How to Choose the Best Warehouse Security Cameras for Your Business

August 05, 2021

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Key Takeaways

Today’s warehouse security camera systems have come a long way. Now, they’re cloud-based, high resolution, and powered by AI. Learn how an advanced video surveillance system can enhance your operations beyond security.

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Warehouses have always been dynamic environments. People, equipment, and vehicles are constantly bustling in and out of the property. But this constant activity also poses many risks. There are almost always security concerns, efficiency issues, and safety risks.

Industrial organizations are increasingly turning to Internet of Things (IoT) technology to transform their operations and help reduce these risks. Research indicates that IoT could improve factory efficiency by up to 25% while also improving worker safety. Warehouses in particular are benefitting from an old solution improved by emerging technology: security camera systems.

In this guide for warehouse managers, we’ll discuss what modern warehouse surveillance systems look like, what features to look for in a system, and how an advanced video surveillance system can offer benefits beyond security.

What is a warehouse security camera system?

A warehouse security camera system is a network of devices that work together to monitor a warehouse. At a basic level, security solutions include security cameras that process video footage and a network video recorder (NVR), which records and stores footage.

Many of today’s NVRs work with video management software (VMS) for users to interact with footage. An advanced VMS incorporates the latest technologies to help you make the most of your video surveillance system. For example, some intelligent VMSs use artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically detect motion, people, and clothing in camera streams. Combined with intelligent search functionality, you can find the right footage faster and more easily. 

Security cameras typically come in two different forms: dome cameras and bullet cameras.

Dome cameras

Dome cameras come in a variety of shapes and angles. Some are attached to adjustable arms. Others are mounted directly to ceilings and walls. Dome cameras are known to provide wide, near panoramic-style viewing angles. Less intrusive, durable, and discreet, dome cameras blend in more with surroundings. Dome cameras are handy for monitoring spaces like warehouse floors, offices, and supply rooms.  

Bullet cameras

Bullet cameras are named for their cylindrical outer casing shape. These cameras stand out, providing a noticeable, unsubtle presence. Because of this, they’re often used as a visible deterrent to would-be criminals. Because bullet cameras can house a larger lens, they’re better for long-distance viewing and are ideal for covering large, high-traffic areas like parking lots and roads. Compared to other types of surveillance cameras, bullet cameras are easier to install and reposition. You often see them around warehouse docks, floors, and yards.

Beyond security: warehouse security camera systems improve operations

While video surveillance systems play a large part in workplace security, that’s not their only use. They help deter and prevent crime, create safer working environments, and allow warehouse managers to monitor activity, identify inefficiencies, and optimize productivity. 

  • Security: With cargo thefts on the rise, businesses are looking for ways to prevent break-ins and vandalism. Surveillance systems enhance the security of warehouses by eliminating blind spots and capturing video evidence for law enforcement if needed.

  • Safety: Video surveillance systems can help create safer work environments. First, there’s physical safety. Warehouses are dangerous places with lots of moving parts. Managers can monitor warehouse operations and correct unsafe behaviors, such as employees using equipment improperly. Then, there’s psychological safety. Having security cameras can help prevent harassment and other inappropriate behavior among employees.

  • Efficiency: HD security cameras can help you monitor daily activity as well as the operations of employees and visitors. By monitoring process workflows, you can uncover operational efficiencies and make adjustments to boost efficiency and productivity. This helps reduce unplanned downtime, saving you time and money.

How cloud-based surveillance systems work

Cloud-based surveillance systems are more advanced and flexible than traditional CCTV analog camera systems. Like an analog system, you can set up multiple security cameras and create many camera angles and views. The difference is that with a cloud-based system, the security cameras capture footage and transmit it to a cloud-based server over the internet instead of an NVR device’s hard drive.

This allows you to have remote access to footage, which is available for viewing 24/7 on any internet-connected device. With a cloud-based system, you can view footage from security cameras on a desktop internet browser or via an Apple or Android mobile app.

What features should you look for in a warehouse security camera system?

A strong warehouse security camera system should help you improve operations while giving you peace of mind that your employees and business are protected. Here are a few important features to look for:

Ruggedized design for industrial environments

Warehouses, storage facilities, and distribution centers often require more durable hardware. In industrial environments, people and equipment are exposed to more extreme conditions (such as lack of heating and cooling) as well as exposure to dust and other contaminants. Look for cameras that are IP67 weather-rated and IK10 vandal-rated. IP67 provides ingress protection that is dust tight with powerful water protection. Meanwhile, IK10 provides impact protection against 20 joules of impact.

Remote access to footage

With an on-premise NVR, managers only have access to their warehouse’s video footage when they’re physically on-site and logged into the corporate network. This significantly limits the reach and responsiveness of your team, especially when managing multiple buildings or sites in remote locations. Look for a solution with a cloud NVR rather than an on-premise NVR or digital video recorder (DVR). With a cloud-based NVR, all your footage remains safe and available for remote viewing. You can access it from any computer with an internet connection—no more being tied to the office.

High definition footage 

We’ve all seen grainy, low-quality security camera clips in the news, where we can barely make out what's happening. Having crisp high definition (HD) footage helps you review incidents and see details you may have otherwise missed. HD security cameras use more pixels than low definition cameras, allowing you to zoom in to see things like license plates or identifying physical characteristics.

Night vision

You’ll want to ensure your warehouse is secure after hours. Check that the warehouse security camera system has night vision functionality. Cameras should have infrared lighting that provides night visibility, which will let you capture high-quality footage regardless of the time of day.

Easy installation, setup, and management

Some video surveillance systems consist of a single camera; others number in the hundreds or thousands. You’ll want to get up and running fast, so easy camera installation is critical for scaling your system across an expansive warehouse or multiple locations. If you already have a camera system but are looking to upgrade, make sure the new system can integrate with your existing cameras, so you have less downtime. 

You also don’t want to spend all your time reviewing video footage and investigating incidents. Does the security camera system come with an intelligent video management system (IVMS) with a modern user interface that’s easy to learn and use? You’ll want to find the footage you need fast for relevant stakeholders, so test out what the search functionality is like. Does it have intelligent search and share features? Look for the ability to search camera streams by date, time, people detected, and more to quickly find the exact footage you’re looking for.

What are the benefits of a warehouse security camera system?

Warehouse security camera systems can be very beneficial in terms of safety, security, efficiency, and beyond. They act as deterrents to crime and inappropriate behavior while providing a cost-effective record of all business activities that you can access anywhere. Let’s look at some of the top benefits when applied to real-life use cases.

Increase security

Having and finding video evidence easily when you need it is important for keeping your worksite secure. Before implementing Samsara’s Site Visibility solution, site managers for O’Neal Steel spent hours a week sifting through footage to find the right streams and specific moments. Now, they can investigate incidents faster and more easily with Samsara.

If there is an incident on-site, supervisors can easily leverage people detection and other AI search features to find the right footage within minutes. Once located, they can easily share a link to the footage with their safety team, enabling them to investigate and act. “It’s very easy for authorized users to uncover the story quickly, no matter where they are, and share with relevant stakeholders,” said CTO Sateesh Donti. “The team used to spend a lot of time sifting through video footage to investigate incidents. Now, it takes 30 seconds.”

Improve safety

Workplace injuries are all too common, but many of them are preventable. Transportation company Food Express learned exactly how an advanced security camera system could help them catch and prevent incidents in the moment

Company employees are required to wear a safety uniform and harness in some areas. One day, while using Samsara’s Site Visibility solution, Director of IT Jim Terry identified a worker not wearing the proper safety gear via a Samsara camera stream. He immediately called the on-site supervisor to address the issue in real time before anything dangerous occurred. Then, with just a few clicks, he downloaded and shared the clip with the safety team to incorporate into their next safety training. Using Samsara’s Site Visibility solution, Food Express can now review and investigate on-site incidents 83% faster.

Boost efficiency

Logistics Warehouse’s mission is to provide quality services with exceptional efficiency and always exceed customer expectations. Company president Ronnie Robertson used to spend time at packing stations to understand workflows and identify opportunities to improve processes. Using Samsara’s Site Visibility solution, he gets a holistic view of his factory operations anytime and anywhere. 

By setting up Inactivity Alerts and with enhanced visibility into their warehouse, he was able to identify inefficiencies and took action to decrease unplanned pauses on production lines. Now, they produce 45% more a day—increasing their profit margins by 8%. “We kept finding new things to look at with the cameras, new insights and things to improve,” said President Ronnie Robertson. “The system just makes sense. We’re already seeing major improvements in efficiency.” 

What are the best warehouse security cameras?

Samsara’s combination of durable hardware and user-friendly software makes it an ideal security camera system for warehouses of all sizes.

Meet Site Visibility

Samsara’s Site Visibility solution is an intelligent, cloud-connected security camera system for warehouses. Using AI technology, Site Visibility brings powerful search features, intelligent detection tools, and proactive alerts to IP security cameras. Site Visibility combines cloud technology and ruggedized cameras on a single, convenient platform.

A look at Site Visibility’s hardware

The Samsara Site Gateway is the brains of our warehouse security camera system. It’s a plug-and-play device that you can deploy in under 10 minutes. The Site Gateway is a cloud NVR, which connects up to 25 security cameras—both Samsara and third-party cameras—to our cloud dashboard. 

If you choose to go with Samsara cameras, we offer two high-quality surveillance cameras to fit your warehouse needs: the Dome IP Site Camera and the Bullet IP Site Camera. Our high-resolution 5MP IP cameras are weatherproof and built to take on industrial environments. IR illuminators provide up to 50 meters of nighttime visibility for after-hours security. Cameras connect to the Samsara dashboard, giving you more visibility and insights into your daily operations.

SC11 Dome Solo Flipped Logo

Model

SC11

SC21

Type

Dome IP Site Camera

Bullet IP Site Camera

Cloud storage

✔*

✔*

Artificial intelligence

✔**

✔**

Ruggedized design

Night vision

High definition footage

Remote access to footage

✔**

✔**

Advanced alerting and search tools

✔**

✔**

Vandal Resistant Rating

IK10 (protected against 20 joules of impact)

IK10 (protected against 20 joules of impact)

Weather Rating

IP67 (dust tight with immersion up to 1 meter)

IP67 (dust tight with immersion up to 1 meter)

Warranty

5 years

5 years

*Cloud storage available only if you manually save footage to your cloud library. All other storage is for ~30 days directly on the Samsara Site Gateway.

**Features accessible in the Samsara dashboard.

Try Samsara’s warehouse security camera system for free

Samsara’s Site Visibility solution is a reliable, flexible security camera system that captures high-quality footage. Our cloud NVR allows customers remote access to footage anytime, from anywhere. Our intelligent VMS offering brings powerful AI to any third-party IP security camera for enhanced worksite visibility. Search for specific incidents faster and spend less time monitoring footage using intelligent detections and alerting. With Samsara’s Site Visibility solution, you can:

  • Remotely monitor all locations with cloud technology.

  • Gain actionable insights with AI-enhanced camera streams and intelligent search tools. 

  • Integrate existing, third-party camera infrastructure seamlessly.

  • Monitor your fleet, equipment, sites, and more with Samsara’s Connected Operations Platform.

Curious about how Samsara can benefit your warehouse operations? Contact our team today to learn more or get a free trial.

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