By Gadi Piran
For anyone wanting to better understand the features and benefits of an IP-based video surveillance and management system versus a similar analog-based system, there’s a myriad of white papers, case studies and other similar articles available on the Internet to help them do so. What all of these writings seem to conclude, however, is that IP-based video is more efficient, effective and financially opportune than analog systems and that it’s only a matter of time before IP is the predominant choice in the marketplace.
Obviously I agree with the conclusions. IP surveillance management tools that offer more flexibility, scalability and wide-area connectivity than comparative analog or competing surveillance solutions have helped to clearly delineate the advantages of an IP-based surveillance system, and further why network-based systems can legitimately be included under the banner of sustainable technology. In other words, IP-based video is technology that serves current needs and can support future growth without significant incremental cost or disruption. Now compare this meaning to the accepted definition of sustainable technology, which is, technology that provides for our current needs without sacrificing the ability of future populations to sustain them. It’s clear that there is little difference between the two.
One of the reasons that the label of sustainable technology lends itself to network-based video is because digital video data can be recorded, stored, retrieved, viewed and manipulated in an infinitely more efficient and effective fashion than can analog systems.
The systems can also be readily implemented, upgraded or added to, and digital video products such as IP cameras, Network Video Recorders (NVRs) and servers, through an open architecture, are more easily integrated with other security systems such as access control and fire alarm systems.
In addition to advantages such as PoE (Power over Ethernet) and the capability to use wireless cameras, IP-based video surveillance also meets the criteria of sustainable technology in the area of server and storage infrastructure. For instance, distributed recording servers typically use a reduced amount of bandwidth and as such don’t significantly burden network resources. Their energy consumption is also measurably less than what would be consumed by the comparable number of VCRs that would be required to record and/or store the same amount of video data.
The management capabilities and advanced analytics provided by software tools provide users with tremendous flexibility and control, not available with analog systems. These advanced capabilities also translate to the definition of sustainable technology because, for instance, they allow any camera, connected to any NVR, to be instantly accessed, routed or automatically pushed to any video wall monitor or networked PC.
Organizations may elect to eliminate roaming security patrol vehicles because incidents, such as video images of a vehicle in an unauthorized area, are “pushed” to the monitors and security personnel can determine at that time if a patrol car needs to be dispatched. Additionally, the need for matrix switching hardware is eliminated. For monitoring purposes, fewer operators, viewing fewer displays, may be required.
There are many good technical and financial reasons for users to move to IP-based video surveillance systems. The fact that they are sustainable technology simply adds to the credence.
Gadi Piran is President and CTO of OnSSI (www.onssi.com).
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