The Evolution of Video Surveillance

The Evolution of Video Surveillance

Video has come to an intersection where analog, IP and hybrid systems' capabilities meet, as explored by Alan Randy Matchett, Security Project Development Engineer III, Building Efficiency, Johnson Controls.

As the surveillance industry transitions and many end users migrate towards an IP-based platform, some security directors with existing analog systems are facing a dilemma. There are legitimate questions that need to be addressed regarding the design, upgrade and installation of an analog, IP or hybrid surveillance system.
● Does the existing network have the bandwidth to support upgrades?
● Can we integrate products from multiple vendors?
● Do I need a DVR or NVR? What's the difference?
● What other regulatory standards or protocols need to be considered?

Step one: Assess your camera and network capabilities
Before any investments are made or vendor contracts are signed, assess your analog system capabilities against your organization's security and surveillance needs. Are the video recording devices, matrix switches and viewing hardware systems able to meet security objectives?

What you don't want to do is embark on extensive equipment replacements without considering the building's cabling, network and power supply. For example, analog cameras may be easily replaced with new versions while network cameras could require a deep dive into the structure's cabling design.

Make sure that you have a network that can handle your security system's needs. It is paramount that you work closely with your IT department to determine if the existing network will be used or if your system requires a new network. Failure
to consider these capabilities could result in a security malfunction. For example, an e-mail virus could plague the network.

Ideally, the security system should run on a dedicated, independent network that is layered with redundancies and operates outside of the regular business network.

Step two: Identify the appropriate head end
There are a variety of recording choices available on the market depending on your organization's size, protocol and monitoring needs. While DVRs are more
cost-effective for buildings with fewer cameras, both DVRs and NVRs can reside on a network and both recognize analog or network camera signals.

The system differences become more important when you consider recording, monitoring and video management needs. An NVR has more robust features, leveraging the network to record and archive video data. You are also protected against equipment failures through intuitive e-mail alert capabilities and the system
is future-ready and expandable.

If your organization requires more than 100 cameras, a larger PC-based system offers higher storage levels and real-time video management features, ideal for buildings with one or more live command-and-control operations centers.

Step three: Defining your video management solution
During the earlier assessment of your organization's security needs, you should have outlined your needs for video management. These considerations may impact
your needs for analog versus IP. The priority level may be defined as one of the following:
● Basic postevent playback and review: This function enables the end user to find or confirm an event that has happened in the past. In this scenario, the data is saved or exported for later use. Analog, IP and hybrid system designs should offer this capability.

● Intuitive, real-time video solutions: This function recognizes a live event and provides real-time and recorded data. Through integrated technologies, the video system can trigger predefined actions from a variety of systems, including access control. All system designs, including analog, IP and hybrid, can meet this demand.

● True integration of video surveillance with the building automation system (BAS): This solution expands past the surveillance and includes event management. The system is designed for end users with extensive security needs, including the protection of people, property and assets during live events. All building and business systems, including access control, fire, HVAC, lighting, human resources and others integrate together on a single IP network, through advanced sets of actions or real-time command-and-control dashboards.

Key considerations for surveillance system designs
If your existing system requires an update based on this assessment exercise, it is vital to plan for expandability and future upgrades. Your solution also needs to be vendor-neutral. For example, you want flexible head ends that recognize analog and IP signals. And most importantly, you need a network that is capable of meeting your camera and video management needs, both now and in the future. If you have not already engaged in discussions with your IT department, do so.

And if you have not considered a technology partner with full BAS integration expertise, you may be setting yourself up for future retrofits or unexpected costs. Even if your organization does not require a fully intuitive system now, your needs over the next 10 years must be forecasted, or at the very least, coordinated into a scalable surveillance system design.

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