Analog Surveillance Makeover

Many small to medium-sized businesses are still entrenched in analog CCTV. Based on price alone, the traditional DVR-based system seems like good value for the money. But times are changing — and that creates opportunity for security dealers and integrators.

The SMB market — which makes up the majority of the 65 percent of systems today that still use analog — is starting to look enviously at peers who made the switch to IP for HDTV-quality resolution, intelligence at the edge and easier remote monitoring. Yet, some are still resistant to scrap legacy equipment that can still get the job done.

Hybrid DVRs were once the only option; however, today there are different IP-based technologies that can create a migration path to network video and help the end-customer overcome their resistance to change.


Video Encoders: The New Hybrid DVR

Video encoders take the concept of hybrid DVRs to new heights. When equipped with an SD card option, a four-channel encoder can store up to 64GB — or several weeks of full frame rate 4CIF resolution video — from four separate analog cameras. If attached to a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, retention rates are increased even more.

These solutions are ideal for SMB systems, as customers can leverage their existing analog cameras while basic client viewing applications let them remotely view live video and search recorded video via any authorized network-connected device.

Unlike traditional hybrid DVRs, most video encoders include some level of intelligence that adds increased value to aging analog systems. For example, Video Motion Detection (VMD) can alert users to someone entering a room, and tampering alarms can indicate if a camera has been moved, damaged or obstructed. When you load more advanced analytics onto the encoder, such as people counting or cross-line detection, the customer gains additional business intelligence and security.

The highest-performance video encoders support up to 16 cameras per “pizza box” unit, while rack-based encoder blades enable enterprise-size solutions to connect up to 84 cameras per chassis — allowing systems to scale to thousands of cameras.


Hosted Video: Managing Surveillance in the Cloud

Video-Surveillance-as-a-Service (VSaaS) via hosted video affords steady, recurring monthly revenue for the integrator while fostering a long-term relationship with the customer. The end-customer receives the latest IP video technology and the ability to access video anytime, anywhere through a secure website without the usual upfront hardware/software investment or worrying about system maintenance, which is performed by the integrator.

Additionally, hosting providers usually allow integrators to private-label their service and sell to customers under the service provider’s name to build brand recognition. It is a very appealing business model for many customers, particularly those who have multiple locations.

If bandwidth is a concern, multi-streaming capabilities of IP cameras enable users to store high frame rate video locally on the video encoder or supplemental NAS while streaming a lower-resolution, lower frame rate to the cloud.


Media Converters: Using Coax

Media converters, also known as Ethernet-over-Coax adaptors, complement both hosted and video encoder hybrid solutions by enabling the customer to re-use existing coax cable when installing new IP cameras.

The IP camera replaces an outdated analog camera, while the Ethernet-over-Coax device converts the signal so video data and camera control can be sent over the coaxial cable. Depending on the quality of the existing cable, converters can extend to more than 1,600 ft., and optional power supplies can be added if more power is needed.


A Path to IP

A DVR is the most expensive, maintenance-heavy, proprietary PC your customer will ever buy. Thankfully, its days are truly numbered as processing power and functionality of edge-based devices continues to expand. Deploying hybrid options gives customers a scalable solution that also facilitates cross-department value from their video, while opening a path to future IP video sales when they begin taking the final steps to full migration.


James Marcella has been a technologist in the security and IT industries for more than 18 years. He is currently the Director of Technical Services for Axis Communications. Request more info an Axis at