Within the next three years, more than half of the surveillance cameras used in North America will be IP cameras, according to the research firm Frost & Sullivan. It appears that the fabled “tipping point” is upon us, and traditional analog CCTV is slowly running out of steam.
The emergence of IP-based surveillance also means video surveillance management is becoming a shared function of Facilities, Operations and the IT department. For IT decision makers, many of the advantages of IP surveillance solutions will be obvious:
- Connectivity is simpler, less expensive and standards-based;
- Management can be centralized with policy-driven automation of surveillance and video-logging tasks;
- The availability of high-resolution IP cameras is enabling organizations to capture far more compelling evidence for protection, litigation and prosecution; and
- Bandwidth and storage use can be managed and scaled more easily and flexibly, using open standards.
The automation and scalability that comes with IP surveillance is also expanding the range of video surveillance applications — whether they are for security, crime prevention and detection, monitoring of staff and facilities, or vertical-specific applications such as shrinkage control for retail or risk management in healthcare.
Investing in a new security system can appear to be a daunting expense for your customers; however, with affordable scalable IP surveillance systems from vendors offering end-to-end solutions, the return on investment (ROI) can sometimes be realized in fewer than 12 months. For security integrators, the question is not whether IP surveillance offers the best solution — IT IS how to build an IP surveillance solution that meets all of your customer’s needs.
IP Cameras are getting smarter, becoming less expensive and are providing better resolution than ever. Multi-megapixel cameras, for example, feature resolution three to nine times greater than analog CCTV cameras and can be used for applications that require viewing of finer details, such as personal identification for security, or crime prevention, or applications like license plate capture or load validation in warehouse operations. Additionally, megapixel cameras can reduce the number of cameras that need to be deployed.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) provides up to 15 watts of power to the edge device, which is more than enough for most IP cameras. Some of the newest cameras have a reduced energy footprint that requires as little as 2 watts of power. PoE+ extends power to approximately 25 watts to support such features as pan/tilt/zoom and heaters/blowers in outdoor enclosures.
IP Surveillance makes it possible to simultaneously record audio and video for better incident analysis for employee training, litigation and safety compliance assessments. Another benefit is that digitized footage from IP-based cameras stored on a network storage device can be easily searched, archived or even distributed using basic video management software. For industries that regulate video surveillance footage such as gambling, archival and retrieval makes it easy to ensure compliance.
Other common features/benefits include: User-selectable compression codecs, including H.264; security encryption; low-light sensitivity; web-based remote access; Video Management Software (VMS) support; integrated infrared illumination; SD card slot for local event-driven recording and motorized pan/tilt/zoom.
Building an End-to-End Solution
With all of the advantages of IP surveillance, there are also challenges that can be best dealt with by understanding and evaluating an end-to-end solution.
Central Management extends the reach of video surveillance networks, and gives the user the ability to control and configure the cameras centrally, from any location. Centralized management enables organizations to set policies for usage, that enhance security and allow control of such features as automated snapshot, event, alarm, and motion detection.