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October 12, 2012

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How can security installers benefit from IP CCTV surveillance?

IMS recently predicted that IP network video surveillance equipment sales will overtake analogue by 2013. Very soon IP surveillance will be the dominant player in the security market, says Andrew Mulholland, Head of Business Solutions & Marketing at D-Link (Europe) Ltd.

IP surveillance is straight forward to implement and presents a great opportunity for security professionals to diversify their services. However, there are still a number of security installers out there who have concerns over using the new technology and as a result risk missing out in the future.

Out with the old…

CCTV technology has been around for over 70 years and, as such, there is a large amount of legacy equipment still in place. Some businesses have already made a substantial investment in this technology and so are hesitant to move away from these older CCTV systems completely. In terms of new investment, the market has now moved from 70:30 dominance in the favour of analogue CCTV to a much more even 50:50 split in recent years, showing that attitudes towards IP surveillance are changing. Some reasons behind this are that for one the cost of the technology has come down considerably while features like wireless connectivity and HD recording that used to be the preserve of James Bond films are now available on entry-level devices.

CCTV has traditionally had to be hard wired into buildings and needed expensive equipment such as an Analogue Video Matrix to operate. In some cases CCTV cameras would require a technician to adjust the cameras settings manually, whereas in the case of IP surveillance most small changes can be made over the network. Furthermore, when it comes to recording footage on NVRs IP surveillance is much more cost effective, settings can be changed remotely and they can very easily be re-deployed to new locations if required, giving greater return on investment.

Understanding the market

The main businesses segment driving forward demand for this new technology is the SMB market. SMBs are not restricted by legacy infrastructure to the same degree as larger organisations and have more flexibility to try new technology. For these businesses, IP surveillance has become a cost-effective and easy to manage solution, as they can utilise their existing network or even better take advantage of the latest network switches that have Embedded Auto Surveillance VLAN software built into them offering improved security and allow the IP surveillance network to stand alone. IP surveillance also has some notable advantages for larger installations where CCTV traditionally has been tricky to implement. Large installations like factories or power stations might have limited cabling connections and power sources and so it can be impractical to run two cables to every individual camera. Many of today’s devices have Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) functionality meaning it is relatively simple to run one cable for both power and data. Some cameras even operate wirelessly negating the need for an Ethernet cable entirely.

A clearer picture

The quality of image in IP surveillance has also progressed substantially and offers clear advantages to improving the physical security of business. Having HD recordings available after a break in means that it is more likely that criminals can be successfully traced and identified, which in itself is a deterrent. Digital HD recording also means it is possible to use additional software for enhanced analytics to improve security, for example motion detection and setting up “trip wires” that send an alert when an intruder is detected. It is important to bear in mind whether 30 frames per second is needed, for example, it may be useful to have a constant HD recording of the front entrance but not necessarily on every fire exit in the building.

Additionally, businesses also need to decide how their video recordings are stored. Through offering IP surveillance technology, installers also have the opportunity to offer the latest NVRs as a way for businesses to instantly store their video recordings on site. These products vary in price from entry level to advanced devices and it is a straight forward process to set them up. Furthermore with IP businesses can expand their storage capabilities with NAS and SAN.

Having all devices operating on the same IP network has the further advantage of the emergence of the ‘cloud’ by allowing businesses to remotely access the video footage from the cameras and storage devices on their network over the internet. Using a multi-NVR viewer, businesses can also allow for the monitoring of multiple sites onto one piece of software, regardless of site location.

The bottom line

IP surveillance presents security installers with the opportunity to upsell a whole range of additional equipment and services on an ongoing basis rather than just relying on one-off sales of IP surveillance cameras alone. These installers can offer consultancy in the installation phase, maintenance and monitoring services. By working with the right partner with the relevant experience, IP surveillance professionals can gain the necessary support to make them experts in IP surveillance and deliver greater benefits to their customers.

You can visit D-Link’s directory listing here

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