Guest Column | March 11, 2014

Switching To IP: How SMBs Can Deploy An Affordable Network Video System

Access Control And Video Surveillance News From October 2014

By Mike Scirica, President, WavestoreUSA

As the security industry continues to move away from closed, propriety architectures toward solutions that support an ecosystem of open and connected devices, the time has never been better for SMBs to migrate to an IP-based video surveillance system. Not only is network video equipment easier to use and install, it is also more cost-efficient and enables businesses to scale their systems as they grow. However, SMBs should not have to rip and replace all of their existing equipment and waste that investment. Rather, businesses should weigh their options carefully when it comes to selecting a video storage and management platform. Here are several important considerations for SMBs making the switch to IP: 

Hybrid Capabilities

Although past predictions about the IP tipping point have missed the mark, industry analysts expect 2014 will be the year when revenues from the sale of IP surveillance equipment finally top those of analog. Even so, manufacturers continue to make and sell analog devices, and a large installed base of analog solutions is expected to remain well into the future. Small- and medium-sized business is one of the vertical markets in which analog video continues to be used with regularity. Therefore, it’s paramount that SMBs migrating to IP choose storage appliances and VMS software able to support a hybrid combination of analog and network devices.

Openness And Scalability 

Given the numerous camera options available to organizations these days, it is imperative that business owners choose a video management and storage platform that supports open standards and that can easily scale as needed. Scalability supports the investment an organization has made in various cameras, encoders, and other surveillance devices — and future-proofs the system to accommodate tomorrow’s camera technologies. The security industry has made great strides to create a more interoperable environment for cameras and other devices through organizations such as Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF), which is working to develop open standards to streamline the installation and operation of surveillance networks.

Support For Panoramic Cameras

According to the market research firm IHS, continued proliferation of 180-degree and 360-degree cameras is one of the top video surveillance trends in 2014. IHS forecasts global unit shipments of panoramic cameras to increase by more than 60 percent year on year. Because 360-degree (or fisheye) cameras allow users to cover large areas with fewer cameras, they present a potential boon in cost savings for SMBs. When selecting a video management system (VMS), businesses should consider a VMS platform with a built-in de-warping feature. This functionality provides users with multiple de-warped images from the hemispheric cameras they have deployed, thereby reducing network traffic and cutting recording costs.

User Intuitiveness

Everyone in the surveillance market tells you their software platform is the most user-friendly. The fact is that many VMS solutions available today require hours of hands-on operator training. Additionally, what happens when you have a security incident and the person who is trained to use the software is out of the office? SMBs simply don’t have as much time and financial resources to train personnel compared to an enterprise security department. SMBs need a VMS that is easy to install and configure, and that requires a nominal amount of training. Some VMS solutions feature maps showing locations of cameras within a facility, which can be easily accessed with the click of a button. These are ideal for SMB applications.