Hybrid video: The next evolution in convergence

Surveillance sitting in an analog world - hybrid solutions take it the next step in integration

Take a look all around you. You are part of a revolution—the convergence revolution.

In every segment and vertical market systems are integrating and converging with each other. Access control works with video and on the network to affect occupancy, energy management and more. Door controls are automated and on the network. Wireless brings it all together in a more robust package than ever. But hang onto your hats, because we’ve only begun to feel the effects of integration and convergence—and especially—life on the network.

Video is one area in particular that continues to see sweeping changes, especially as the economy gains speed and company’s begin to grow. With the current base of analog cameras in the 80th percentile or even more, what better place for integrators to start? Now, thanks to innovation from the supply side, IP is finally attainable and not far off.
Learning curve

But that doesn’t mean it’s easily obtained. It takes engineering expertise by the systems integrator—and a knowledge of encoders, transmitters, decoders, DVRs, software, PoE and how these components work—to be able to apply these types of solutions.

In the interim, we’ve reached a phase in the industry where, partly because of the economy and the existing infrastructure, the end-user wants to extend what they have and see if they can make it work—but still migrate to the advantages of IP video. Problem is, in addition to analog cameras, we have DVRs, coaxial cabling and overall an infrastructure nothing like the world of networks. That’s where bridge or cross platform devices come in to create hybrid solutions.

So it comes as no surprise that the industry’s manufacturers have been hard at work creating products that systems integrators can use to get their devices on the network, offering customers the ability to maintain their current investment but still carry the advantages of operating over the network.

Some in the industry are calling these solutions hybrids, because they use analog cameras and one way or another convert that signal to a digital one. And, there are a lot of different “flavors” of hybrid solutions emerging from the manufacturing side.
Look within the pages of this publication, or on the Web sites of manufacturers who offer cameras, recording, software and even structured cabling. You’ll hear the word hybrid often, or bridge products or open communications and the likes. So here’s the bottom line: it takes a host of different products talking to each other to add value to security—take it out of the narrow focus on security and bring it into the realm of a networked global service offering that equals convenience, remote connectivity and safety and security—all in one.

Different flavors of hybrid technology

Some manufacturers are using encoders or DVRs which take an analog signal and through software convert it to a signal that can run on the Ethernet. Transmitters/receivers may also come into play, depending on the solution. Software plays a big role in hybrid solutions.

Manufacturers understand about the well-entrenched landscape of installed analog cameras and what it will take to move the industry deeper into the realm of IP surveillance. Rich Anderson, a 25-year veteran of the security industry and chief technology officer for SAMSUNG|GVI Security, Carrollton, Texas, said he believes the installed base of analog cameras could be as high as 90 percent, so it makes sense for companies to help integrators and their customers make the switch.

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