Innovation in video surveillance tech at a crossroads: Part 1

Industry experts discuss continued shift towards IP, providing continued support for analog

Editor’s note: This is part one in a two-part series on video surveillance trends from the perspective of several industry experts. Part one examines overall industry trends, the continued migration to IP and how companies are continuing to provide support to the large existing base of analog device users. Part two will delve into the progression of high-resolution imaging technology, developments at the edge and the future of video recording.

Over the past decade, there has been a seismic shift in the evolution of video surveillance. What was once a relatively simple configuration of coaxial cable running from cameras to closed circuit television monitors and VCRs has been revolutionized by network connectivity and ever-increasing image processing power.

The result has been the transformation of what once considered a “dumb” security sensor into an “intelligent” device that provides security managers with actionable data they can use to mitigate risks and more thoroughly investigate incidents after the fact. This is embodied in the multitude of video analytic capabilities offered by today’s video products at both the software and hardware levels. It can also be seen in the wide variety of high-resolution cameras that are currently available in the marketplace.

Despite these technological advances and the tipping point for IP video equipment sales (at least in terms of revenues) being close at hand, the fact remains that analog still makes up the majority of camera installations and will remain a large part of the market for the foreseeable future.

With that being said, what does the future hold for both IP and analog devices? SIW caught up several industry experts on hand at the ASIS conference this week in Chicago to get their take on these and other market trends.

SIW: What is the biggest trend you're seeing currently in the video surveillance market?

Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications: If you look at some of the recent market research, and I don’t think that anyone has any doubt… that IP is the future and that’s the only way to go, I think in the latest IHS research they say, ‘hey it’s tipping over, half of the market is IP, this is the way to go and now there is no doubt’ and so forth. And that’s all fine, fair and correct, but if you actually analyze the numbers a little bit further, it’s half of the revenue in the video business that’s IP video. But if you look at the number of cameras being installed, IHS claims that there are a little over two million IP cameras being installed this year and that’s probably correct, but there’s still six million analog cameras being installed. Of course, they are less revenue per unit, that’s why the IP market is as big as analog, but if you look at the number of channels being installed, still 75 percent is analog and I think that’s pretty true. All of those cameras will be operational, not for one or two years, but more likely for five to 10 years.

We still see huge potential in video encoders and we’ve had a big product revamp of the whole portfolio over the last week or two that we’re going to showcase at ASIS. There are many different ways you can differentiate yourself with an encoder but one thing is price and the price per channel to make it competitive with DVRs. I think the solution is really with SD cards or bundled with other software, that’s really come down in price and I think that’s going to be an important category for many years to come and we want to show that we believe it’s important and a good transitional technology over to IP.

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