To some security dealers, offering new Internet protocol (IP) video technologies has been a foray into an entirely new area of technological expertise. To other integrators who have extensive knowledge of network technologies, the addition of IP surveillance has been an exercise in learning about cameras and video.
Whether their expertise stems from the security or technology side of the house, integrators agree that network video is bringing to the table incredible value, flexibility and usability never before possible.
Integrators, such as those chronicled below, continue to find they bring a powerful suite of applications and value to their company and the end user customer.
SecuritySolutions USA : Betting on IP technology
For SecuritySolutions USA , Mustang, Okla. , an integrator with a history in security products integration, the shift to IP video was a learning experience.
Russell Myers, vice president, Sales, SecuritySolutions USA recalled the move. “We made a decision about eight years ago to start offering video surveillance solutions,” Myers said. “It was a new product line for us. We could choose between learning about DVRs and VCRs or IP video, which was cutting-edge technology on the market at the time. We made a bet on the future of IP video and invested in training on network solutions. We placed the right bet. Clearly, the future is here for IP technology.”
Learning about IP solutions was an investment Myers and his team were willing to make. Offering network or analog video surveillance solutions would have required a learning curve. But taking the IP video route, their training simply involved managing and installing video on the network rather than an education in maintaining and managing DVRs .
Myers finds that most are placing the same bet on the future of IP. “While adoption is just taking place now, everyone is either replacing or investing in IP video, or upgrading their DVR systems using encoders. Myers said analytics and integration with other data systems will eventually drive video exclusively to IP. “Plus, there are conveniences such as being able to capture and quickly locate the precise video needed. It's immediate with IP.”
In an independent school district in Texas , SecuritySolutions USA installed Wren, Atlanta , network video solutions including IP cameras and Wren Video Management System (VMS) software in 12 different sites networked together. Using the software, the school superintendent can view video from across campuses and have instant access to real-time information. It also allows the superintendent to verify that processes are being properly followed in all schools. In a district-wide emergency or drill, the superintendent can instantly access video from each campus to see if staff has properly responded and collect real-time information about trouble spots.
“Network video allows the schools' internal Information Technology (IT) staffs to better manage and maintain the system, saving time and money,” Myers continued. “The technology staff is accustomed to working with and troubleshooting appliances on the network. Rather than having to call in specialists to diagnose problems and repair proprietary DVRs , schools can address problems immediately, saving time and money and minimizing downtime,” he said.
Digital Dynamics: Video changes operations
Digital Dynamics, Channahon , Ill. , is an integrator serving government, education and small and mid-sized businesses. In addition to full service IT technology consulting, networking and telephony services, Digital Dynamics provides turnkey IP surveillance solutions.
IP is nothing new for Digital Dynamics. All the systems they sell run off of the network, from data and voice to video. The new and exciting part for this integrator is seeing ever-expanding applications for IP video and how different industries incorporate it into every facet of their businesses.
Digital Dynamics sees the adoption of IP among customers a “no-brainer.” Scott Florez , president and chief executive officer of Digital Dynamics recognizes that analog may represent a less expensive initial investment, but the capabilities of IP video systems are far superior to their analog counterparts.
“The ability to see video over the network is appealing -- increasingly so for companies that have a higher volume of cameras,” Florez said. “IP's performance and manageability far outweigh that of analog,” he continued.
One of Digital Dynamic's recent installations is a county police station in Illinois , where video is helping to increase objectivity and maintain proper procedures. Network video has been installed throughout the station in interrogation rooms, holding cells, visitation rooms and other areas where security is paramount and regulation is critical. “The force is enjoying the flexibility and reliability of IP video,” said Florez . They can access it immediately from a PC and share live or recorded images with others.”
The consistency and accuracy with which data is collected in the interrogation room is critical to building an investigation. Rather than typing up a report or presenting an opinion to another department regarding the results of the interrogation, law enforcement professionals rely on the irrefutable, objective nature of video to transmit information.
SRI: Taking video to the next level through integration
SRI International, Menlo Park , Calif. , is a nonprofit research and development institute that works with a wide variety of organizations including government agencies, global corporations and startup companies. SRI has been working on network-based systems for many years, so it was only natural for them to look at network video systems to be integrated with their programs.
When SRI is helping enterprise-level organizations on large-scale, complex integration projects, it relies on solutions that are flexible, scalable, and quick to configure. As SRI began evaluating vendors to provide digital video systems, they found several options, but selected Steelbox Networks Inc., Atlanta , because it was a provider with an open Application Programming Interface (API) that has the ability to scale to a large number of cameras. Steelbox's open API also allows SRI to develop interfaces to synchronize video with data systems.
John Shockley, program manager, SRI Engineering & Systems Division sees significant cost savings in the infrastructure necessary to support IP-based systems over that of analog systems. In particular, the IP-based cameras can be connected over standard Internet cabling or even wirelessly, as opposed to the coaxial cable plus power needed by analog cameras.
SRI deployed network video for the Joint Training Experimentation Program (JTEP), a program of the National Guard Bureau and the California National Guard to integrate live exercises with computer-based simulations. JTEP already had existing digital training systems in place and needed to integrate IP video. Steelbox's open API allowed them to interface with JTEP's existing systems.
“The revolutionary capability will be the development of the Integrated Video Environment (IVE) that will integrate with JTEP's 3D virtual environment of the area of interest and create an intuitive user interface to control the cameras and sensors,” said Shockley. JTEP has integrated network video cameras with the 2D and 3D exercise data and voice, providing real-time monitoring and After Action Review (AAR) capability that maximizes situational awareness.
IP video is changing the way organizations conduct business, share data and protect assets. Integrators with network video offerings are making the best bet that they will have solutions for every customer and across myriad industries.