Ask the Experts: IP-Addressable Video Technology

A roundtable discussion featuring CCTV, IP and security experts

Friborg: IP-addressable CCTV offers many clear benefits, especially if you choose open platform management software from an independent software manufacturer. You will then get a very high degree of flexibility to choose cameras from a variety of manufacturers, to choose the networking equipment and hardware that suits your needs, including wireless equipment, and to integrate CCTV with other systems. Besides this, it's network based, so you can run multiple cameras via the same cable, use Cat 5, fiber, wireless or existing cables, and cover larger areas more efficiently.

Lockhart: The answer depends on at what level the CCTV system is attached to the IP network. The most direct attachment is to a camera that connects directly to the Ethernet and has its own IP address. In this case the camera immediately breaks the old rule of quads and eights and becomes a singular device that can be added to an overall network of cameras in any combination and configuration. When powered by the Ethernet switch, an entirely new concept in deployment is opened by breaking the power tether that long has been the bane of AC cameras. Add the ability to change and customize to requirements and it becomes limited only by the software and storage systems that serve and store the images. In all cases, both digital video and IP transport opens up video surveillance to becoming an ROI resource instead of a direct expense.

ST&D: Are end users and installers aware of the technology and able to implement it effectively?

Taylor: Skill levels in implementing (the systems) are evolving. Although people are aware of the technology, only a fraction of end users and installers have actually installed one because cost, archiving and network bandwidth issues have stalled widespread deployment.

Gorovici: Our experience is that both installers and end users are increasingly aware of the technology, and we are working very hard to make sure they better understand the benefits of the technology and how relevant it is for them today. Just this year, our sales team has given thousands of demonstrations to integrators and end users of every type and level?they're asking us for the demonstrations, and the interest is increasing every day.

Nilsson: End users are beginning to learn about the technology after reading about successful installations in security and vertical magazines. They are seeing that more and more vendors offer the technology. However, there is still a lot of confusion and misperception on the market, created mainly by the fact that DVR technology is still fairly new, and some end users as well as system integrators are just getting up to speed on this technology.

Ian Ehrenberg, vice president and general manager, NICE Systems: We are seeing more and more demand for IP-based solutions, mainly in the transportation sector. This clearly indicates that more end users have bridged the knowledge gap. Moreover, we are seeing end users and consultants starting to seek more value from digital video than simply getting it from the camera to the control room over a network. The ability to detect events, such as perimeter intrusion or suspicious bags or vehicles, dramatically enhances the value of distributed video solutions.

Lockhart: From the end-user perspective, the technology can be broken into two distinct groups of expertise: those who know security needs and those who know networks. As the video security requirements for digital storage and IP transport become more common, the role of the IT/IS discipline will be more dominant. The overall funds for these systems are actually moving under their control now. That said, the IT community has no desire or reason to be security experts and vice versa. A coordination of knowledge of both will be required to understand the new technologies and hardware. The biggest shift in knowledge will occur on the installer side, but then only on the physical installation.

Brahms: Awareness and interest in IP video products seems to be growing. Effective implementation depends on the knowledge level and willingness to learn of the integrator and installer. Satisfaction of the end user is dependent on the product meeting the end user's expectations. If the initial impression is one of technical complexity or if the customer has unrealistic expectations of what the product can do, this can leave a negative impression of the product even if it is performing within its specifications. If the customer's first experience with IP surveillance products is one of frustration, they may be soured on considering similar products in the future.