Analog to IP Migration Options

Security professionals are more cost-conscious today than ever before. When a business is focused on the bottom line, it is not always economically feasible to implement a brand new security system using the latest state-of-the-art technology.

Like the automobile industry, where it was noted in an article by the Boston Globe that the average age of cars on American roads is more than 11 years old compared with 9 years old a few years ago, the security industry wants its technology to last longer.

Analog to IP MigrationThis has been a recognized trend in the security market, as security directors look to make the most of their security technology investments. This is especially true with analog-based surveillance systems, which have reliably served as the foundation for numerous surveillance programs.

With that in mind, security professionals want to keep the systems they currently have in place, but take advantage of opportunities to invest in the newest technology. But is it truly possible for both the new and the old to coexist?

The introduction of unified client management software is, indeed, making it possible. Customers can now view and manage video from both digital video recorders and network video recorders through one application, making it possible to leverage past investments in analog devices while adding IP devices at their own pace.

Also, hybrid-based video recording systems have made it a reality for both the new and older systems to coexist. These high performance hybrid-based recorders can record and manage video from both standard analog and IP cameras.

As a result customers now have the ability to change out and upgrade their video systems slowly, including being able to incorporate IP megapixel cameras. This enables a clear migration path for customers as they retain the devices that are still providing adequate performance and add new technology only where it is required.

For security professionals who consistently review security needs, it’s important to keep in mind that there are numerous solutions available on the market today to leverage existing systems while making the transition to newer technology.

 

What barriers are affecting your migration to an IP video security system? Please leave your feedback as a comment below.

PTZ in a Megapixel World

PTZ CameraIt was heard in many security related market discussions over the past 3-4 years that the era of the PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom camera) was over.  Megapixel technology would allow the digital zoom and detail in video that would make the mechanical PTZ obsolete. After all, fixed megapixel cameras are a fraction of the cost of mechanical PTZ, often with greater resolution.  And with enough of them covering the viewing scene, these fixed cameras would resolve the main issue with mechanical PTZ, which is when it looks in one direction, it misses the action elsewhere.

If that wasn’t bad enough for the mechanical stalwart of the analog era, along comes the emergence of high-megapixel fisheye cameras that can dewarp the curved view and digitally PTZ around a 360 degree view. Now, with one camera, a security professional can see the entire field of view in real time and in the recorded video.  Wow, how could a higher cost device that can’t look in all directions at once compete with that?

However, as IP camera manufacturers improve their megapixel fixed camera offering, and as they push dewarped fisheye technology to 5 megapixels, so too do they release HD PTZ cameras with longer mechanical zoom and faster rotational speeds. Is it that old habits die hard, or is there a market for these cameras that can’t be served by the fixed newcomer technology?

The answer lies in the evolution of resolution from analog to IP and the actual customer needs.  Mechanical PTZ cameras rose in popularity at a time when analog resolution was too low to meet much of the need. With mechanical zoom, that resolution shortfall was overcome. And that is what many people think of when they imagine megapixel fixed technology overtaking the mechanical. However, there are several uses that the fixed technology has yet to address, and are driving not only the continued use and investment in PTZ, but innovation as well.

For security professionals that engage in active surveillance and need to see the detail of activity at distances greater than roughly 30 feet, the mechanical PTZ still is the weapon of choice. While the recent economic downturn has reduced the investment in active surveillance, it is still a core activity in the gaming and higher end retail verticals. The dewarped 3 and 5 megapixel fisheye cameras can zoom in for evidentiary detail of theft to about 30 feet from a camera (depending on the height). But a 1080p PTZ with 20x mechanical zoom can achieve this at 350 ft.

If one stands in a control room of a casino or retail Loss Prevention station, and watches the officerstrack, zoom, and move with targets as they investigate in real time, it is evident that while many of the prior uses for PTZ have been consumed by less expensive technology, PTZ is the only tool that can meet the needs of these video power users.

 

Has technology changed your view on PTZ Camera necessity? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Other Aspects of Healthcare Security

Healthcare SecurityAs if being responsible for the security and safety of patients, visitors and staff 24 hours a day isn’t enough, many hospital and healthcare security directors are stepping up to the plate and devoting new resources to helping their organization with another aspect: customer service.

Hospital security directors have devised many creative strategies for delivering this service to patients and staff as a way of contributing to their organization’s bottom line. Such services can have surprising results, including increase federal funding for quality of service along with a higher profile within the organization.  Be sure to read Jim Stankevich’s blog post titled “The Softer Side of Security” to learn more about the successes of three hospital security directors arund the country.

Read the "Softer Side of Security" article