Four Simple Steps to Selling IP Video

June 9, 2015
Evolving features and expanding markets are vastly broadening the video surveillance industry

Though the transition from analog to IP technology has only really started to begin in earnest, the prevalence of IP video brings new questions and considerations, and has caused some integrators to consider a more specialized approach for selling IP video.

With many analog systems and products still on the market and in use today, it can sometimes be a delicate balance of determining the best way to pitch an IP or even a hybrid solution. Here are four best practices for selling IP video:

1. Educate the Customer on the Power of IP

Educating end-users on the vast capabilities of IP cameras is a great place to start. IP video holds some very tangible advantages over analog video, the details and practicalities of which the customer may need help digesting. It offers high-definition imaging and does so at a reasonable price, in fact at a significantly lower price than just a few years ago. Although there are a few proprietary HD analog options available today, with an IP camera, resolution is typically three times that of a typical analog camera, providing a new level of image detail. Additionally, high resolution IP cameras are based on common standards rather than proprietary technology, enabling easier interoperability across systems and infrastructures.

IP cameras also have the onboard processing power that enables additional functionality to run directly from the camera. Think about your smartphone and the apps ecosystem. IP cameras present the same types of possibilities, adding in optional applications that build on the camera’s out of the box capability.

Many premium cameras possess the processing horsepower and available memory to do this. It is simply a matter of time for an ecosystem of add-in functionality to become available. In addition, IP video can be easily viewed and shared, enabling video networks to reach across great distances and giving customers more options when it comes to infrastructure, staffing, and information sharing and analysis.

2. Introduce Analytics

Although employing video tools such as analytics are possible with analog cameras, the analytics functionality is hosted on the back-end VMS system and processed after the analog video is encoded as digital data. IP takes analytics capabilities much further because analytics can run at the “edge” (in the camera itself) rather than be handled as a secondary processing task on a VMS server.

Analytics in the camera distributes the processing load across many devices and unburdens the VMS from handling this task in addition to other VMS functionality. This analytics capability in an IP camera creates the potential for the camera itself to glean useful information from a video stream and make intelligent decisions on the importance of the video and how it should be handled.

What was hoped for in video analytics eight or 10 years ago has come to fruition — there has been a maturation ofthe algorithms and broad adoption of analytics has occurred. Currently, we are seeing certain vertical markets, such as retail, applying analytics for loss prevention purposes as well as for marketing and operational use cases, such as identifying high-traffic patterns for product placement. Other vertical markets are also broadly applying and are interested in the power of analytics.

3. Explore New Markets

Most large companies have already completely transitioned to IP video technology. Thanks to competitive pricing, a growing number of manufacturers and advancing technology, smaller-size installations (16 cameras and fewer) are now viable candidates for IP and represent a previously neglected market that is now a large and rapidly growing IP customer base. IP video can deliver features and solutions to the small company that have never been offered before, including advanced motion detection, facial detection and heat mapping.

Vertical markets in particular were affected by the 2006 and onward economic recession. Those markets now are in essence trying to catch up with current surveillance technology. Two of the largest of these are gaming and retail, where IP technology is providing value to the enterprise far outside the normal security realm.The shift from analog to IP started in earnest just within the past few years. These vertical markets are now beginning to use what other industries — such as banking, finance, government and healthcare — have been for some time.

4. Push an End-to-End Solution

In addition to the many options for open platform video management systems in the market, integrators can also consider manufacturers who offer end-to-end solutions, which provide such benefits such as advanced integrations between system components. While integrations in video are commonplace today, many depend on direct integrations written between camera and VMS, with interoperability standards such as ONVIF and PSIA filling in the gaps. There is still much more work to be done, however, in streamlining the ongoing maintenance and functionalities between different manufacturers’ products.

Smarter camera integration across the system can deliver big cost savings and improve up-time and reliability of the system. For example, camera focus can drift or change over time. Native integrations between a camera and VMS can proactively alert the operator — with the application of a blur analytic — that a camera is out of focus before the unusable video clip is discovered during a post-event forensic investigation. Such integrations can also enable other more detailed functionalities like one-click refocusing of a lens.

Manufacturers who bring end-to-end solutions to market offer the opportunity for end-users to easily add certain components to expand the scale of their system or augment with additional functionalities. For example, a small business may start out with just a camera and a door for its security, then grow in size or experience an incident that requires the addition of more door controllers, cameras and the addition of a video management system to manage multiple recorders or to provide advanced functions.

Ultimately, though, what matters most is giving end-users a video security solution that best meets their needs. In a market where customers’ expectations in business are often driven by the technology they use in their everyday personal lives, this can be challenging. Keeping the end-user’s specific needs at the heart of any proposal seems to work best, regardless of industry or product.

Joel White is the senior product manager for IP cameras, Tyco Security Products. To request more info about the company, visit