IP surveillance is a digitized and networked version of closed-circuit television (CCTV). In an IP surveillance system, an IP camera records video footage and the resulting content is distributed over an IP (Internet protocol) network.
Benefits of going digital
For the past 20 years, monitoring and surveillance applications have been served by analog technology. CCTV has traditionally been recorded to VCRs (video cassette recorders), and because of its perceived ease of use and manageable price point, analog was probably the right choice at the time of purchase. However, the rise of digital has laid bare analog’s many shortcomings. Analog CCTV systems are generally maintenance intensive, offer no remote accessibility, and are notoriously difficult to integrate with other systems. Despite these obvious deficiencies, the end user who has invested in cameras, cables, and more, and is satisfied with the current quality is right to ask, “Why buy new equipment?”
Implementing a digital system does not require throwing away those trusted (and already paid-for) cameras. With IP-Surveillance, you can still use all the cameras, lenses, and cables in place through this step-by-step migration to digital technology. And if this is not enough reason to seriously consider an upgrade, examine the TLV, or time-lapse video, recording component. These systems are highly labor intensive because of the need to change tapes and perform system maintenance. Tape wear and tear is an ever-present problem. Furthermore, the actual quality of the images recorded is often unsatisfactory, particularly if used for official investigations. With the introduction of digital video recorder (DVR) technology, the storage media are no longer dependent on operator intervention or tape quality. And with IP-Surveillance technology, the video server and network server represent the next level of improvement by connecting existing cameras to the network with a video server and then storing the images on the network server.
Digital’s many benefits. With the spread of digital recording technology, its many advantages have become apparent: ease of use, advanced search capabilities, simultaneous record and playback, no image degradation, improved compression and storage, integration potential, and so on. But with digital technology as its core, IP-Surveillance provides all these advantages and many more:
Remote accessibility. The main benefit from connecting those analog cameras to a network is that the user can now see surveillance images from any computer on the network—without the need and expense of additional hardware or software. If you have a port to Internet, you can securely connect from anywhere in the world to view a chosen facility or even a single camera from your surveillance system. By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or the company intranet, you can manage password-protected access to images from the surveillance system. Similar to secure payment over the Internet, a user’s images and information are kept secure and viewed only by approved personnel.
Unlimited, secure storage. Store as many hours of images as you want—provided you have hard disk capacity. And store and view images off-site in any location in cases where monitoring and storage are mission critical or need back up.
Flexible, pro-active image distribution. Take snapshots of an intruder or incident and send by e-mail to police or appropriate authorities. Also, police or other password-approved parties can log on to cameras and view activities around a user’s facilities.
Automatic alerts. The video server can automatically send an e-mail with an alarm image to selected e-mail addresses, so the right people have the information they need to take timely action.
Total cost of ownership and performance. At the beginning of this section, we listed the many advantages of digital technology, but it bears repeating that with no further need of time-lapse video equipment, no more tapes and no more tape changing and cataloging are required. Maintenance costs go way down. And while system performance and results markedly increase, total cost of ownership over time will continue to decrease.
IP-Surveillance provides all the superior functionality of digital technology, plus the tremendous benefits of increased accessibility, storage and distribution of images, and a superior cost-benefit picture. At this point, analog owners are convinced it’s time to make the switch, but what factors bear consideration?