If you really want to be a low-voltage wiring specialist, closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance is the perfect place to start.

Many electrical contractors are already installing access control, and today, building owners and security personnel want the ability to tie in CCTV and access control with motion detection capabilities. It’s a sign of the times.

Some 50 to 60 percent of electrical contractors have worked with CCTV and accessories, cameras, access controls and systems, alarm reporting systems and/or perimeter outdoor detection, according to EC’s special report: “Electrical Contractors: Their Involvement in Security Work.”

That’s certainly not a surprise. Everywhere you look, there’s a CCTV surveillance system watching. From the local grocer to the largest national chain, surveillance is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Best of all, CCTV “kits” with all the trimmings make it even more palatable for an electrical contractor to begin installing surveillance.

From simple to sophisticated, there’s a package for your next application. Not only are there single cameras and all the works including time-lapse recorders, but also quad monitors, PC-based CCTV packages, covert kits, battery-operated kits, self-contained recording systems, and even wireless video transmission packages. Best of all, there’s no need to order products separately, or to visit more than one distributor when you’re looking for a “put up and go” system. Everything is boxed together and ready to install.

Applications abound

Think about the possibilities. You may have a customer—a real estate company, for example—who needs to provide surveillance at a mobile facility. Here, kits are king. They can also be used in remote locations, or facilities with troublesome areas. Construction trailers, satellite offices, and small to large businesses can reap the benefits of CCTV packages, and so can you!

An integral element of successful CCTV surveillance installation is ensuring it’s covert and that the work is performed as quickly as possible, according to Carol Hersh, Carol Products Co. president.

“The key to any covert installation is to get in and out quickly, which these packages allow for,” Hersh said. “If you spend a lot of time on the installation of running wires and such, you’re defeated before you get started. The bad element knows what you’re installing. The advantage of these CCTV kits is that they are very portable, which is important because you never know where an offender will hit. They are versatile, and can be used and moved and reused again,” she added.

Easy installation is just one advantage of CCTV packages. “In addition, the installer benefits from a package price and the simplicity of using a factory preassembled product,” David Morris, DeltaVision marketing, said. The company sells a variety of prepackaged kits under its CCTV Fast Packs name, including black-and-white and color cameras and units designed for outdoor applications.

“Fast Packs save time and money,” Morris continued. “They’re designed around the concept of ‘one job, one box’ convenience and are ready to install as soon as you open the box.”

Plug and play, even for higher-end commercial accounts, has been influential in popularizing CCTV packages. Pelco’s new Color Quad Monitor and Camera Observation System makes full-color security monitoring an economic reality for any business, Denise Dieser, Pelco marketing communications writer, said. “In addition, with our ImagePak, Pelco assembles camera units, back-focuses the lenses, and factory tests an entire package (for free), saving installation work hours. We offer many services and systems that make life easier for the installer and the customer.”

Versatility is key to CCTV kits. Shannon Charbonneau, Ultrak Inc. associate product manager, said the KO5141CN system provides customers with the features they have been looking for. “The 14-inch color monitor uses both modular connections for use with observation kit cameras and BNC connections for use with standard CCTV cameras.”

In the residential market, CCTV surveillance has come of age. “People like convenience, and CCTV packages are a perfect convenience product,” Alan Konlande, CSI/Speco assistant marketing manager, said. The company produces the Resi-Cam by Pro-Video, which includes the Resi-200 black-and-white system and Resi-600 color system.

Resi-Cam contains motion-sensing capabilities that Konlande says are cutting-edge technology. “When the motion sensor detects movement, a bell chimes and a video signal is sent to any standard TV for an adjustable period of time.”

For surveillance on the go, and other applications as well, CCTV prepackaged products fit the bill. For electrical contractors, it’s the perfect way to begin to offer security, or augment another aspect of low voltage you are already involved with. What are you waiting for?

O’MARA is the president of DLO Communications, Inc., in Chicago. She can be reached at (773) 775-1816 or domara @flash.net.