Watch out: Hybrid surveillance system raps

End-users like hybrid systems because they can deploy IP cameras where needed without abandoning their installed analog base. Hybrid systems create a bridge between analog and digital.

However, all the dealer traps of IP cameras are found in hybrid systems - plus. To know hybrids, you need to know about digital. So, how do you create a hybrid?

SOLUTION ONE: Replace the present VCR or DVR with a hybrid recorder that accepts inputs from both analog and digital cameras

TRAP 1: The assumption is that it will future-proof the system for IP forever and a day. The reality is that analog standards have been in place for five decades; digital standards are only now being created by ONVIF and PSIA. Be careful of what you promise. Today's IP standards won't necessarily be tomorrow's.

TRAP 2: Your resulting recording frame speed or image quality may be much lower than expected. Encoding the analog camera signals eats up a lot of processing power.

SOLUTION TWO: Add a NVR to record the IP cameras

TRAP 3: Chances are, the Video Management System (VMS) that can be used with the DVR won't work with the NVR. Look for a solution that can work with both seamlessly.

TRAP 4: NVRs aren't DVRs. With a DVR, the number of jacks on the back limits the number of cameras. But, just because NVRs only have one input for multiple cameras doesn't mean they're not constrained. An NVR that advertises that it can handle 64 cameras doesn't mean that you can run 64 cameras at 30 fps in 4CIF quality.

TRAP 5: To avoid conflicts with the IT department, will you run a separate network for surveillance? If you don't, can you guarantee that every frame gets recorded? Are you ready to get into a discussion of routers et al?

SOLUTION THREE: Work with your vendor. They've been there before. One clean solution is to use an NVR that pre-segregates the network, separating the input video from the output video. Without getting into details, the IT department will like that.

Your vendor will also assure that you are using a VMS that handles both DVRs and NVRs and can give you the straight facts on frame rates and picture quality.


In the office and high-rise vertical market, many property managers have a glut of buildings and property, but they still want to get the most from the current systems without those dreaded words: forklift upgrade. There are many options available for these customers, but it takes a savvy integrator with a lot of engineering experience and product knowledge to get the job done. Organizations like ONVIF and others may also help in the achievement of true, interoperable systems, many coupled with video management systems. Now that the user has a taste of all the advantages of video, they want to be able to tie their other systems to the mix as well-fostering more than security and a true management tool.

Of course hybrid solutions are quite common in video surveillance, but also, in many other integrated systems solutions. For example, at an office or high rise, a systems integrator may decide to opt for wireless for a remotely located office or warehouse, so trenching and digging isn't necessary. Piggybacked on the network with traditional cabled systems, these are hybrid systems in their simplest form, using wireless and hardwired connectivity. There's also software and hardware equipment that allows equipment to form a digital signal and jump on the network. Look for more interoperability, especially between video and access control, as the end-user starts to crave that full service solution. -- SD&I

Dave Smith is the vice president of Product Planning, Samsung Techwin America, Ridgefield Park, N.J.