Another important aspect to note about these two options is that all the effort takes place at the head-end, which is all about how video is managed, recorded and displayed. In short, we’re not touching cameras or their wiring, which saves time, money and effort.
Option 3: IP Cameras
Now let’s say you wanted to replace analog cameras with IP cameras to give you the potential of HD or better video quality. This move still requires that you replace DVRs with NVRs or hybrid recorders. An IP camera is a network device and as such cannot simply reuse the existing coax cabling analog cameras use. You have two choices in this case:
Replace the coax with network cables (or wireless infrastructure, which is possible but not very common). It is a significant effort, but one which brings many benefits since a single network cable can carry video from many cameras, one- or two-way audio, PTZ control signals, alarm inputs, relay outputs and even power. Also, you may be able to leverage existing network switches and/or network cabling.
Use an adaptor. There are adaptors that can make a length of coax appear like a network cable by inserting one between the camera and the cable, and one between the cable and the network switch.
Option 3 requires the greatest amount of effort and cost but will move you immediately upon completion to pure IP. If you are not ready to take that leap, options 1 or 2 might be the right path for you. Just weigh your considerations carefully. If you plan to migrate to pure IP eventually, it may make sense to do it in one stage (option 3), rather than taking a two-stage approach (option 1 or 2, followed by option 3). Weigh the costs, benefits and other considerations carefully.
Other Migration Issues
Analog to IP aside, there are other video migration challenges that organizations can face. For example, say one company with one Video Management System (VMS) acquires another company with a totally different brand of VMS. Whether the two systems are analog or IP-based is not the main factor here — what is important is the need to merge the systems into a single user interface, so they are easily managed and appear as one system to the operator.
This can be achieved by replacing the two different user interfaces with a VMS-agnostic software that presents one view to the operator, while the separate Video Management Systems continue to run in the background. This software, known as PSIM (physical security information management), can merge different brands of systems into one user interface, whether they be VMS, access control, intrusion, or other physical security sub-systems.
A Merger & Acquisition (M&A) scenario is just one case where you might want to use PSIM to provide a single view of multiple VMS systems. Maybe you want to replace your existing video system for some other reason. Is the VMS vendor still in business? Have they “end-of-lifed” their product? Has their support gone downhill, their pricing gone up? You many have any one of a number of motivations to change.
Still, a full rip and replace may not be as attractive as a gradual phase out/replacement, for budgetary or other reasons. The right PSIM software can integrate multiple systems without the operator ever having to know there are two or more video systems running behind the scenes.
Dr. Bob Banerjee is Senior Director of Training and Development for NICE Systems Security Division. In this position, he develops programs and initiatives to educate, train and support the company’s extensive network of security system integrators and dealers, and provide thought leadership for its security industry outreach efforts. Banerjee has more than a decade of high tech and security industry experience, having also held senior marketing and global product management positions at Bosch Security Systems, Intuitive Systems, OneSource Information Services, Axeda Systems and Nortel Networks. He holds a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from the Advanced Research Center at the University of Bristol, England. Dr. Banerjee can be contacted at Bob.Banerjee@nice.com.