Guest Column | June 11, 2013

Beginner's Guide To Selecting The Right IP Camera

BSM-Security Camera 2

By Steve Gorski, GM of Americas, Mobotix

There are many advantages to choosing IP cameras over standard devices. Megapixel cameras provide high-resolution images, and the higher the resolution, the more accurate the detail of the image. Therefore, megapixel images are much more valuable from a forensic standpoint than lower-resolution images. With analog technology, a recorded image has around 0.3 megapixel, but a network camera with 3.1 megapixels records 10 times more detail. Also, because specialized high-resolution cameras — such as 360-degree cameras — provide more coverage, fewer cameras are needed to cover a particular area, delivering immediate value in infrastructure savings to the end customer. Here we look at the other benefits of IP video systems and how today’s valued-added resellers can specify the optimal systems for their customers.

The Decentralized Concept

Surveillance systems that incorporate a decentralized approach to surveillance are suitable for many installations. In a decentralized system, each camera incorporates its own high-speed computer and long-term memory card to provide several days of recording time. The PC and the video control center therefore serve only to view and control the cameras because computer-intensive functions are already integrated into the cameras. The decentralized concept also reduces bandwidth consumption.

More Uses, More Value

The use of video analytics is growing in nontraditional surveillance applications. With the addition of analytics, video becomes a management tool to optimize business operations. For example, analytics can be used to gauge staffing levels, measure the number of customers in a retail store at a given time, monitor dwell times and traffic flow patterns, and enhance customer service. Adding video analytics turns video data into business intelligence and, therefore, extends the benefit of a surveillance system beyond security and loss prevention. Given the added benefits, the cost of a video surveillance system can be divided across multiple departments within an organization, such as marketing and human resources. Multiple stakeholders can now tap into the value of video.

Location, Location

Integrators must understand how the customer will derive the greatest benefit from placement of his or her cameras. Once the set-up and the goal are determined, resellers can build a system that will truly provide an enhanced level of security. Surveillance systems based on IP networking can be set up economically for any size project using standardized network components and connection paths that are usually already available. Therefore, installation is streamlined.

Maximum Resolution?

There is some confusion in the market about the need to have super-high megapixel cameras and, therefore, higher resolution. One might ask, “Do security end users really need a 15-megapixel camera or is this expectation set incorrectly from the consumer camera market?” Integrators should look closely at the user’s security and business needs to determine the ideal resolution to meet the project goals. A higher-megapixel camera is not always the best solution.


When selling IP surveillance, it is critical that VARs focus on the overall benefits megapixel video can provide: higher resolution images, increased forensic value, more cost-effective deployments and increased return on investment. It is also important to point out that IP deployments are completely scalable, and a user can grow his or her surveillance network at any time. Depending on the customer’s risk profile, megapixel cameras can be used in high-risk areas at first, and then additional cameras can be added as the risk profile changes or budgets increase.

Modern surveillance systems based on IP can be set up economically for any size project using standardized network components and existing connection paths. A comprehensive megapixel solution provides higher resolution images, increased forensic value, more cost-effective deployments and faster ROI.