Video Surveillance System Planning [Checklist] | Security Alarm Video Surveillance System Planning [Checklist] | Security Alarm

Video Surveillance System Planning [Checklist] Posted on May 9, 2022 by

proper video surveillance system planning includes knowing what areas are best served by dome cameras

Video surveillance protects people and assets. Besides providing alerts, when the camera is located somewhere obvious it deters mischievous and criminal acts. Deployed covertly, it gathers evidence for the identification and prosecution of offenders.

Recent years have seen the prices of the actual camera fall while capabilities have grown, prompting many businesses and homeowners to consider upgrading or installing a surveillance system. However, a system that’s poorly designed or implemented won’t deliver the anticipated benefits, which is why proper video surveillance system planning is so important.


It’s impossible to plan a system without goals and objectives. Do you want to watch over an unattended outdoor area like a parking lot or loading bay? Do you need to see who’s entering a building lobby, or are you monitoring staff to keep them safe or detect unauthorized activities?

There are many reasons for installing a surveillance system and they determine how it will be configured.


Video surveillance is often thought of as something for commercial premises, factories, and R&D labs, but residential use is growing. Residential systems aren’t usually as large or complex as those used commercially and probably won’t have security and/or IT infrastructure to build on, but the fundamentals are no different.

Accordingly, this checklist is intended for anyone planning a video surveillance system, whether commercial or residential. Where there are points of differentiation, these will be highlighted.


1.Have you defined what you want to achieve?

Reasons for installing video surveillance include:

  • Getting notifications about callers or deliveries
  • Capturing evidence of unauthorized activities
  • Enabling live monitoring of remote locations

2. Are standard IP cameras enough or do you need smart cameras?

Once installed and programmed, traditional IP camera systems allow the end-user to view access points or specific areas, live, at any given time. They will also provide playback in order for you to review the footage later. Systems like these are often used for 24/7 monitoring of remote parking lots or other unattended areas.

Smart cameras provide intelligent video surveillance. They can be set up to send alerts based on when someone crosses a line, when a vehicle enters a specific place, or if it remains stationary too long.

3. Will a fixed camera suffice or do you need a PTZ camera?

A pan-tilt-zoom camera can track a moving target or person of interest. These were operated by someone viewing a monitor, but modern systems have intelligent capabilities that allow the automatic following.

4. Have you identified the areas to watch over?

Try to minimize the number of cameras needed. Use site layout or architectural drawings to determine locations where cameras have a good view of the areas they need to observe.

5. Should the system integrate with existing security capabilities?

Many businesses already have security solutions that include cards or other access systems. Integrating video surveillance with these is more convenient than implementing an entirely new system and may also be more robust.

6. Are there other safety systems to integrate with?

Smoke alarms are installed in most commercial and residential buildings. Integrating these with a video surveillance system can extend their capabilities by enabling alerts over cellular networks or through the internet.

7. Is there an existing network infrastructure?

Modern “IP” security cameras are connected using Ethernet network cabling. In most cases, this infrastructure can also supply power to the cameras. Exceptions are PTZ cameras and those with integrated or attached lights.

A large commercial installation may need network switches and even one or more intermediate distribution frames to channel feeds from multiple cameras into a server. These may already be present but check the bandwidth available and needed.

Residential systems rarely have a wired network to build on but can use existing Wi-Fi or a separate wireless network. Alternatively, it may be necessary to run wires to the various cameras.

8. Can you define the resolutions and frame rates needed?

The answer to this question determines the amount of video storage needed. It also ties back to the number of cameras, the size of the areas being protected, and your goals for the system.

If you only want notifications of vehicle arrivals, low resolution is probably sufficient, and if they are stopped at a gate or barrier a low frame rate will be enough. If you need to read the license plates, (or want license plate recognition software to do so,) you will need more resolution. Similarly, if objects and people of interest will be on the move you’ll need higher frame rates.

A video surveillance specialist will be able to help with specific camera recommendations once you have an understanding of what you need.

9. Should the system be protected against attack?

There’s little value in a surveillance system that is easily disabled. Where possible, mount cameras out of reach and ensure cables are inaccessible. Dome cameras are more vandal/attack resistant, so plan on using these in areas with low ceilings. In addition, consider using a traditional security system to protect your investment in cameras and think about how to protect the power supply to your system.

10. Are you protected against power outages?

If you want the system to function during a power outage you’ll need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). However, these can only supply power for a short period, so consider how much backup you need.

11. Can you quantify the data storage needed?

High-resolution video needs a lot of storage space. Fortunately, many modern cameras can perform event-based recording, meaning they only send video to your recording devices when something of interest is happening. This reduces the storage space needed, but you still need to define your expectations.

12. Have you reviewed the need for intelligent video analytics?

This refers both to cameras having the intelligence to send alerts only under certain conditions, and to technology to help with reviewing video recordings.

Modern systems include a range of tools to simplify and speed up searching, which can save hours of intensive screen-watching! At the top end, these video surveillance systems let the end-user search days of footage in seconds by searching for key indicators like the color of clothing or gender.


Maximizing the return on your investment in security cameras starts with careful video surveillance system planning. The checklist we’ve provided here will guide you through the points you need to consider, but it’s unlikely you’ll have all the answers you need. That’s why you should talk to someone with a wealth of experience, like the team at Security Alarm.


What Our Customers Are Saying

Thank you Watson for your prompt attention to our issue.
Our technician was the the Salem office. He was very nice, professional, and knowledgeable. I'm bad with names, but I think him name was Troy. I hope his boss acknowledges his good work.
Security Alarm is one of the best companies I have ever dealt with. As a landlord I have used so many companies for so many different things but not all give amazing service and give you a product beyond your expectations. It's always a pleasure doing business with you guys. Thank you for the wonderful service over the years.
The gentleman that was here--I'm sorry I don't remember his name--did an excellent job researching and troubleshooting our problem. He was humming a happy tune all during his time here. We found a couple of discrepancies in the wiring which he documented, and then he replaced a motion sensor which seemed to be causing our problem. Asked me to call you if we still have more problems. Thanks.
We had a minor issue with our buzzer system for the entry door and Josh responded to our email within a few hours. An employee was at our office the next day and had the problem fixed within 30 minutes. We love the system they installed and would highly recommend Security Alarm. Mark Miller, Marion County Supervisor of Assessments
I cannot say enough good things about Security Alarm. Their office staff are very professional and helpful, wonderful sales staff who explain all options thoroughly and without bias. And their installers are outstanding, very knowledgeable and care about the customer, ensuring all questions are answered before they leave the job. I’m so glad we went with this company, and most of all, I feel our home is now safe and secure!!
Security Alarm responds quickly to our needs as soon as we call. Their technicians are highly skilled and the customer service team is exemplary.
The installation team did a wonderful job upgrading our system. They were friendly, efficient and very knowledgeable. We have been extremely happy with our Security Alarm service for many years now and look forward to many more.
I have been dealing with Lowitt Alarms Security Alarms since 1997, I an very satisfied with there service, I had a problem 4/5/24, I could not shut off the alarm, after calling Lowitt and following directions I was not able to shut off the alarm, I was told that the next appointment for repair would be tomorrow, I explained the we are seniors and please see what you can do, Linda, was able to made some adjustments and a repair person came to our home at 4Pm and put a new battery and radio, I highly recommend Lowitt Alarms to any one who is shopping for a Security System
The entire experience was great. Meeting with salesperson Ryan C. who didn’t try to sell us things we didn’t need. The installation crew who cleaned up as they went along and answerd all the questions about operating the system. Top notch all around.
Phenomenal service! I would highly recommend Security Alarm. Customer service is outstanding and prompt and not pushy. Overall, it was a wonderful experience working with them!
The technician was very professional and did our repairs in a timely manner.
The guys that set it up were first class!Your customer service is wonderful. I left my last security service because they had rude people in the wrong position!!
The guys were so nice and explained everything to me. They were here at the time I was told. Can't say enough good things about them!
The Security Alarm team was very nice, knowledgeable, and professional. Would highly recommend them!
This is a first rate operation. Anytime I have needed service their technicians arrive on time and get the work done promptly. Josh is an outstanding service tech!
Used Security Alarm Corp. for over 20 years. Service is great & I would not use any other company!
Tech solved my problem immediatelyThanks
Security Alarm has consistently shown professionalism, ethical business behavior, and exceptional customer support. I highly recommend them to anyone in need of residential or business monitoring services. They have given our family more peace of mind when it comes to home security, at a fraction of the cost of other major security companies.
Troy and Larry showed up in a timely manner. They were courteous, knowledgeable and professional. They fixed my problem in minimal time.
Response from the owner: Thank You Robert!
They were both very nice. Explained what they were doing. They checked everything out and got me back up and running. Thank you Security Alarm for having such nice people working for you.
Response from the owner: Thank you Debbie for taking the time to leave a review!
Wonderfully helpful and informative. I’m confident we made a great choice. These guys really know their business!
Response from the owner: Thank you Carolyn for taking the time to leave a review!
Prompt service, they were here the next day and didn't leave until the problem was corrected. Even got a follow-up call the next day to make sure it was working.
Response from the owner: Christopher, so glad we were able to get the issue resolved! And thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
I have encountered 4 different employees from here. They have all been so nice. I am very impressed with how nice, respectful, and friendly they all have been.
Response from the owner: Thank you Cheryl for taking the time to leave us a review. We so appreciate it!
These guys are great!
very happy with the service, value and the instillation.
Response from the owner: Thank you William for taking the time to leave a review!
They did a fantastic job!! So glad I used this company!!! If you need a security system these are the people to call!!
Response from the owner: Thank you so much, Cathy! We are so thankful you chose as well!
Very good service and very friendly! 10/10 recommend
Very pleased with Security Alarm!This is our second time using them!They installed some additional security cameras at the KPJY Pinckneyville - Du Quoin Airport, located 6 miles south of Pinckneyville, Illinois. Courteous,knowledgable, and professional technicians! I highly recommend Security Alarm for your security and peace of mind!Stephen MossKPJY Airport Manager
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review, Stephen. We all work as a team here to provide the very best customer care that we can! Thank you for choosing us yet again!
Troy and Larry gave expert service. Kind and considerate in their behavior.
Response from the owner: Thank You! Troy and Larry are great!
Security Alarm set up was great. On time and very professional. Took the time to walk me thru the system. System is working great. Feel safer already
Response from the owner: Thank You Tim for taking the time to leave a review!
The salesman, owner, and technicians were all very professional and polite. They got the job done in a timely manner, and made every effort to be as neat and clean as possible. I couldn't have asked for better service.
Response from the owner: Thank You, Justin!
The customer service is phenomenal. We had a unique situation, and Coy worked diligently to find a solution. He always called me first, rather than requiring me to chase him down for the answer. He answered questions thoroughly and went above and beyond the call of duty. Very, very happy customer.
Response from the owner: Wendy, thank you for taking the time to leave a review! We really appreciate the feedback, and look forward to serving you for many years to come!
Very easy to work with. Very professional. Good job. Thanks Darrell
Response from the owner: Thank You, Darrell!
We loved working with Security Alarm!
Response from the owner: Misty, thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
They were very professional. The Equipment is easy to use and works great! Thanks for the great job!
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!!
Excellent service for many years. Very satisfied with them! A++++
We’ll pleased with our protection & service with Security Alarm
We were having trouble with our 17 year old keypad and called for service. Within a day they were had replaced it at an extremely fair price
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave this review, Donald!
Wonderful service. Feel totally safe and secure with my coverage.
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, Kendra!
Security Alarm is professional, responsive and very reasonable!
Response from the owner: Thank you, Cindy. We appreciate your business!
Have never had issues with them. Always courteous on the phone
Response from the owner: Thank you, Neil!
Reliable service, fair price. Have been using them over 5 years.
Response from the owner: Thank you for your loyalty to us!
Always quick to help with any issues
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, Mary!
I have confidence in Security Alarm and if I have an issue, they are always quick to resolve the problem.
Response from the owner: Thank you Vicki!
The technicians (Curtis and Jeff) arrived as scheduled, had the installation diagrams as discussed with Larry during the sales presentation and immediately began working on the planned installation. These gents came prepared with proper tooling, equipment and most impressive was a strong desire to satisfy the customer. The install was timely, they ensured their quality of work was satisfactory and cleaned up their work areas after the system functionality was verified. Great technicians!
Response from the owner: Gene, thank you so much for taking the time to leave us a review! We are so thankful for our techs and the amazing work and customer care that they give.
Great quick service !
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
This company has been in business for many years with the loyalty and care that is usually part of family owned business. They are prompt in responding when there is need and knowledgeable in their field. It is good to have them located in Salem, IL.
Response from the owner: Thank you! We appreciate your business throughout the years!
Security Alarm handles our security at the office. They have always been on top of things if we have an alarm go off. I have set it off on accident and they are quick to call and check on me. very professional and anytime I call with a question or problem it is taken care of immediately.
Response from the owner: Thank you!
Wonderful business to wok with!They are dependable and great to work with!Stephen MossAirport ManagerPKJY Airport
Response from the owner: Thank you, Stephen!
Installed motion detectors, glass break detectors and panic alarms..they always worked.
Response from the owner: Thank you, Karen!
I have been with Security Alarm for many years. They respond promptly and efficiently when my alarm has been activated. The system protects my entire home and gives me a feeling of security.
Response from the owner: Thank you, June!
Great Service! Quick & Prompt...
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave us a Review, Brian! We greatly appreciate it.
Prompt, professional, informative, friendly
Response from the owner: Thank you so much, Susan! You're time is valuable and we so appreciate you taking the time to leave a review!
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking time to leave a review! We are so thankful that you are pleased with your service!
We have had Security Alarm for several years. Unfortunately, we have accidentally forgotten on occasion the alarm was set when we opened a door. Within seconds we would get a call making sure everything was okay.A couple times we had to have a technician come out to our house for a minor problem. The problems were resolved quickly and professional.We highly recommend Security Alarm for your home and business security.
Response from the owner: Thank you Vicki for taking the time to leave a review!
Extremely professional, very nice looking installation, very knowledgeable, very thorough explanation of my new security system. The best installers and company! I highly recommend them!!!
Response from the owner: Thank you, Russ, for taking the time to leave us a review! We SO appreciate it!
we needed to change around a camera and a camera needed to be replaced. All the work was done perfectly and service was done in record time with no problems. We always get great service with Security Alarm Company.
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
I called Security Alarm to check on cameras for outside since we had used them in our Ag business for years. The process to get lined up was simple and Larry was very thorough in explaining everything. They were out in just a few days to install them. Both guys were very friendly and professional. It didn't take long to install and I know they probably had wiring issues to deal with. They did a great job and the cameras show exactly where I wanted them. I am very pleased with the service and products installed.Thanks!
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review Cindy! We are so happy that you had a great experience with us and that you are pleased with the product. If either of those things ever change, please let us know!
We have been trouble shooting several trouble alarms and Security Alarm has been very responsive and willing to help in what ever way they can. After the most recent service, the technician was great at telling exactly what he did and next steps if this does not solve the problem.
Response from the owner: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, Steve! We are so thankful for our technicians and the work they do!
Security Alarm has a great team and has always taken great care of my business and home. Would highly recommend!
Response from the owner: Thank you Eric for taking the time to leave us a review. We appreciate your loyal business over the years.
“Staff performance: Just would like to report I have had excellent experiences with all your staff. They all have been very professional, courteous and personable. The one stand out is Watson. He has demonstrated a great deal of patience and genuine willingness to give his best to resolve any problems I have brought to him. His technical knowledge and ability to troubleshoot is outstanding. You have a solid team at Security Alarm and as a customer of yours I wanted you to know I appreciate it.”
We have several cameras from Security Alarm. Our favorite is the thermal imaging camera. It is great for watching pastures at night.