IP Video Surveillance

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A White Paper for Security Managers and Decisions Makers
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How to Get More Out of Your Security Investment

Foreword

In today’s budget constrained environment, you need a cost-effective video surveillance solution that manages your physical and logical security needs—while providing benefits and efficiencies to your business.

Video surveillance has long been an essential component of an effective security program. Over the past few years, IP video surveillance has gained popularity due to its many advantages over traditional analog CCTV technology.

Reaping the full benefits of a video surveillance system requires a focused plan that not only accounts for the challenges and priorities of today, but also for those that will arise in one year, five years and beyond. Given the benefits of IP video surveillance, starting your upgrade today may be a worthwhile consideration for your business.

In this white paper we will outline how IP Video Surveillance has become an increasingly cost-effective choice over analog CCTV, and why it should be considered an essential component of your business security system.

IP Video Surveillance: A Smart Upgrade

IP video surveillance provides a number of benefits, and with the proper plan, you can leverage your existing infrastructure.

This white paper, designed for security managers and decision makers, will detail the four essential areas you must be aware of to implement an effective IP video surveillance program:

Benefits—Compare the benefits of IP video surveillance to analog CCTV.

Video Data Storage—Understand how video data is stored using IP technology.

Leveraging Infrastructure—Learn how to leverage existing infrastructure to attain cost-effective IP technology.

Considerations for an Upgrade—Review important considerations for upgrading to IP video surveillance.

Benefits

Compare the Benefits of IP Video Surveillance to Analog CCTV.

There are many reasons why an increasing number of customers are considering upgrading existing analog CCTV systems to IP technology.

Improved Image Quality

If your security or business needs require you to have higher resolution or expand your fields of view for the cameras, IP can deliver.

  • Businesses that have experienced an incident and were unable to retrieve clear resolution to view details of the event may want to consider the image quality improvements that can be achieved from IP video.
  • Given the resolution of IP cameras from 1 megapixel to 29 megapixel, and the capability of analytics from a pixel-based analysis using heuristics and artificial intelligence to trigger actions and categorize objects, data can now be validated more than ever before—and less false positives are experienced.
  • Superior image quality allows for better decision-making to improve security and manage your business.

Scalability

IP video surveillance systems provide more future scalability options than analog systems, and this should be an important consideration for your business.

With an analog system, each camera cable is required to travel to the head end and tie directly into a DVR or Matrix switcher. IP-based systems permit the camera cable (Cat5e/Cat6) to run to the nearest network switch located at an intermediate distribution frame (IDF) or main distribution frame (MDF). A switch can easily be added if additional cameras are required on the network. The scalability of an IP video system provides flexibility and room for growth in the future.

Superior image quality allows for better decision-making to improve security and manage your business.

Increased Cost Efficiency

Achieving IP technology is more affordable than ever before. Panoramic IP cameras typically costing over $1,000 and up are now selling for $500 to $600. Over the past few years, the cost of manufacturing IP technology components has declined dramatically, as well as the cost per megapixel resolution. In fact, a 1080p megapixel camera delivers three times the resolution as compared to an analog camera at an equal cost. The total savings per number of pixels delivered with megapixel cameras versus analog is considerable. If your company is considering an upgrade to an IP video surveillance system but does not have the budget allocation for a complete replacement of an analog system, a hybrid system may be a cost-effective option.

Remote Capabilities That Embrace Mobile Devices

In today’s mobile environment it is not just a convenience, but a requirement for technology to have the flexibility to provide users with the capability to access their systems remotely. From security managers to first responders, the ability to monitor their system without the need for a dedicated work center is a must. Access must now be provided through the Web with an emphasis on mobile access using a tablet or smartphone. Storage of video data through the cloud allows users to access and communicate video clips efficiently and without the typical bandwidth constraints.

Increased Security and Risk Mitigation Through Video Analytics

IP video surveillance, enabled through cloud technology, allows video analytics data to be delivered to any smartphone or mobile device—via email or with text message alerts. If suspicious activity is detected at your facility, an alert along with the accompanying video clip can be sent directly to the designated responders: the end user, on-site security personnel and the central monitoring center. In the event a crime is visually verified, local law enforcement can be notified and priority response can be issued. The process can help mitigate risk, help increase criminal apprehension and potentially limit property loss.

  • Even if the operating budget does not yet allow an investment in a camera upgrade, you can still take advantage of some of the video analytics technology that IP-based systems will provide.
  • Analytics that are normally programmed at the edge, or at the IP camera level, can also be utilized on analog cameras through a device installed at the network closet. This device incorporates the analytics engine, an encoder, on-board storage and event management.
  • Video analytics technology allows object recognition of people and vehicles, providing superior identification over analog technology, and dramatically reduces the number of false-positive alerts.

Business Intelligence Drives Profitability

In industries such as retail and restaurants, video can be used to provide valuable marketing data to the business.

  • Marketers can use video footage to review people counting and demographics, queue line lengths, customer behavior patterns, dwell times and customer sentiment.
  • Transaction integration with POS equipment allows management to analyze video of register transactions and match it with specific events in order to investigate incidents and optimize store efficiencies.
  • By leveraging the integration of business data with video intelligence, daily store operations can be improved and enable business to ultimately increase profitability.

Video Data Storage

Understand how video data is stored using IP technology.

A Well Thought Out Plan

The most common concern when making the jump from analog CCTV to IP video surveillance involves how the video data is stored and how much storage space is required. The traditional method of storing security video data includes a self-contained system architecture housed at the local premise, consisting of analog cameras and a DVR or NVR. Although this basic architecture still remains true, careful consideration must be given to the amount of storage required, how it is accessed and intelligent archiving.

  • Due to the amount of bandwidth that is required for IP video, best practice for storage of high resolution video calls for having the data remain as close to the video source as possible.
  • A large amount of bandwidth translates to increased hard drive storage space of the video footage, so decentralized storage at the local premise is recommended.
  • The data, hardware and software can still be managed centrally utilizing an enterprise video management system (VMS).
  • Security managers can still have the ability to manage multiple systems at various global locations, perform health status reporting and monitor archive retrieval storage issues while keeping storage decentralized.

Using cloud technology, large enterprise VMS systems allow for the capability of sending video data associated with an incident to your security personnel via text message or email. If the information is to be viewed on a mobile device, the resolution and frame rate can be reduced so that the video clip is manageable. The information can also be sent with a URL to view the original recorded footage from a Web browser or connect directly to the live video feed. Cloud options offer access to an unlimited number of individuals to view and manage the video data without constraining the company network, if planned correctly by a skilled system integrator.

The scalability of an IP video system provides flexibility and room for growth in the future.

Two Important Considerations

Two factors can limit the cloud services available for use with an IP video system: scalability and bandwidth. These are critical data points that must be answered during the planning process and will determine what degree of cloud internet services will be required. For example, if the business requires hosting of all data off-site with only the cameras on-site, a great deal of bandwidth resources will be required. Limitations to the amount of cameras on-site and resolution will inhibit scalability, and therefore other technologies should be planned to incorporate any potential future growth in the system.

Taking Advantage of the Cloud

Applications and hardware are available that can take advantage of the cloud more efficiently and costeffectively. Employing a cost-effective local network attached storage (NAS) device at the premise to store raw video footage and program specific events (such as a human coming over a fence) to trigger recording can allow you to use analytics at the edge. The result is intelligent collection and cost-effective cloud usage of critical security data and business information. Typically, the cost of cloud data storage is determined by the amount of space being used or the amount of bandwidth the facilities are using. Investing in video analytics and having technology with the capability to record and store only the video footage of actual incidents will make a vast impact on the budget in the long run.

Calculating the Most Effective Hardware Storage Platform

When determining the amount of storage or hard drive space required for your business, manufacturers of network video recorders and security systems integrators can assist in calculating the most effective hardware storage platform that will perform in the parameters required. The processing and resource calculation will take into consideration requirements that can include:

  • The number of cameras and their resolution
  • The video compression format being employed
  • The length of storage time
  • Any requirements for continuous recording or on-event upon motion, or alarm input trigger
  • Duration and frequency of recording and frame rate

Leveraging Infrastructure

Learn how to leverage existing infrastructure to attain cost-effective IP technology.

It has never been easier or more cost-effective to leverage your existing infrastructure while transitioning from analog to IP video. By bringing analytics into your CCTV system as it exists via intelligent encoders, you can complete the integration without disrupting the current video surveillance system—and this maximizes your investment.

Integrate Your Analog and IP Systems

Many companies are achieving cost-effective IP video surveillance through the technological capabilities that bring their IP and analog systems together. This is accomplished through hybrid NVRs or separate encoders, which can capture the analog signal and encode the signal to transverse an IP network. An IP-based VMS can then be used to manage the existing analog cameras as well as any IP cameras that may be acquired.

If the existing analog cameras are functioning properly, meeting the present security needs and there is no business need to upgrade to high resolution cameras, utilizing encoders can be a cost-effective way to upgrade the system to IP—without replacing cameras or upgrading the entire system. On the other hand, if many analog cameras are installed and in need of maintenance, it may be expedient to consider upgrading to IP. This will allow you to reduce the number of cameras installed due to the increased resolution of the IP technology, achieving improved reliability and higher resolution.

Use Common IP Protocols to Manage Your Video Infrastructure Health

IP video surveillance requires the IT infrastructure to be available and maintained 24/7 in order to capture a recording of any incident that may occur. The security manager needs to be alerted to any issues, such as a malfunctioning network link, faulty hard drive or when video is not recording. Moving to IP will provide the framework as a standard through SNMP (simple network management protocol), or even ICMP (internet control message protocol) to allow the capability to proactively monitor the health of the system.

  • For instance, an ICMP echo request, or ping, will query the end devices to retrieve basic information, including whether the devices are functioning and communicating. This process saves a great deal of time, eliminating the requirement of inspecting every camera and recorder manually.
  • SNMP also allows you to determine the real-time health of your devices through security specific MIB (Management Information Base) definitions.
  • IP video surveillance provides efficiencies to the security manager, as well as the IT department, by providing health management and bandwidth monitoring systems for the security system that can be utilized seamlessly with the health management and bandwidth monitoring of the company’s other IP systems. This includes application servers, database servers, HVAC systems and so forth, collectively communicating health management and bandwidth monitoring information to a central location.
  • Proactively managing the health of system components can reduce risk by limiting liability of not capturing video of any incidents that may occur during the time that any part of the system is down.

Outsource and Achieve Efficiencies With Managed Video Services

Organizations that wish to outsource functions such as monitoring, health management and the maintenance of their video surveillance system can achieve operational efficiencies in staff resources and expertise through managed video services.

The IP infrastructure provides the platform for your video system to be remotely monitored by the central monitoring centers to ensure the health of the system infrastructure more effectively. If a problem is found, the security manager can be notified so that maintenance can be scheduled promptly and keep downtime to a minimum.

With managed video services, the central monitoring centers can observe recorded activities upon a security breach and notify local law enforcement to issue priority response or an on-site security resource as directed. Finally, reporting data can be provided on a regular basis to help keep the security manager informed of exceptions, alarm activity, system downtime and more.

With managed video services, the central monitoring centers can observe recorded activities upon a security breach and notify local law enforcement to issue a priority response.

Considerations for an Upgrade

Review important considerations for upgrading to IP video surveillance.

There are instances when an enterprise may need to consider replacing the existing analog video system with a complete IP-based video surveillance system. If components of the system are in need of constant maintenance or if the business strategy requires IP video data within a year or so, it may be time to consider the investment in a full IP system versus a hybrid system.

Businesses that employ physical guards at their facilities may consider how an IP system can provide cost savings. For instance, in large urban areas where copper theft is on the rise at an alarming rate, a facility that houses a great deal of copper may hire a physical guard to patrol and monitor these assets. Monitoring the assets in question with cameras and sensors can be done for a fraction of the cost while utilizing trained operators at central monitoring centers.

Consider these steps to help support a successful implementation for your IP video surveillance security program.

Planning is Critical

Strategic planning can go a long way to avoid obsolescence and achieve scalability. Prior planning helps your business avoid investing in a technology that adequately addresses security needs now but could quickly become obsolete. The velocity of technology obsolescence in IP-based video is exponential—analog technology has not changed a great deal over the years but IP becomes more and more advanced in a short period of time.

Since security systems can be 10 to 15 year assets, consider technology that will not become obsolete in a few years and can be easily upgraded without changing the core infrastructure. Understanding the strategic direction of your video surveillance platform will help you make a wise investment that will serve the business needs for years to come.

Understand Your Current IT Infrastructure

Gain a good understanding of the IT infrastructure and architectural capabilities of your location(s) for technology upgrades. In order to make your upgrade project successful, a good understanding of the current IT infrastructure is essential, including available network bandwidth and connectivity, power, rack space, port availability and backup uninterruptible power supply (UPS). By utilizing existing cameras and cabling infrastructure, enhancements such as encoders, switches, network video recorders and network connectivity can bring your system up to IP capabilities.

Choosing the Right Partner is Extremely Important

It’s important to partner with a true systems integrator. Working with an integrator that has a high level IT skill set and real world experience in large scale environments will help you effectively implement a successful IP video surveillance program. The right partner will work within your budget, address your security needs now and provide scalability for future business applications.

Seek out a partner with the following attributes and capabilities:

A partner with advanced IT skill set and proven track record of IT support and services, both inside and outside the security industry.

IP video technology requires knowledge beyond security and demands expertise with servers and applications that are traditionally directed through the IT department.

Without the proper IT skill set, bringing in security technology could introduce vulnerabilities into the backbone of your network. On the other hand, a partner who has deep security knowledge will allow you to incorporate the proper security techniques to mitigate risk and increase situational awareness in the event of an incident. Countless communications providers are recently touting offerings that bundle security but lack the proficiency in the details needed to address safety, risk management and loss prevention challenges.

A partner with commercial experience.

Partners who are not experienced with commercial applications at the enterprise level could leave gaps in your security plan and your business open to liability and possible business-impacting downtime.

Experienced IT-based systems integrators can help you reduce risks by developing an objective review of your existing systems and infrastructure and provide a comprehensive risk analysis to help you improve your security program.

A partner with a national presence and resources to service all of your business locations.

If your business is growing into locations across multiple states or across the country, partnering with a provider that can service and support all of your locations will provide efficiencies, standardization and value in the long term.

A partner with deep IT skill sets and security knowledge will allow you to incorporate security techniques to mitigate risk and increase situational awareness without compromising your network.

Conclusion

IP video surveillance can have a dramatic impact on your security readiness and the efficiencies of your business.

To get more out of your investment, consider leveraging your existing security infrastructure and upgrading to IP by bringing the systems together through technology.

Planning for scalability by considering the challenges and priorities for today and the future will help you protect your facilities, assets and people, as well as your bottom line.

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