Cruzin’ with Susan

Oct. 27, 2008
Got To Revolution An Executive Roundtable on the Progression of Digital Video

Security Dealer is embarking on a series of roundtable discussions with executives and integrators who are proficient in the digital video surveillance market. I have the pleasure of kicking off the series. With the rag top revving, the conversation went into high gear, asking participants to comment on how digital video recording is transforming security. They discuss how digital recorders took over the video market in such a quick amount of time and in a big way.

Peter Boriskin, Director of Technology
Access Control & Video Systems for Tyco
One of the chief advantages to the DVR/NVR vs. the traditional VCR is its ability to always be recording/buffering events. In the traditional model, if an event took place, by the time the VCR’s head snapped in and the tape started moving, whatever it was, was gone. The DVR/NVR can always be buffering video, and only store it long-term if it is of interest, thus giving not only immediate recording, but pre-recording as well.

Another major advantage was the speed at which video can be searched, instead of talking up to 24 hours to evaluate a 24 hour VCR tape, search parameters can be entered into the DVR/NVR and in seconds all of the possible events that match the criteria will materialize.

In short, I would say that the total cost of ownership, for the DVR/NVR solution was dramatically less than tape—since Day 1—even if the units may cost more.

There are two schools of thought in regard to features. The first is that the recorder should be packed with as much as possible to meet all of the customer requirements that may arise. The second is that the customer should be able to fit the “best of breed” recorder with the “best of breed” video analytics system, to truly have the best of class system.

Tyco has put efforts in both directions. Our Intellex DVR/NVR has both advanced on-board search capabilities, as well as the ability to connect to some of the industries leading video analytics providers. Our Network Client monitoring software also has those advanced search features, as well as a means of snapping in third party video content analysis tools (with SP2).

As to what the integrators can expect in the future, I would say that they should expect that the on-board analytics will improve but that for the enterprise user, they will be looking for the marriage of the best DVR/NVR with the best VCA software algorithms, both of which they will see from Tyco.

Frank Abram, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for SANYO Security Products
Although the technology has been available for quite some time, unfortunately the infrastructure (i.e. network bandwidth) to support the technology has not. IT management had been reluctant to give up precious network bandwidth for video applications and until more robust networks were deployed, video security appliances were relegated to interface capability only. As bandwidth limitations minimized, security management quickly seized on the increased functionality and quality of digital and network recorders and started rapid replacement of tape-based time lapse recorders with the new technology. But they didn’t stop there. IP based video and network recorders are the final piece of the puzzle necessary to permit the full fledged integration of a security enterprise environment. The ability to tie together all the applications—video surveillance, access control, visitor management, intrusion, fire alarm systems and primary building management systems—and share programmed commands from a common platform, anywhere on the network, is now possible and being implemented on a wide scale basis.

Moving away from a mechanical, tape-driven appliance to a hard drive device supported by software opens the door for innovation, and this innovation can be driven by necessity or imagination. In either case, features and functionality will continue to expand. With regard to future development, I believe the Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) will play a pivotal role in bringing about new or upgraded functionality because the SDK enables resellers, customers and strategic partners to tailor a specific requirement and potentially influence the direction of a product. As well, this middleware will allow the creation of new features and applications in a more flexible and cost effective way.

It becomes difficult for manufacturers to foresee all the needs of a customer, but the SDK allows that customer to “tweak,” if you will, the already formidable features/functions of the product and, more importantly, interface that product with other security equipment within the system.

Margie Chiaramonte, Marketing Manager for Mitsubishi Security Products
Beyond simply recording video footage of areas and events, the migration to digital has been accelerated by advanced features that digital has over analog. These include the ability to build networks and to easily monitor, archive and access digital video.

These features not only make digital a more compelling choice over analog, but they make CCTV systems appropriate to wider array of applications—as a result broadening the market for security systems and enhancing the business opportunities for security dealers and contractors.

Another significant driver has been the short learning curve associated with DVRs. Rather than re-invent the wheel, so to speak, manufacturers have evolved the analog jog/shuttle topology so that the existing user base would have one less reason not to go digital.

Our business is all video recorders and we are about 50-50, digital-analog. Analog, for a variety of reasons, remains important to a large number of our contractors and dealers and we are committed to not simply providing a comprehensive choice of digital and analog video recorders, but also to enabling our DVRs with features than address both domains. This can be as simple a featuring RCA outlet on the DVR so digital footage can be easily copied to analog tape, which is important if the police station or court house has not yet made the leap to digital.

The DVR has become a recorder, a network hub and a one-box solution including built-in multiplexers and advanced software features such face detection and recognition—all because software (as opposed to hardware) has become the primary innovation driver in DVR design. And there is no reason why this trend should not continue.

Software innovation requires significant commitment of R&D resources—one Mitsubishi Digital has already made—but you can expect even further advances in face and object recognition, anomaly detection, motion detection, the automation of pan, tilt and zoom and compression technologies such as JPEG 2000 that make managing video evidence easier, more reliable and more lightweight.

Dealers will appreciate that the easier and more applicable the manufacturing community makes our technologies, the broader array of uses security dealers and integrators will be able to find for our products. As such, innovation will drive growth in the market but dealers will also need to be careful as this will attract competition from other low voltage disciplines and from the data/Telco domains.

Robert Siegel, General Manager of Video Solutions for GE’s Security Business
The DVR is a much more effective and efficient device for achieving what the market has wanted out of surveillance—the increased protection of people and property—in two significant ways. The only real similarity between the DVR and analog recorders is that both record. However, with the DVR, one can make very quick searches on hard drives much faster than scanning yards of analog tape to find the image needed. Not only is it significantly easier to get images off the DVR, it is much easier to disburse them. Using already-installed, IT-based transmission systems, one simply transmits images to law enforcement or any other reporting agencies and organizations that might request or need them. For instance, a picture of the bad guy can be at the local TV station in seconds.

Secondly, the DVR performs at a lower cost and higher quality. DVRs cost less and are dramatically more efficient to maintain. Discs are much easier to store. There is virtually no degradation of quality and a hard disk can literally hold months of images.

Sales of DVRs grow significantly from year to year. Different segments of the market have varying needs. Working with their dealers and integrators, leading manufacturers are creating a series of surveillance solutions. Many of these new applications incorporate and leverage economies of the computer industry.

For instance, the lower and middle market segments can take advantage of new price/performance points that only IT solution technologies, such as MPEG-4 imaging and Wi-Fi transmission techniques, can provide dealers and integrators to pass on to their customers. Channel partners are now able to sell into and easily service customer types that either couldn’t afford surveillance in the past or who would be entirely too difficult to maintain.

At the higher end of the market, it is video-oriented software that plugs in the needed features, advantages and benefits that provide increased security solutions. With such software, dealers and integrators are able to sell up their customers with capabilities previously unavailable. For instance, dealers and integrators can supply software applications targeted at specific market segments, such as POS integration for retail settings. This creates upselling opportunities and ongoing relationships with customers as software tied into video surveillance can bring both security and productivity enhancements to customers.

Don Taylor, Vice President of Marketing for Dedicated Micros
There has been a surge of interest and a greater awareness for security over the past decade, including the events of 9/11. As well, the transformation from analog to digital technology has provided the major stimulus for growth.

As advantageous as the analog multiplex recorders technology was, the inconveniences of scrolling through hours or even days of video to locate an event, and the headaches of tape storage and maintenance still remained. Digital recorders provided multifold benefits over analog, including better picture quality, larger storage capacity, the ability to simultaneously record, playback and copy from a single unit, and instant results searching events by time and date. Some DVRs even offer hard drive hot swapping, like our BX2 CA unit.

Network recorders took the digital capabilities a step further, opening up an entire new range of DVR capabilities, with remote viewing, control and retrieval from virtually anywhere in the world. Almost 90 percent of our product line consists of multiplexed DVRs, because our company is focused on digital and network video recording. We have expanded our product line into many vertical markets by providing additional software, such as POS transaction capture for retail, or ATM interfaces for banking. We have also modified the hardware to provide a robust mobile unit for the transportation market.

Competitively, most DVR vendors or providers have continuously increased their record rates, storage capability and options. As customers become more knowledgeable and comfortable with the use of digital video recording, they begin to look for additional capabilities as well as increased security measures. They are also requiring more video storage than ever before.

At Dedicated Micros, though, we believe that it is just as important to have ease of use and consequently, we strive to make our DVRs as user friendly as possible.

Advanced features do make the customer’s job easier, providing a strong selling point for dealers. We provide features such as internal CD writers to provide easy event copying for law enforcement, and dual compression capabilities to allow greater flexibility in recording and transmission modes.

As many businesses are leaning towards integrating security with IT, we’ve added an entire line that is dedicated to recording over IP. The flexibility of IP networking makes it possible to expand a security system gradually and provides global authorized access, while maintaining compliance with recording standards for law enforcement.

What dealers can expect to see in the future will be the continued partnering of DVR vendors with access control and intrusion detection vendors to provide seamless video integration. Dedicated Micros has conducted rigorous research to find the best partners in the business, so that the combination is one that provides high quality and support on both sides.