Breaking Barriers: Why More Customers Are Now Eyeing IP Video

Attending ISC West this month? You’ll want to know what’s made IP video surveillance the choice for the next decade of video surveillance.

CI Staff

IP or network video surveillance has long been considered the next generation of advancement from analog video. During the past decade, there have been significant barriers to mass-market adoption of IP video surveillance. However, several factors have evolved to facilitate the rapid adoption of networked video today.

These factors where critically positive traction has taken place include cost, reliability, security, infrastructure, latency and legacy installation bases. All of these aspects come together and help to determine if and when IP video surveillance is the right choice. Let’s look at those developments, as well as what’s taking place across the commercial and industrial/specialty markets.

Most Costs Are Declining

During the past decade, advances in technology have significantly lowered cost. There are several levels of cost to consider: equipment, infrastructure, bandwidth and total cost of ownership (TCO).

We saw significant advances in the reductions of these costs, but they were not all coordinated. Thus we saw smaller adoption rates that primarily focused on large projects that had the funding, technical expertise and scale that made IP video a good choice. For example, we did see a drop in the cost of IP cameras themselves, but reliable high-speed infrastructure continued to be expensive to install and maintain.

Remote viewing still required expensive dedicated transmission lines that were maintained by IT departments. Today, with low-cost reliable network infrastructure and high-speed business-class bandwidth available to the masses, the true benefits of IP video surveillance have begun to be realized in the general marketplace.

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Cost is not the only driver in this decision. We can look at reliability, security, infrastructure, and latency as the requirements that need to be prioritized and considered. There are different levels of acceptability for each of these items and we will see a cost/benefit tradeoff to get a higher performance level. The need for low latency and high reliability in mission-critical applications is different from low cost and ease of use requirements in residential and commercial applications.

Understanding your customer requirements and their priorities will make the sale easier and raise the customer satisfaction level post-install.

Commercial Users Want Review, Remote Features

Commercial customers are similar to residential clients in that they will use the system to review an incident after the fact or watch live remotely to monitor employees or property. The typical system would be four to 16 cameras, and 720p to 1080p resolution would provide the HD the average business owner would expect. Retention requirements generally are 30 days.

Varifocal lenses and dome cameras are typically desired to blend in with normal business aesthetics and most likely are used only during business hours. Location (stand-alone versus inline) will also determine the need or desire for exterior coverage and day/ night IR options. Typical camera locations include: front door, back door, office, cash registers, inventory area and customer sales areas. Enhanced coverage may include parking lots, walkways and trash collection areas.

Commercial users benefit from point-of-sale (POS) integration and some video analytics such as heat mapping and people counting.

Industrial Favors Advanced Capabilities

Industrial and specialty customers are completely different from residential and commercial customers and need to be handled as such. Special requirements including explosion proof (intrinsically safe), high ingress protection, ballistic protection, extreme lighting conditions, low latency and tamper resistance are very important. These customers understand that these requirements will carry a premium price and they are prepared to pay for these specialized devices and installations.

Higher resolutions such as 4K and beyond are frequently beneficial in these environments. The increased field of view across large areas helps to deliver solid coverage, while lowering overall camera count. This is especially important since the cost per cam-era and the labor to install it are significantly higher than a traditional installation.

The use of advanced infrastructure (fiber optics, managed switches, QoS and SNMP) has become commonplace. IT security is also a strict requirement. These systems are typically managed by a security professional and have direct interaction with IT department personnel. The demands of these systems are greater as well.

Live monitoring can benefit from video analytics to prioritize the operator’s attention to an event over a nonevent. Pan/tilt/zoom (P/T/Z) virtual or mechanical cameras provide the operator an opportunity to follow a subject through a scene or across multiple scenes. Extended storage is required to handle the larger camera counts (up to 5,000).

The amount of cameras, resolution and frame rate, as well as required retention period will determine storage requirements. Advanced training and even certifications for the operator may be required. A control room to coordinate multiple systems or locations is generally used. Integration into access control and intrusion detection systems is frequently required to provide the best benefits for the operator. Interaction between the systems mentioned enhances the total value of the security solution.

Fault tolerance and reliability are a key requirement for this customer segment. Failure of the video surveillance system could result in business operation suspension, or life-threating conditions. Appropriate steps should be taken to account for points of potential failure and the system and equipment should be chosen to meet these requirements.

Author Joel Rieger is senior product marketing manager for Dahua Technology USA. This article was adapted from the original version published in CI sister publication Security Sales & Integration.