Retail Liquor/Fuel Surveillance System
  • I am installing a new system in a business I am purchasing. My first concern is selecting the best cameras so my employees can monitor shoplifting and gas drive offs. We need the ability to capture facial features, and especially license plates from a distance of approximately 25-40 feet, from the canopy to the vehicle. The area is lit, so likely don't need night vision. Inside the store, we have 30 foot ceilings. Will need 4 cameras for the outside pump area, and up to 8 cameras in the store to monitor both customers and, employees at the register to some extent as well. The current cameras are wired, but from Costco, hence the reason for the upgrade. I'm a Mac guy, so thinking Mac Mini, Airport(s)..etc. Interested to hear if anyone has a setup in the same, or similar industry, and certainly any recommendations from the community are welcome. Thanks!
  • It sounds like you'll need very high-res cameras as they have to cover large areas, and in this case it's best to connect them using wired ethernet. WiFi won't have the bandwidth or range. For the outside area you could consider something like an Arecont Vision AV12186DN, which is basically 4x 3MP cameras in one package, giving you a total of 12MP for the outside area (note though that with Arecont cameras you will need a Windows PC or emulator for the initial IP setup of the camera).

    Alternatively, if this doesn't fit well with the layout of the outside area (e.g. you need to position the cameras apart from each other for best coverage/angles), then something like a Samsung SND-7011 or Arecont Vision AV3100-AI or Sony SNCCH220 should do the job (if you go for a box camera, make sure it has an Auto Iris feature, as this will give you the best pictures for the widest lighting conditions - you will know if a camera has this feature as there will be a wire going from the camera to the lens).

    As for indoors, the above three cameras should also be suitable. In addition if you have a particular area where you need a wide angled-view, the Axis M3006-V is a good choice, though note that with such a wide-angled view, you won't get much detail in people's faces unless they are quite close to the camera.

    Hope this helps!
  • Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Ben. One other question. Do you think a Mac mini will be able to stream 12 cameras?

    Thanks, lt
  • This depends mainly on the frame rate that you want (and the resolution of the cameras of course - but the ones I mentioned above are all 3MP). Check out our System Requirements Calculator to give you a good idea of the Mac that you will need.

    According to the calculator, with 12x 3MP cameras, a 4-core Mac mini should allow you a frame rate of around 5fps per camera. I know a Mac Pro is much more expensive, but it will give you a higher frame rate. Alternatively, you could split the cameras across two Mac minis (e.g. inside vs. outside).
  • I use a 2009 Mac mini in a 16 camera setup. The CPU load runs at about 80% with 16 cameras capturing a mix of 5MP and 10MP jpg one per minute 24/7. I collect over 5GB of images every day. This has been stable for several years. For the cameras I recommend you look at the StarDot SC cameras. 5MP and 10MP PoE IP HD cams are available. StarDot has an example of license plate capture.

    Regards, Dan

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