you pick can and cannot do. Don't assume that any one feature is standard and make sure you are getting exactly what you want.

Are the cameras installed well?
Quality installation is key. If the cameras are not properly mounted on your house they could be more likely to be damaged and some features may not function properly. You may not be able to check every aspect of the installation, after all, there's a reason you're hiring somebody else to do it, but you can pay attention to the process and keep an eye out for anything that seems suspicious. It is also worth doing some research on best practices so you can make sure the vendor isn't taking any installation shortcuts.

Is there room for upgrades?
You don't want to end up in a situation where you get a new camera system installed and find that, two years later, you want new functionality but do not have any ability to upgrade the existing systems. Deploying cameras can be expensive, but it is worth the costs. However, you don't want to waste money by installing such a restrictive solution that you have no room to adjust.

What kind of support do you get?
Some providers will offer monitoring services or specialized applications. Others may offer consulting services and training. Some will come in, install the cameras, hand you a manual and drive away. Knowing the support that you will get is vital in maximizing your camera investment.

There is a lot to think about when installing new security cameras. But knowing the right things to look for and working with a good vendor can help you end up with the solution you need.

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