IP surveillance is becoming an increasingly common surveillance solution to closed-circuit television (CCTV) because of the cost-savings and flexibility a networked solution provides. As more companies in industries such as banking, healthcare, manufacturing, and education realize the benefits, they are incorporating network video into their enterprise IT security plans.
Surveillance requirements within corporate environments are driven by the need to protect employee and company assets. SCANA, a $9 billion, Fortune 500 energy-based holding company, was saddled with several unique challenges and worked with Honeywell Building Solutions, the provider of the infrastructure for the project, to meet multiple enterprise IT demands, including the surveillance of several buildings; integration of older cameras with new IP-based systems; and monitoring capabilities to protect private customer data.
One System, Many Uses
Based in Columbia , S.C. , SCANA's headquarters is comprised of a 22-story building that houses 1,100 of the company's more than 5,000 employees. All centralized corporate divisions are located in the Columbia headquarters, including accounting, corporate security, information technology, the retail electric group, key executive offices and other core enterprise divisions.
SCANA is no stranger to surveillance cameras, as it uses 1,300 cameras to monitor industrial facilities, building peripheries, storage sites and corporate offices. Over the last seven years, the company has migrated to network cameras, allowing central monitoring of all SCANA facilities stretching through Georgia , North Carolina and South Carolina from its headquarters.
“We have many different types of sites,” says Brennan Cully, physical security IT supervisor for SCANA. “The ability to take the whole system and break it into parts has offered us great flexibility in system design to meet varying needs.”
SCANA has experienced many successes with the existing video surveillance system. The integration of alarms has allowed security to have an instant view of buildings and the surrounding area when alerts occur. Because SCANA's cameras are networked, security staff can monitor locations remotely, which helps reduce overhead. In addition, cameras have helped reduce industrial theft of equipment, such as valuable copper wire from lay-down yards.
Using existing assets
Corporate enterprises have a direct advantage when considering a network video system. In most cases, a sophisticated computer network already exists and can be used to provide the backbone for the system and the server space for storage. For SCANA, the integration of its updated network video system into its enterprise IT system was remarkably easy and seamless.
The ease of integration is partly due to the fact that setting up computer systems and network cameras have several similarities. Both use Internet Protocol (IP) to identify and communicate with each other, and both are connected via an Ethernet network. Like computers and periphery devices, several cameras can be connected through switches or routers, sharing a single Ethernet connection. The video from the network cameras is stored on to servers — generally the same type of servers that are used within the enterprise network. In most instances, a company may choose to allocate a server solely for IP surveillance. Because the cameras are IP-based, footage can be monitored from any networked location, which means any desktop monitor can become a security surveillance center with the correct authorization and password.
Since IP-based systems offer incredible flexibility, SCANA was able to upgrade existing analog cameras by using Axis Communications video servers. With video servers, the video from analog cameras is digitized and then compressed, so it can be routed over an IP-based network. The data is then stored on a server and is viewable throughout the network. Video servers are a simple and cost-efficient way of taking an existing analog asset and consolidating it into an expanding network-based surveillance system. As SCANA continues to grow its networked security system over the next five years, all future cameras will be network cameras with the goal of eventually replacing the remnant analog equipment.