Networked video: Give them what they want

Integration of systems solutions is just a step away thanks to the prowess of the network


It's the end-user you have to satisfy and their needs are as wide-ranging as the systems and solutions that can piggyback off the network. In fact, the end-user is really starting to drive the move to networked video surveillance. They realize the advantages it provides not only in leveraging security-but managerial, administrative and other tasks. They know they don't always have to start from scratch-that there are products like encoders and decoders and other bridge hardware and software solutions that allow current hardware and devices to co-exist on the network and also, make it ready for the time when they may want to move to an all-digital scenario.

Networked video enjoys several advantages over its analog counterpart, according to Miguel Lazatin, senior marketing manager for Sony Electronics Inc., Park Ridge, N.J. "That includes remote monitoring, centralized management, system scalability, high definition video and easy installation," Lazatin added. "In addition, with the growth of IP hardware offerings over the last few years, network-based solutions have become more affordable and more accessible, resulting in an accelerated adoption across key industry segments including education, municipal surveillance, transportation, sports venues and airports."

What does the end-user expect from their networked video system? The place to start is an analysis of what the current system consists of, the infrastructure, how that might change or stay the same, and a burning question to the end-user:

'What is it you hope to accomplish with your networked video system?'

According to Scott McInturf, CPP and director, Security Applications and Technologies for North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., flexibility in implementation is a definite plus in a networked video system. NCSU's network video infrastructure is fiber optic-based-it's one of the largest campus implementations of its kind. NCSU has some 31,000 students and nearly 8,000 faculty and staff and is known for its leadership in education and research.

"Flexibility is key," said McInturf. "We want to be able to use our system in many different capacities, really leverage the network and video management software is ideal for that. We also like to be able to scale up the network in terms of functionality as needed. We use the video network as a management tool...it's much more than security. We use it for personnel management, housing and transportation. We also use PoE, which is quite important in allowing us to deploy security in different areas where there is no power and still stay cost effective," he added.

Here are some simple tips and tricks for helping the end-user get the most from their networked system:

- Learn about compression technologies and leveraging the network properly.
- Check out white papers and technical information available from camera manufacturers who want to help with deployments that don't eat up bandwidth.
- Leverage storage at the edge and embedded in cameras as standalone or as network backups.
- Consider alternatives that are now proven technologies-to extend the network-such as mesh and other wireless.
- Start with a consultative approach and listen to what the end-user wants to accomplish.