Ask the Experts: IP-Addressable Video Technology

A roundtable discussion featuring CCTV, IP and security experts

Ted Brahms is a technical support specialist for Sanyo Security Products. He has more than two years of experience supporting CCTV products, five years' experience as network administrator and desktop support specialist, and one year previous IP video experience with early-generation IP CCTV cameras used for Webcasting applications and preschool classroom monitoring.

ST&D: Is IP-addressable video technology available and proven?

Ed Telders, security manager, PEMCO Financial Services: Yes, indeed. Our installation now uses exclusively IP-addressable video technology.

Pete Lockhart, vice president of technology, Anixter: The answer is a very strong yes. Although the early IP/ethernet-based products do have a number of operational issues, the next wave of technology with the new A/D and video processing and compression chips have greatly resolved most of these.

Eli Gorovici, president/CEO, DVTel: Our more than 200 installations with over 10,000 cameras is solid evidence that this is a proven technology across all market segments. The growth of this technology is quite impressive: If we look just at network video installations, the category has grown from around $10 million in 2002 to over $200 million this year?and we're still in the early adoption phase.

Henrik Friborg, vice president of Partner Relations/co-founder, Milestone: Yes, the technology is a reality today. The fact that Milestone has sold approximately 7,000 installations and that many of our customers are returning customers proves this. Our installations range from smaller installations with a few cameras to larger, mission-critical installations with several hundred cameras.

ST&D: Is IP/ethernet network infrastructure available?

Don Taylor, vice president of marketing, Dedicated Micros: We find the infrastructure more available in larger corporate facilities and environments. However, any size company can implement an IP network, even with a single recorder.

Ted Brahms, technical support specialist, Sanyo Security Products: In the United States most businesses have PC/data ethernet networks in-office. Many businesses also have or can acquire broadband access to the Internet via DSL or cable technologies. Current infrastructure is there in most urban areas, but suffers from lack of 100% uptime reliability, varying connection quality and bandwidth availability, and competition for bandwidth on LANs from other new applications such as IP telephony. Infrastructure reliability will have to improve for over-the-Internet remote applications, and bandwidth usage will also have to improve for IP video to be accepted as a dependable technology in the security industry.

Friborg: Yes, this technology is certainly very mature, since it has been the backbone of data networks and the Internet for decades. Intensive competition has pushed technological advances forward at a very fast pace and has pushed the prices down. Today you can buy a 1GB network at a reasonable price. Next year price/performance will be even better.

Lockhart: Most enterprises today have very robust ethernet infrastructures with multiple redundancies and backups and with strong cyber-security designs. The issue is more to the design of parallel networks or integration of IP video onto existing infrastructures using available layer 3 switching and QOS strategies. Today's enterprise customers' ethernet-based networks are ready for IP Video.

ST&D: When do you estimate that 50 percent of the cameras being sold will be IP-addressable, and what are the major obstacles to overcome in order for that to happen?

Taylor: IP cameras offer several advantages for some specific security applications, but the advantages are offset by several disadvantages that will prevent them from reaching 50 percent of deployed cameras in security applications for several years. The primary issues that will slow their widespread deployment in security applications include the cost of the cameras, high network bandwidth consumption and the fact that every IP camera in a security system requires a dedicated IP address. Another drawback is the lack of reliable video storage and archiving. While some IP cameras have a modest amount of built-in storage to archive video, they are vulnerable to extended IP network outages that will result in permanent loss of video. That being said, we certainly see the market trend moving towards this technology; thus, every DVMR we sell today is IP addressable.