Guest Column | May 14, 2013

IP Video For Mom & Pop Retailers

BSM-IP Camera Retail

By Hedgie Bartol, Retail Business Development Manager, Axis Communications

IP video used to only make sense for mid- to large-sized surveillance systems [32 cameras or more]. But today smaller systems – and budgets – can reap big benefits with IP video. This is thanks to the continued decreasing cost of IP technology coupled with different storage and migration options of today. Here are a few ways to make the most of the system.

  • Ditch the DVR – DVRs are notoriously cumbersome, expensive and unreliable in the physical security world. With IP systems, your customers don’t need to worry about the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining a point of failure. Due to the increased processing power of cameras, customers can even record on the camera itself with SD cards.
  • To the Cloud – Eliminate on-site storage altogether with hosted video. Cloud solutions provide video surveillance as a service (VSaaS), meaning customers can more easily manage and allocate budget for the system. Similar to a cell phone plan, hosted video is a cost of operation rather than a capital expenditure. Hosted video is scalable and flexible, so the systems can easily adapt to businesses’ changing and growing needs.
  • Do more with less – Proper installation of the right cameras can help increase coverage and reduce costs. IP cameras offer better image quality and increased functionality, which allows small businesses to maximize each camera. Many stores have seen substantial increases in coverage after switching to IP video – up to 35 percent for one!
  • Migrate! IP video isn’t all or nothing, so you shouldn’t sell it this way. You also shouldn’t walk away from a potential sale if the customer has an existing and working analog CCTV system. Video encoders – devices that convert the input analog signal to digital IP video to be used in a network system – make up a large part of the surveillance marketing. By using video encoders customers can leverage their existing investment (i.e. analog cameras they’ve already bought) but reap some of the benefits of IP video like improved image quality, edge storage, intelligent video and easy remote access while preparing their system for the future.
  • Pick the right camera – Three years ago the first HDTV-quality IP camera on the market cost around $1500. Today you can find them for less than $200. The beauty of IP technology is that our market has actually exceeded Moore’s Law, the notion that processing power doubles about every 18 months relative to cost or size. Because of this continued innovation, there are numerous options for IP cameras out there, and each camera has its own unique functionality. That $200 HDTV camera is great for image quality, but might not have other options like edge storage or Wide Dynamic Range or true day/night functionality, etc.  Find out what the customer really needs to get out of their system and then select the appropriate IP camera that aligns with both their goals and budget.