Best Surveillance Cameras for AI Security

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Surveillance cameras have become an indispensable part of modern security systems. They provide crucial surveillance, deter criminal activities, and aid in investigations. With the advent of AI technology, the capabilities of surveillance cameras have expanded significantly, most notably in the ability to utilize surveillance in real time to stop crime as it is occurring.  But as the technology rapidly grows, are there specific types of cameras that are better suited to AI surveillance?

While Cloudastructure is always camera agnostic, we frequently find that clients wish to add to their existing surveillance, or upgrade, and the array of choices can be dizzying. This whitepaper explores what kind of surveillance cameras are best for AI security, focusing on key criteria and features that enhance their effectiveness in safeguarding various environments.

Universal Criteria for Selecting Surveillance Cameras

When evaluating surveillance cameras for AI security, it's important to consider various factors to ensure the best performance and integration within your security system. Below are the essential criteria for selecting surveillance cameras:

1. IP/PoE Cameras

IP (Internet Protocol) and PoE (Power over Ethernet) cameras simplify installation and eliminate the need for analog-to-digital conversion. They can transmit both power and data through a single Ethernet cable, making setup more efficient.

2. RTSP Protocol and Multi-Stream Functionality

Cameras that support the RTSP (Real-Time Streaming Protocol) and offer multi-stream functionality are highly desirable. This feature enables seamless integration into your security system, allowing for high-resolution streams for recording and lower-resolution streams for live viewing, optimizing bandwidth usage.

3. High-Resolution Video

High-definition (HD) or Ultra HD (4K) resolution cameras deliver clear and detailed images, ensuring better identification of individuals and objects. High-resolution video is essential for capturing fine details in security footage.

Dome, Turret or Bullet Surveillance Camera Body Models

There are three standard models for surveillance cameras to choose between. 

1. Dome Cameras (Motorized Lens)

Easily the most popular body style for a surveillance camera, dome cameras have motorized lenses that provide flexibility in adjusting the view to focus on specific areas effectively. They are also more vandal-proof and weatherproof than other camera types, but not always optimal in outdoor environments because rain on the camera lens can blur the view.

2. Turret Cameras

Popular with security professionals, Turret cameras are easy to aim and offer excellent night vision capabilities, but are less vandal proof than the dome. Consider these cameras for specific surveillance needs, for example an indoor application would be when you wish to attach a camera to a ceiling, as they generally offer a wider viewing angle. 

3. Bullet Cameras

Useful for commercial outdoor applications, the Bullet can house large zoom capabilities and extended IR. This camera choice is popular for outdoor installations where lighting is poor.

Feature Considerations

In addition to establishing the style of camera for a specific use case, there are a number of features to consider specific to  each camera. The most obvious - but not only – consideration being whether it's an indoor or outdoor application but there are other other considerations as well. 

1. Indoor/Outdoor Compatibility

Select cameras that are suitable for your specific environment, whether indoor or outdoor. Outdoor cameras should be weatherproof and vandal-resistant to withstand harsh conditions and tampering.

2. Low-Light and Night Vision

Cameras equipped with infrared (IR) or low-light technology can record video in challenging lighting conditions, including low-light and complete darkness. Strong night vision capabilities are crucial for 24/7 monitoring.

3. Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)

WDR technology helps cameras capture clear images in environments with varying lighting conditions, where there may be extremely bright and dark areas. This is especially important for areas with inconsistent lighting, specifically:

  • When a camera is pointing from inside a structure to the outside: a parking garage with a camera focused on the exit, for example. Or,
  • When a camera has to see through display windows or glass doors where you have to contend with reflections or the glare from interior lights.
4. Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) Functionality

PTZ cameras offer remote control for panning, tilting, and zooming. This functionality allows security personnel to focus on specific areas of interest, making it valuable for tracking and following suspicious activities. 

5. Multi-Sensor Cameras

Cameras with multiple sensors can provide multiple views in different directions from a single physical camera, enhancing coverage and versatility. One benefit that helps offset the cost of these cameras is that they only need a single cable to work, so installation costs can be cut when pulling a single cable to a quad camera vs 4 cables to 4 cameras etc

6. Built-in Speakers

If your cameras are part of existing or future remote guarding plans, you may want to ask about cameras equipped with built-in speakers, both for economy and to support locations where external speakers are not available or not preferred. 

Compatible Brands and Models

Here at Cloudastructure, we are committed to being "camera agnostic", as this approach is the most advantageous for you, our clients.  It’s economical, offering flexibility and scalability in your AI Surveillance security.

Therefore, while we have outlined specific criteria for selecting cameras, we will work with whatever you have. If you are in the market for new or additional cameras, there are simply too many brands to list all of them in a whitepaper, you should feel comfortable selecting what works best for you within your price range. We can say we have tested – and currently service on our platform - a wide range of reputable brands and models, including Axis, LTS, iPro/Panasonic, as well as Hikvision and Hanwha if NDAA compliance is not an issue for you. We also currently support Intelbras for clients in South America.

If you are on the market specifically for quality low-cost cameras, we do have a partnership with Sunell. We have tested and integrated several Sunell camera models that align with our criteria. These models include:

These models have undergone testing and integration to ensure seamless compatibility with our security systems.


Selecting the best surveillance cameras for AI security involves a careful consideration of various criteria and features. While specific models may vary, the focus should be on meeting the criteria outlined in this whitepaper. Being "camera agnostic" allows for flexibility and compatibility with a wide range of camera makes and models, ensuring the integration of smart AI security solutions across diverse environments.

By adhering to these principles and leveraging partnerships with reputable manufacturers like Sunell, you can create a robust and effective AI security system that meets the unique needs of your organization.

Still unsure about your existing surveillance cameras?

We are here to help. Fill out the form here and our support team will contact you within 1-2 days to share any information we have.

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