How Green Is Your Security?

Choosing the most eco-friendly surveillance solution

Making Data Centers More Eco-Friendly
Beyond cameras and cabling, another green opportunity is the data center where the video is stored. The beauty of an eco-friendly server environment is that lowering energy consumption directly reduces operating overhead. So here are a few ideas to consider that can reduce the energy needed to dissipate heat from the server racks, which consumes a major portion of energy in a data center:

• Select energy-efficient servers and high-efficiency power supplies to further contain energy consumption.
• Use server virtualization to increase productivity of active machines. You could eliminate inactive hardware and thereby significantly reduce energy consumption.
• Run variable-speed fans at slower speeds during non-peak hours when equipment is not generating as much heat.
• Consider deploying water chillers with massive thermal reservoirs that can cool water on the roof of the building during night hours. The cold water can be used to cool the equipment for several hours during peak times, drastically reducing traditional cooling costs.

Of course, the best thing is to use as few resources as possible in the data center. One way to achieve that is to deploy H.264 compression technology for video transmission. H.264 compression used in network cameras and video encoders reduces files sizes and data streams by as much as 50 percent compared to MPEG-4 compression, and as much as 80 percent compared to Motion JPEG compression. This will enable you to reduce the amount of hard disk space you need to support your network video system, saving significant capital expense and energy consumption.

Monitoring Operations Remotely
Surveillance systems with remote monitoring capabilities afford many businesses a number of other ways to protect the environment. In the retail world especially, an IP-based surveillance solution can do double duty as a loss prevention tool and a way to remotely oversee operations throughout a chain from a central location.
Some retailers are already saving millions of dollars in travel costs by remotely monitoring store operations. This not only goes directly to their bottom line, but eliminates the energy consumption and environmental impact of countless trips by air, train and car going from store to store.

Heading Down a Green Path
Turning your surveillance system green is a multi-step process. And not all steps apply to all organizations. But green decisions are gaining momentum as competitive differentiators, both for vendors providing solutions and, more importantly, for end-users trying to improve their bottom lines and enhance their public profiles as eco-conscious companies.

Fredrik Nilsson is General Manager of the Americas for Axis Communications and author of the book “Intelligent Network Video.” Check out his “Eye on Video” series of articles at