Cost-efficient infrastructure - Most facilities are already wired with networking cables, so no additional wiring is required with IP surveillance. CCTV systems require separate wiring, which can be a major expense. The computer network is also used for applications such as data and voice, so IP surveillance can be easily integrated and managed along with other systems. As an additional bonus, some network cameras offer a Power over Ethernet (PoE) option, which allows users to power cameras through the network and eliminate the wiring needed for electrical outlets.
These benefits are particularly important for facilities that need to be cost-conscious. For example, the Eastchester Union Free School District in Westchester, N.Y. was able to set up a network video system using the infrastructure and extra bandwidth from its voice over IP (VoIP) network.
"By piggybacking the video network onto the voice network, we were able to save significant amounts of time and money," explains Anita Better, the school district's director of information technology. "The network cameras are so bandwidth efficient that the video does not slow down or degrade the voice network."
Image quality - Image quality is clearly one of the most important features of any camera, if not the most important. Using progressive scan and megapixel resolution, network camera technology has recently surpassed the image quality of analog cameras, allowing users to more closely follow details and changes in images. This is particularly important with rapidly moving objects, where interlacing problems with analog cameras cause objects to blur.
Two-way audio - Besides being able to observe events from any computer via the Internet, there are also products that enable two-way audio communication over networks. This allows users to integrate audio with their IP surveillance systems so that they can hear and speak through the network. With both visual and audio communication, users can observe, hear and question intruders.
Equipment upgrades and replacements - IP surveillance is based on open networking standards, not proprietary equipment like DVRs. This means that standard IT server and storage architecture from any vendor can be used, which reduces wait times and simplifies upgrades and replacements. By comparison, DVRs are difficult to upgrade because it requires replacing proprietary digitizer boards.
Contrary to some popular opinions, the DVR is not an end-point solution, but rather one advance in the continuing development of CCTV technology. As the marketplace assesses DVRs more carefully, it is emerging that the DVR provides only a few benefits of digital technology. While this option will work in the short-term, digital systems allow the user much more flexibility and control in the long-term. IP surveillance technology has quickly proven to be superior to DVR technology. There is an enormous difference between the two technologies and the marketplace is only just beginning to understand this critical point.
About the author: As the general manager for Axis Communications, Fredrik Nilsson oversees the company's operations in North America. In this role, he manages all aspects of the business, including sales, marketing, business expansion and finance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.