A checklist for homeland security agencies making the jump from analog to IP video

Infinova’s Mark Wilson discusses migrating to IP technology from the point of view of a government agency

Security managers are also deploying SD or secure digital storage cards at the camera edge. This is especially important in applications where loss of connection to the rest of the system could lead to lost images.

Regardless, there are several questions to consider before selecting one mode or another on the pathway to IP:
- If the video is being monitored from a remote location (and it typically is), will the system include exception reporting?
- Do files ever need to be shared with other departments, including law enforcement, in real time?
- How much video needs to be recorded, and how long does it need to be kept?

Command and Control Options

There is a lot to consider with command and control. Traditional matrix switching and joysticks are workhorses but — in a fast-approaching software world — a solid next step is the consideration of networked video matrix switchers.

Traditionally, in the leap from analog to digital video, organizations convert analog signals to digital signals by buying and installing rack encoders for their bank of analog cameras. They replace the analog control room equipment with new IP control room equipment. This can be quite expensive at the front end.

Some believe that a better way is to create a coexistent system. In this scheme, the system keyboards connect to a VMS, not the matrix switchers. The analog side of the coexisting system stays untouched — nothing is added to it. However, since the VMS sits on top of the system, operators use their traditional keyboard commands to manage both the analog and digital solutions.

That happens because the VMS interfaces with both the system’s analog matrix switchers as well as the IP cameras. As a result, on the combined video wall, the analog and IP solutions co-exist but are still separate. Transparent to the operator, with no mouse needed, the system sends IP camera images to the digital monitors and analog camera signals to the analog monitors. With this co-existent solution, agencies can begin using an IP solution simply by adding IP cameras, digital monitors and a VMS.


True security systems integration is a goal of most security operations. Beyond relays and interfaces, seamless integration of security video with electronic access control, intrusion, perimeter and identification systems is a beneficial endpoint of any operation and one made simpler through IP.

No matter the speed of the change-over, a solid plan is one in which both analog and IP cameras can coexist. Such coexistence increases Security’s overall situational and domain awareness, improves its operational effectiveness and efficiencies, provides a growth plan that extends the life of existing equipment, and is affordable and easy to manage.

Mark S. Wilson is vice president of marketing for Infinova.