Some in the industry may believe hybrid solutions are not a good idea—that we should just graduate to the next full solution suite. Here’s one opposing view to the proliferation of hybrid video systems.
“All-in-one products always seem like a good idea on the surface but the reality rarely meets the promise. Let’s take an example that is pretty close to the hybrid concept: remember the TVs with an integrated VCR? Why didn’t that take off? Why didn’t you buy one?
Here’s why it didn’t work: First, you could buy a better VCR and a better TV if you bought them separately. Second, connecting the VCR to the TV was simple and standards-based. Third, the parts bought separately generally cost less than the integrated product. Lastly, if you wanted to upgrade one of the two or if one part broke, you didn’t have to throw away the entire system.
It’s rarely a good idea to integrate technologies moving at different paces into a single product. The hybrid idea is a throwback to the proprietary systems that ruled the last 20 years of the physical security industry. Forward-thinking integrators continue to move towards open-system solutions and customers will reward them with long-term business and higher margins.
When it comes to a hybrid, I’d say put a ‘spork’ in it.” – Lee Caswell is the founder and chief marketing officer for Pivot3, based in Palo Alto, Calif.
In The Field
Integrators Engineering Hybrids for Some Time
Rick Matoy, chief executive officer of GSI Security in Fort Worth, Texas, said the end-user is driving demand for hybrid solutions. “When you go into an existing analog infrastructure, many times they don’t have the budget to replace everything,” he said. He’s been installing encoders and hybrid solutions for quite some time. In fact, some 90 percent of his installations are some type of hybrid solutions, many software-based and allowing the end-user to grow with them.
Operational Security Systems in Atlanta is also addressing the large landscape of installed analog products with bridge and cross-media devices. “A lot of the new installations we are doing are IP, especially where the end-user can afford it,” said Richard Lee, integrated systems consultant. “In retrofit with a large base of cameras installed with coaxial cabling we recommend a hybrid DVR with both analog and IP capabilities. There are a couple of methods to install good analog cameras and use encoders; you can also use a software program for NVR solutions. Companies like Veracity have converters that run Ethernet using the existing coaxial. You can also do a combo hybrid installation with IP cameras of higher resolution and analog cameras. We started engineering hybrid systems in 2004,” Lee continued.
Marcus Moreno, director of business development for ATCI Security Solutions in Miami, Fla., has also been migrating analog cameras to the network for the last two years. Currently, about 60 percent of his installations are analog and 40 percent are IP cameras.
“The end-user is beginning to see the benefit of going to IP and we go case by case and talk to the user about what they want to accomplish,” Moreno said. “Customers who want megapixel technology want IP cameras and they don’t want two systems.”