Some thoughts on Public Surveillance RFPs

Aug. 17, 2009

I was looking at the latest public RFP for a wireless IP video surveillance solution and this RFP, like most, left me wondering why the protocol has remained as it has. Mainly:

  1. What was being asked for would require a small data center just to house the storage environment for all the recorded video.
  2. The throughput necessary to make this work is so large that a muni-mesh wireless network would require a huge supporting network of wired and wireless backhauls or throughput injection points (see my previous blog on building a mesh network), making it unfeasible under any reasonable circumstances.
  3. In principal I understand that public safety can't miss a beat and that the smallest bit of video can mean the difference between catching a perp and letting him/her walk but in practice is it fiscally responsible? Isn't 15 fps enough?

Instead of shooting for the moon right off the bat we should focus on building smart, flexible, scalable networks that allow organizations to perform to 120% of their ability without breaking the bank. To do this, I propose that instead of full time 30fps at 4CIF we use VMD, reduce to 15 fps, use PTMP wireless instead of mesh, keep the public off the wireless security network and archive video older than 60 days to tape instead of keeping it online for 365 days. This will reduce storage requirements by 96% and network throughput by 50% or more, seriously cutting hardware costs while still providing all the necessary tools and benefits of a high performing IP video network.

Just my 2 cents but would love to hear yours.

-Ronen Isaac (Continental Computers &