However, todayâ€™s network video systems build intelligence into the camera itself, revolutionizing video in much the same way that PCs revolutionized computing. With intelligence pushed out to the camera level, individual cameras can decide when to send video, at what frame rate and resolution, and when to send alarms. This means that users can set the camera to alert system administrators of unusual activity, for example, if movement is detected in a hallway at 3 a.m. on a weekend.
Camera intelligence also allows users to obtain more "actionable" information from their video. Intelligent video algorithms can be run at the camera level, instead of at the system level, creating an opportunity to run more advanced functions across a larger number of cameras. This makes it possible to manage and analyze video from hundreds of cameras.
Power: In an enterprise installation, network video systems are also easier to power than their analog counterparts. An IT standard called Power over Ethernet (PoE) is rapidly gaining ground in the security industry. PoE combines power and data into a single network cable, which eliminates the need for local power at the camera level and creates a simple, cost-effective solution for installing the network and power supply.
By using PoE, security professionals do not have to worry about installing power outlets at each camera location. In an enterprise application, this can save thousands of dollars in installation costs. It also means that cameras can be easily moved and that the security system can continue to operate even during a power outage, using backup power available in the server rooms.
Being a Better (Video) Manager
With so many cameras required in enterprise installations, security professionals often wonder how they can manage and administrate a system of that size. Fortunately, IP surveillance allows users a unique level of control over the system that analog systems do not.
For example, camera management software is available to simplify the administration of an enterprise network video installation. Camera management software can enable users to perform sequential or simultaneous firmware upgrades for multiple network video products and can be scaled to handle hundreds of network cameras and video servers. This allows users to manage cameras remotely without having to administer individual cameras. It also uses secure protocols to enable users to locate video products on a network, to set IP addresses and to show whether devices are reachable.
Most video management systems provide remote access to video via the Internet or a local area network (LAN). Security managers can also use the systems to control or limit other usersâ€™ access. This means that some users will just be able to view video, while others will be able to make administrative changes. Most video management systems are just as scalable as the cameras themselves, by providing support to an unlimited number of users, across an unlimited numbers of cameras and facilities.
In an enterprise installation, integrating network video with a broader security and surveillance system is often a necessity. Network video devices have an open application program interface (API), which makes it possible to integrate video with systems such as access control and intrusion detection devices from a wide range of manufacturers. Such integration is not easily done with an analog system.
For example, the Michigan State Police worked with Honeywell to design and install a security system for an off-site facility. For the installation, Honeywell integrated network video with its Digital Video Manager surveillance system and a Cisco fiber-optic network infrastructure. Because of the openness of the video system, Honeywell was also able to link the video with access control and intrusion detection data.
This integration allows video to be taken whenever an employee uses a proximity card to access restricted areas. Video of the person accessing the room can be matched against images of the actual cardholder, providing visual proof that the person using the card is authorized to do so. In addition, the Honeywell intrusion detection system notifies police when a door is left open, whether accidentally or otherwise, and the networked video technology allows them to determine whether a security breach has occurred.