Jobsite Security Cameras Lack One Important Feature

Even the best security camera systems fall short for the needs of the construction industry.

Maybe you’re tired of thieves stealing or damaging your construction equipment. Maybe you want to monitor the progress of a jobsite or utilize time-lapse photography. In any case, you’ve decided it’s time to buy security cameras for your construction jobsite.

You soon discover this is not a simple purchase.

In this post, we’ll briefly discuss the limitations of most of the security cameras on the market, including the biggest flaw you’ll soon run into. From there, we’ll discuss a better solution.

The low-end solution

Cheap Security Cameras
These are not the cameras you are looking for

During your initial research, you probably discovered that there are outdoor security cameras for a few hundred dollars each. But if you’ve read the reviews, you know these entry-level devices are inadequate for the construction industry. 

First, they offer limited visibility, especially in low light. Some claim to offer night vision, but the infrared distance always seems to be much lower than promised. They also do poorly during very hot or cold days. Some systems only record activity on an internal SD memory card, so there’s no opportunity to actually catch the perpetrators in the act. All you get is a video of your property being stolen.

What’s more, all of these cameras require a power source – something that’s not always available on a construction site. They provide limited, if any, remote viewing options. Motion detection is rare on these cheaper systems, but if it exists, it’s very basic and will constantly trigger false alarms. Some newer systems now offer passive infrared sensor (PIR) technology, but this only provides a marginal improvement. Finally, if you’re looking for a time-lapse feature, it’s not an option.

Low end cameras don’t come close to being a viable option, but are higher end cameras any better? Let’s find out.

The high-end solution

Solar Powered Mobile Unit
Solar Powered Mobile Unit

Professional quality outdoor security cameras, those adequate for the construction industry, can range in price from $3,000 to over $30,000 per camera. Of course, as the camera’s cost goes up, so does the performance.

Unlike the cheap cameras, high-end commercial grade security cameras offer superior visibility, even in very low light. They have a rugged design and are rated for extreme temperatures.

What’s more, many of these surveillance cameras don’t require a power source. As an alternative, these devices run on batteries that are charged by solar panels. This allows the cameras to be positioned where they’re most needed. It also drops installation costs since no electrician is required.

Some lower-end cameras offer IP connectivity (you can access them through the internet), but it usually requires some combination of Ethernet cables and Wi-Fi. High-end cameras offer the same connectivity, but many also include cellular (e.g., 4G LTE networks) as an option.

Motion detection technology is much better on high end systems. However, false positives can still happen. To prevent false positives, a combination of sophisticated software using smart algorithms and human interaction is required.

High end security camera systems typically provide good remote viewing capabilities. This allows you to view your jobsite in real time from anywhere using your computer, tablet or smartphone. Many systems offer cloud-based options.

Of course, these camera systems store videos and images of events recorded. Most provide a time-lapse image collection feature.

The high-end problem

So let’s say you’ve now dumped thousands of dollars into a high-end surveillance solution. You’ve paid for multiple cameras to cover all angles and you even set up a special 4G LTE account for remote viewing and cloud storage.

Now let me ask you something: Who is going to monitor those cameras? You might think that you’re going to do it, or maybe an employee. You’ll point out that these new cameras will text you when someone has entered the jobsite property. However, after being randomly woken in the middle of the night only to find out that it’s just another false alarm, you’ll soon start to realize that your expensive solution is just an expensive headache.

Here’s another question: What happens if you actually do see an intruder on the property? You can call the authorities, but there’s a good chance that the perpetrator will get away with your equipment before the police get there.

So the one feature missing when you buy your own surveillance system is a human monitor. That is, someone who can determine – 24 hours a day and 7 days a week – if a threat is real and then immediately act upon that threat.

What happens if you actually do see an intruder on the property? You can call the authorities, but there’s a good chance that the perpetrator will get away with your equipment before the police get there.


The better solution

Remote Command Center
Remote Monitoring Command Center

Is there a better alternative? One that’s less expensive and more effective? Is there a security solution that won’t keep you up at night?

A better approach is to hire a remote security camera monitoring service – especially one that specializes in the construction industry. These security companies provide their own high-end equipment to actively monitor your jobsites for a fraction of what it would cost to do it yourself. (If you already have cameras, some monitoring companies will monitor your equipment if it’s compatible.)

Here’s how it works: A security consultant will survey the jobsite to determine the best approach for securing the area. That may include some combination of fixed cameras or mobile units that run off of batteries and solar power. Each of these devices is equipped with loudspeakers.

Once the cameras are in place, remotely located guards will be available to protect the site. Using smart detection software, if something enters the monitored area, the guard is immediately notified. The specialist will determine if the event is a true threat or a false alarm. If an intruder is detected, the guard can intervene in real time using amplified loudspeakers. This, by itself, will ward off most intruders. Otherwise, the authorities will be contacted.

If there is an incident, the high definition remote video surveillance serves as a visual record that can be used in case legal action is taken.

Rather than just watch your equipment being stolen or your jobsite being vandalized, professional monitoring allows you to stop crimes before they happen.

Additional benefits

Remember all of those fancy features that come with a high-end camera system? You still get those benefits and more from advanced monitoring firms. These include:

  • Time-lapse photography can capture months of work and present it in mere minutes.
  • Detailed incident reporting lets you know what’s been happening when you’re not around.
  • Watch employees in action using a remote live stream app on your computer, tablet or phone.
  • Access the loudspeaker system to make announcements to the entire crew.

As you can see, a professional security camera monitoring company can provide your construction firm with a level of security and peace-of-mind that isn’t possible with a do-it-yourself solution.


Learn more about how advanced security camera monitoring can protect your construction firm's assets.