A World of Possibilities

The basics of using IP video to enhance the security of your organization


An overview of IP technology and its benefits could quite honestly fill a book (and there already are good ones out there if you want an in depth knowledge of this topic). I decided to reach out to some of our costumers asking what they and their organizations understood about IP Video — the answers were all over the map!

It's clear that some security directors and end-users can benefit from a simple overview of IP Video (IPV) and its benefits — including how to implement a system, and more importantly, how to cost-justify it.

IP Video: An Overview

IP Video, in its simplest form, is real-time video surveillance — or the ability to view live feeds of video pictures that are transmitted across the Internet and your internal network. IP cameras use the same language or protocols (procedures, codes of behavior, set of rules, modus operandi) as all of the other IP products on the Internet. They communicate together in an unending stream of information allowing you the ability to view events as they are happening. This information will provide you with ammunition to make better business decisions, which will improve your organization's security and safety and provide better protection of assets — thus lowering your risks and your liability.

Traditional security has been an access control business with video being used as a support tool for verification or identification. The evidence of how and what happened is stored on a DVR and used for forensic purposes. The quality of that stored image can be grainy, dark and difficult to find and to see.

IP video, on the other hand, provides clearer, sharper pictures and can be a driver of alarms, as well as a forensic tool. Incidents can be discovered during video touring or with smart cameras that actually trigger alarms just like your access control system does; but these alarms will come with detailed information that allows you to make judgment calls on the spot. You can take a closer look, searching for more information from different angles with different cameras — all with good images. You can share these live pictures using laptops hand-held computers, cell phones or PDAs — and you can do it whether you are in the same building, in the next building, in the next town or halfway across the planet. You can change your view from camera to camera, zooming in and out of areas, and follow the situation as it unfolds.

Store managers, vice presidents, guards or police can be notified with live video of what is happening at the time of an alarm — deciding if a n employee made a error when closing or opening a store or if there's a break-in and the police are needed. If you have five local businesses and you want to see what's happening in any one of those locations at any time, you need IP Video. If you want to keep an eye on the grounds of your school, hospital parking lots, public subway stations, or any area of risk, you need IP Video.

Let's say you have manufacturing operations in China , France , Mexico and the United States , and there's an earthquake in Mexico . IP Video routed to your PDA at a coffee shop in France can show you that your building is untouched, but the roadways in and out are damaged. This information leads you to divert operations and manpower from the factory to another — saving you millions in unfulfilled orders — thanks to IP Video.

During the Sept 11 attacks, there were IP cameras recording from evacuated buildings that surrounded the fallen twin towers. The cameras were transmitting real-time data, documenting that records and property left in the building were untouched and undamaged (what the cameras were designed to do); but they also were sharing important details on the conditions outside of the building, such as fires, smoke, the stability (or lack of stability) in the remaining structures, as well as fallen debris and stranded or hurt individuals on the streets below. In this case, the unforeseen value of the system was equal or greater than the designed value of the system. No one in their wildest imagination considered these cameras would be reporting this type of information when they were installed; yet, they continued to transmit for up to three or more days until the back-up batteries were exhausted.

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