IP security camera systems for video surveillance are in market for almost two decades. Axis Communications launched the first IP security camera system in 1996. Such a system is directly connected to the network and it sends videos to network video recorder or to server which is equipped with the video management software, which displays, broadcasts, or stores the images. According to the research and consultancy firm Gartner, it will take some time before an average buyer in the video surveillance market favors an IP security camera system over the analog. IP security camera systems are a fast growing market. IHS Research has predicted that the global market for video surveillance will grow by 10% and will attain staggering $35 billion by the end of 2015. And IP security camera systems will likely dominate the market.
According to experts the reason for the continued dominance of analog video surveillance systems was due to the costs of upgrade and a lack of knowledge about the networking in some physical security units. Two important considerations when choosing an IP security camera system:
Full vs Partial IP for a Security Camera System
The buyer can get some advantages of an IP security camera system while keeping the investment in analog by the use of encoders which convert analog signal to the one which can run on IP. The leader in analog to digital systems is Pelco, which Steve Hunt refers to as 800 pound gorilla in the analog world. Steve Hunt is the founder of 4A International, a security think tank. He is also the founder of Bosch Security systems which is another analog supplier.
Hunt tells that these systems work fine but are not really architected for the growth. He further says that using IP bases system, one can use 24-port switch in order to plug anything one wants on the network. According to him full IP security camera systems are much more efficient and they require much less maintenance. He further tells that these are digital from end to end and are quite reliable because of the fewer moving parts.
For the North Carolina State University, the analog to digital from Pelco was the best option for upgrading the previous video surveillance system. Scott McInturf, the project manager of All Campus Network in N.C State says that those were the early days of the IP security camera systems so they felt comfortable with the analog option.
At that time, the network cameras did not have features like the backlight compensation or a wide variety of lenses. According to him, the advantage of analog cameras which were connected to IP encoder was that one could pick any of the surveillance cameras which would fill the need for lighting and the environmental conditions. The network cameras have caught up fast with the analog ones, in terms of the features.
Is Bandwidth Enough for an IP Security Camera System
The IP security camera systems place more demands on the existing infrastructures of network. Physical security division will have to work in partnership with IT department in order to choose the best option, which means they have to overcome a traditional barrier between two departments. According to Hunt the two groups are being forced to work together by the network cameras, but they are hesitant to do so.
Jeff Vining, the vice president for research at Gartner says that the best decision on the network design can be made jointly by the two groups. For example, streaming a live video is bandwidth intensive; it might be too costly to upgrade the networks, in some cases it can be difficult to use in the situations with many users. In order to optimize the bandwidth one may need to use the application delivery controllers, he says.
When the bandwidth is sufficient, two groups still need to communicate. Because there is a robust network and cooperation of network technology group, the existing network could be used which we had partitioned for the security applications, says McInturf.