The turning point of IP video's tipping point

Technology advancements, improved analytics drive IP adoption beyond analog’s comfort zone

Frank De Fina, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Samsung Techwin America, looks at the shifting market landscape saying that he sees more and more residential and small business communities migrating to the business-to-business channel.

“This has broadly expanded the low end of the pyramid and manufactures have made note of it. Many manufacturers are repositioning product to attract customers that have migrated up from residential or down from mid level businesses. The market has impacted the sales of analog manufacturing introducing lower prices since amortized the R&D cost of analog, hence low cost analog is easy to produce,” says De Fina, who believes improved IP infrastructure has spurred growth, but still leaves room for new and legacy analog.

“Manufacturers, including Samsung, have come to realization that there is a lot of analog infrastructure and as such we have reconfigured our product development to reflect that trend. Although the trend remains strong in IP for network systems the market is selling a significant amount of analog because of the infrastructure.”

The rapid pace of camera technology development is a key to widening the base of IP video adopters says Scott Schafer, Arecont Vision Executive Vice President. He states that the gap between IP and analog technologies will continue to widen as cameras evolve.

“Megapixel camera technology provides real value and measurable ROI both to end users and to the channel, as the superior image quality, better overall system performance and cost-efficiency of megapixel IP systems can help close sales. For example, megapixel cameras provide added value by enabling systems with fewer components (including fewer cameras) to deliver high performance for less cost,” Schafer points out. “Megapixel cameras also have fewer moving parts than pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) devices, which can be a source of problems over the life of a system. As a result, megapixel cameras have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than conventional IP cameras.”

The technical hurdles – namely bandwidth and storage -- that initially stymied video on the corporate network among some early adopters have virtually been eliminated thanks to the convergence of both IP and physical technologies and staff. Schafer also credits the development of H.264 video compression as the turning point of the tipping point.

“It has eliminated bandwidth and storage concerns. The use of H.264 image compression reduces file sizes to minimize storage space requirements and to make video streams, particularly megapixel video, manageable on the network. There is also a common myth about the ‘hidden cost’ of H.264, an erroneous belief that because the computational complexity of the H.264 encoder is high, the required decoder resources must also be high,” he says.

“In reality, the opposite is true. H.264 streams can actually require less computational power to decompress. Knowledgeable VARs can easily debunk these misconceptions for end users. It is safe to predict that H.264 will become the de facto compression standard for the security and surveillance market, especially for megapixel IP cameras where the benefits are even further multiplied.”

Perhaps the most important benefit – and stumbling block – for the implementation of IP video surveillance is the vast amount of information the end user receives. The ability of technology to deliver this “Big Data” at our doorstep also requires sophisticated analytics to interpret it.

“The market has seen the introduction of many software solutions to provide the tools to manage tremendous amounts of video surveillance mine the data and then provides actionable and measurable information to the customer. The reality is most surveillance video goes unwatched. With current CPU processing power available, NVRs can analyze video content to interpret the activity or behaviors that security and law-enforcement are looking out for with greater accuracy,” explains Jammy DeSousa, Product Manager for Tyco Security Products.