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Total Cost of Ownership With advancements in video compression like H.264 and scalable storage technologies to store footage without compromising video quality, casinos have been able to build systems with hundreds or even thousands of cameras. These scalable systems not only save money on equipment and service costs but also on significant power and cooling costs. Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) compliance also saves infrastructure and installation costs by using a single cable to both power the cameras and transmit the video signal over the existing network.

Why Casinos Are Now Considering the Move to IP Video
By Jason Oakley, CEO, North American Video

The casino industry has one of the largest installed bases of surveillance systems of any market. However migration to IP has been slower than anticipated due to regulatory requirements and the business critical nature of casino surveillance operations.

Surveillance requirements in gaming are driven not just by business and operational requirements but also gaming regulations that set stringent specifications for the monitoring of gambling businesses and the performance of the surveillance function.

The gaming industry's growing acceptance of IP-based video surveillance systems, including cameras, recording devices and information management software, is based on advances in technology that demonstrate improved overall performance and a confirmed ROI.

Video surveillance systems in casinos are subject to stringent regulations that govern deployment. These regulations govern such matters as frame rates, retention time and camera positions. Early versions of IP cameras and network-based recording systems could not meet many of the mandated technical requirements or delivered results in a manner inconsistent with the regulations.

Hybrid systems incorporate encoders and other transition devices to allow a partial move to network-based systems that can add digital cameras while allowing the continued use of the original analog cameras. Over time new digital cameras can be added to the system as old cameras come to end of life or as facilities expand or reconfigure.

Manufacturers have also started to respond to the market opportunity by developing products that address the particular needs of the gaming industry, for example by the development of specialist analytics that can track high value chips or identify irregular gambling patterns in high stakes games.

The growing use of megapixel cameras is an example of the additional capabilities found in digital technology. The high definition resolution of these cameras provides greater detail for analysis when viewing gaming activity. While it is technically possible to deploy fewer megapixel cameras to capture the same views as comparably positioned analog cameras, the initial deployments of megapixel cameras in gaming have been to augment and not replace existing camera set ups.

Along with the improved technology, advances in network equipment and increased infrastructure have solved much of the bandwidth issue. New and remodeled gaming properties are deploying network infrastructures capable of supporting IP systems. The ROI is seen in reduced installation and operational costs and higher, more sustainable levels of operational efficiency. IP-based systems are inherently easier to install than analog systems due to reduced cable and hands-on programming time at the camera.

Operational costs have also been reduced with PoE-compliant IP cameras that are powered over existing/new network Category 5 cabling that delivers standard 10/100/1000Mb Ethernet service. Power is transmitted over Cat 5 Ethernet cabling, enabling the transition to a networked platform to be achieved in a centralized, more simplified, and easy to manage environment. Additionally, new PoE power supplies are available that also allow non-compliant PoE cameras to be powered over the network using simple, inexpensive adapters.

High performance, system integration, scalability and lower cost of ownership will be the factors that continue to drive the expansion of IP cameras in gaming and other markets.