Buying an IP camera and streaming live video to showcase your business’s location, amenities, or attractions comes with many benefits building your brand and user engagement. However, with so many options and providers on the market, you don’t want to end up with a camera system that doesn’t meet your needs or creates more work for you.
There is much to consider before getting an IP camera and streaming provider: proper protection, the host for the live video, and proprietary of your video. This checklist should help you narrow down your choices.
Here are 7 features to look for:
A Solid Streaming Service Record with Real Results
Streams will inevitably go down from time to time. Bad weather, natural disasters, local internet service providers, and hosting servers all have a part to play in the uptime of your stream. Companies that offer multiple servers can maintain the high availability and redundancy of your streams. Missing critical events because of an outage or failure would be extremely irritating and choosing a company with reliable service records is the way to go.
Short Live Video Introductions
A long video introduction will immediately turn down your user’s engagement to your stream. If the goal is to keep users engaged in your brand, you will want to pursue a streaming service with shorter introductions to live feeds.
User Rewind and Replay
Rewind and replay offer additional avenues to keep your users engaged in your brand by allowing them to visit the past.
Panoramas provide wholistic views of the location you showcase and high-definition panoramas taken by your camera can easily become marketing posts on social media.
Security Footage Recall
If something happens on your cameras that you do not want viewers to see, you need to be able to securely remove that video. A streaming service with secure incident-based recall will not allow any hi-jacking or extraction of the video feed before you can retract it from the public eye.
Pan Tilt Zoom Controls (and Configuration)
Pan, tilt, and zoom controls can be added to your camera’s live feed and respond to viewer interaction. This grants users control over where the camera looks and will increase their interaction and engagement with your camera and your brand.
If there is some part of your location you do not want visible, make sure you choose a service that will adjust the range of movement of your camera and remove that area from view.
Hardware support and management
You will want a service that comes fully loaded with all the support you may need along the way. A service coupled with hardware support and management will decrease your time invested working on the camera system and increase the availability of your service to your customers.
Now that we’ve covered the good, let’s see what “features” you want to run from before the attempt to build your brand becomes damaging.
Here are 7 things to avoid:
Free Streaming Services
Free streaming services for IP cameras will come with fewer features than paid ones. Frequently, with a free streaming service, you will have no ownership of the video feed. Therefore, if an unfortunate incident occurs on your camera, the video can be replicated across the internet and end up making your business look bad.
Low-quality Camera Hardware
There are a plethora of reasons to avoid low-quality cameras and housing units. The housing needs to give reliable protection for harsh or unpredictable weather. Otherwise, you are at risk of losing your entire investment in a camera system in one storm. Low-quality cameras will reduce interest in your feed and you do want to avoid wide-angle cameras, low depth of field cameras, and cameras that are grainy at night.
While still-shots are great for filling up a website, they offer poor levels of user engagement. When there are options to include pan, tilt, and zoom features to increase user attention and engagement, don’t opt for stills.
Onsite PC Based Image Servers
Onsite servers create more work for you or your IT team, have high initial costs, and offer lower levels of redundancy, elasticity, and availability than distributed servers across the cloud. While great for giving you total control of the data, onsite servers also function as a way to work too hard, pay too much, and act as a single point of failure for your entire system.
Limited Mobile Features Compatibility
Most viewers depend on their phones to deliver quick, useful information. Streaming services that offer limited compatibility or are incompatible with mobile devices will reduce user interaction with your brand.
Newer Streaming Services
Newer camera streaming services are popping up, however, there is an added value to businesses that have been in the industry longer. Not only do they have more ironed-out processes for setup, support, and management, the service level is well defined.
Public Domain Streaming Services
Streaming your camera on public domains or any place that is not your website opens it up to all the security-related vulnerabilities associated with that website and its affiliates. Furthermore, the video stream is no longer your property and you will forfeit privacy and authority.
Three Bonuses that Make a Big Difference Down the Line.
Choose a company that:
- Cares about how online presentations look in the eyes of the public.
- Offers advanced replacement and camera repair
- Supports webpage and on-camera graphics that are included with their service suite.
Now, we’ve covered a lot of what to look for in IP cameras and hosting services, but the question remains, which to choose? Below are some streaming services as well as how they match up to these criteria.
- Secure, encrypted video streams that give you ownership
- Advanced camera outfittings for harsh climates
- User engagement-focused
- Webpage support
- Technical support offered 24/7
- Compatible with multiple devices.
- Secure Camera Footage Recall
- Cloud Storage Instant Rewind
- Much more features and continuous development.
- In business for 19 years
The HD Relay Difference
Here’s What People Have To Say About This Hardware Package
March 29, 2017
“…cameras we purchased from them have been robust, trouble-free, and the video quality is stunning…” – Joe Bennet, Steamboat
October 1, 2016
“…professional and responsive with superior, uninterrupted service…” – David Jon, Killington
January 18, 2018
“…guests really enjoyed the upgraded webcam streams evidenced by the numerous compliments, social media shares, and record number of camera views…” – Jonathan Davis, Perfect North Slopes