IP Camera Systems – Professional Versus Consumer Systems

Comparison of Professional IP Camera Systems and Home Camera Systems, What’s the difference?

IP Camera Systems Search

If you do a search for IP camera systems, you may see low-cost IP cameras advertised by Amazon, Costco, BestBuy, and other consumer sellers. You can find IP cameras starting at under $40, but are these IP cameras right for your business, school, hospital, government organization, or commercial organization?

The answer is no.

They are not designed for professional applications.  One of the most important things to understand is that commercial IP camera systems are “systems.” The professional IP camera system consists of an IP camera, video recording system, and infrastructure that includes the network, video management software, and display system. The consumer surveillance camera is primarily only a “camera.” The following article compares the difference between consumer type IP camera systems and commercial type IP camera systems.

Quality Versus Price of Professional IP Camera Systems

Commercial IP camera systems provide better quality and reliability than consumer camera systems. The commercial or professional IP camera system costs more than the home camera system but provides more capability, and reliability.

Consumer cameras are available for under $100, with some selling as low as $39.99. These cameras advertise 1080p resolution. That’s equivalent to 2-Megapixel camera resolution. Think about this price. Have you ever purchased a good lens for your photo camera? I bet you had to pay $200 to $500 for the better lens. Now image what type of lens is included with the $39.99 camera. These low-cost lenses reduce the clarity of the video. This means you will not be able to identify the person’s face in the video or see the license plate number.

quality stamp

The other day I was walking down the street, and I passed a guy selling watches.   There was one watch that looked just like an expensive Rolex, but it cost only $50. What a deal, I thought.  I think everyone tries to find the best deal. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that old maxim, “you get what you pay for.”  I know I do.  How many times have we gotten burned by this? Better IP cameras are reliable and rugged. They are designed to last for many years of operation. The professional IP cameras that are designed for business applications provide much better video, can see areas that are further away and can operate at night.

Reliability of Commercial IP Camera Systems Versus Consumer Camera Systems

The commercial camera systems have better reliability than the low-cost consumer cameras. Imagine installing a camera on a pole and then having to replace it after a few months of operation. The labor cost alone will make the cheap camera much more expensive than the professional IP camera. The commercial IP cameras from Hanwha have a five-year warranty. This almost guarantees trouble-free operation for at least that long.  Take a look at our article, “What is the Best Price for Your IP Camera System?” for more about this topic.

Security Provided by Professional IP Camera Systems Versus Home Camera Systems

The professional IP camera systems that are designed for schools, business, government, and other organizations, provide much better protection from hacking and malware than home systems.

IP camera cyber security concept

The consumer home cameras are much more vulnerable to hackers.  The home camera systems usually consist of a small number of cameras connected to WiFi.  These Wifi connections and their ease of use make them more vulnerable than the sophisticated network attached IP camera systems for business. The consumer grade IP cameras include nice features for personal use such as viewing the video on your smartphone, but these features are not safe. They shouldn’t be used in a business IP camera system. Professional systems also have mobile apps, but these are connected to the video management software (VMS) or the NVR rather than the camera. This provides better security control.

Video Recording for Professional IP Camera Systems

Commercial business IP camera systems are designed to record the video from large quantities of network attached IP cameras. The number of IP cameras in these systems range from a few cameras to enterprise systems, with thousands of cameras, that are located in many different geographic locations. The professional video management software provides sophisticated IP camera management tools that make it easy to install and maintain the camera system.

A home type IP camera system is designed for a small number of cameras — the IP camera systems record to the memory card in the camera, or to a cloud system. The memory cards have limited capacity, and it’s difficult to track the recording over multiple cameras. If a cloud recording system is used, it must be connected through the home internet connection to a remote server. These systems usually have limited bandwidth which means that only a few cameras can be used in the home.

Consumer IP cameras have simple motion detection that triggers video recording. This means that the home video system may record quite a lot of video that you are not interested in. Recording video to the cloud can be costly, and it is also difficult to find the important recorded video.

The professional grade business IP cameras have secure connections to dedicated video recording systems. The video data stream is encrypted, and the recording system can handle hundreds of IP cameras. The professional business IP camera systems have effective alarm detection that only records critical video. The recording system can be set to record video if something is a certain size, or if the person crossed a preset line. It can also detect an object left in the lobby, or trigger an alarm when the laptop is removed from the desk.  The recording systems include search features that allow you to find the video you want quickly. You can easily locate the video that shows when a laptop went missing.

Performance of Professional IP Camera Systems Versus Consumer Cameras

Professional IP Cameras provide advanced features that are not available in consumer cameras. One important aspect of commercial IP camera systems is that they can be adjusted to reduce false alarms. This controls the number of notifications to the security center and reduces the recorded video.

The professional IP camera systems include many features and functions not found in consumer cameras. For example, the professional IP cameras are available with intelligent video capability. For information about all the features provided by intelligent IP video cameras, look at our article, “The Intelligent IP Camera.”

There are also high-performance PTZ cameras with extended range that allow you to see objects that are miles away. These special cameras include IR illumination or are teamed with thermal imaging cameras to create systems that can see day and night. You can select from professional off-the-shelf PTZ IP cameras, and custom designed PTZ IP Camera systems that allow you to see things that are over five miles away.

Integration of Professional IP Camera Systems and Other Security Systems

Commercial IP camera systems can be integrated with door access control, IP paging systems, and IP intercom systems that can help control who enters the building. Security is increased when you can monitor who enters a door.

They can also be used with license plate recognition systems, gate control systems, and biometric access control.

To learn more about how to integrate security systems take a look at our article, “How to Integrate Door Access and IP Camera Systems.”

Summary of How Professional IP Camera Systems Compare to Consumer Home type IP Cameras

IP Camera Systems that are designed for professional applications provide better quality, reliability, and functionality. They provide all the functionality required by business, schools, hospitals, government, and commercial organizations. Professional IP camera systems are designed to support large numbers of cameras.  They are more secure and allow you to easily identify security problems.  Though consumer IP cameras are inexpensive they are not right for commercial applications.

For help selecting the IP camera system for your business, please contact us at 1-800-431-1658 in the USA, or at 914-944-3425 everywhere else, or use our contact form.