Guest Column | August 15, 2013

10 Reasons To Switch From Analog Cameras And DVRs To IP Cameras And NVRs

By Jay Krone, managing director of LenovoEMC

Video surveillance is everywhere today, from private home installations to massive enterprise deployments. And while the migration from analog to IP has been on the rise for several years, many companies of all sizes and shapes have been hesitant to make the leap to an IP-based video surveillance installation. Using HD  cameras, IP-based systems bring the inherent advantages of network storage to video surveillance as well as the overall storage needs of a business.  

There are the issues of the initial cost, the need for some technical understanding, and perhaps other concerns, but, really, why haven’t more companies made the switch to an IP-based video surveillance system?

Here are 10 reasons why now is the perfect time for companies to switch from legacy analog cameras and DVR systems to HD cameras and dedicated network video recorders (NVRs) for all their video surveillance needs.

1. Analog End Of Life — Low-definition analog camera systems and DVRs are beginning to reach their end of life. This is largely because of competitively priced, HD -definition IP cameras and NVRs that use advanced hard drives designed for professional use with a backup design commonly known as RAID (redundant array of independent disks). With RAID, data is spread across multiple HDDs. If one drive fails, the files have been backed up on another hard drive.  Additionally, the maintenance expenditures required to support legacy video hardware create an urgency to upgrade equipment.

2. Ease Of Installation — A common misconception is that NAS (network attached storage)-based installations are much more complex than DVR-based. While that may have been true in the past, manufacturers have recently promoted features like universal plug-and-play camera recognition to make NVR installations as simple as possible. In addition, as manufacturers design new IP cameras, ease of installation is a primary feature.

3. Existing Infrastructure Use During Switch — Because a lot of companies already have an analog system in place and want to maximize their existing investments, manufacturers have created solutions, like encoders, to support hybrid environments. As analog/DVR components start to fail or reach end of life, users can switch out components one at a time to begin the upgrade to an IP camera and NVR installation. This hybrid environment technique maximizes companies’ initial investments and provides them the flexibility of funding their video surveillance upgrade over time.

4. Cost-effectiveness  — Another misconception is that IP camera and NVR deployments are prohibitively expensive. A DVR may be cheaper initially than an NVR, but the NVR is no “one-trick pony” —  it not only can manage the video surveillance requirements of a company, it also can operate as the foundation for the overall storage and data management needs of a work group, remote location, or stand-alone business. And as prices of IP cameras continue to drop, HD  cameras bring significantly improved capabilities.

5. Scalability — As you start adding cameras to an existing video surveillance system, the migration to IP cameras is the most logical choice. Network-IP cameras can be added to an installation using existing analog cameras, thereby allowing a company to migrate over time to today’s HD standard rather than staying with yesterday’s outdated solutions.

6. Reliability/Durability — NAS-based, IP-video surveillance systems have proven to be faster, more reliable, and every bit as durable as older systems utilizing DVRs and analog cameras. When you consider all of the inherent advantages of NVRs with RAID data management and professional hard drives, the move to NVRs combined with IP cameras makes even more sense.

7. Manageability — The ability to access and view video files from any location in the world via mobile apps and remote clouds (assuming an Internet connection) is an obvious benefit of an IP-based video surveillance storage solution.

8. Image Quality Enhancements — More and more affordable high-definition IP security cameras are available in the market. These cameras provide better resolution, expanded surveillance environments, and highly detailed images. And after all, doesn’t everything look better in HD — including your video surveillance security files? 

9. Regulatory Compliance — Due to security concerns and a higher compliance environment on a global level, tighter regulations have been imposed on a variety of industries. Depending on an industry’s regulatory standards, a company may face considerable surveillance video retention demands. That can be costly and danger-prone with yesterday’s onsite analog approach to video surveillance. It’s easier than you think to utilize local and remote network storage for retention requirements and peace of mind.

10. Expanding Capabilities/Features— Video surveillance features are continuing to expand, enabled by private cloud, remote video apps, and analytics to enhance solutions. IP cameras can offer a range of functions from basic to advanced analytics in almost any way imaginable. In addition, low-cost storage options like hosted video make network video a much more affordable option than location-based analog solutions.

Video surveillance technology is rapidly expanding and now is the time to find your way out of analog and into the promised land of IP-based security systems. The move will help optimize business efficiency, reduce costs, and increase your customers’ satisfaction.

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