Migrating to an IP video surveillance solution – all you need to know

Migrating to an IP video surveillance solution – all you need to know
The migration from analog video surveillance to IP systems has been increasing for some time, driven by decreasing costs and rapid advances in new security technologies such as video analytics. As William Tan, Director of Global Face Recognition and Surveillance for the Global Safety Division at NEC, puts it: “The use of video analytics in surveillance systems improves operational efficiency as it eases the workload on security officers. Analytics add value and makes the IP camera system more intelligent in its work. Increasingly, government agencies are adopting safer city technologies such as facial recognition as they allow the authorities to have more 'eyes' on the city than before.”

IP systems allow vastly increased functionality, from analytics and the use of non-visual sensors like fire alarms to remote access from anywhere in the world, while giving organizations the flexibility to easily expand and reconfigure their network as necessary. Yet, even with all these benefits, IP solutions still offer the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).
Benjamin Low,
VP, Asia Pacific,
Milestone Systems

IP systems also make storage more flexible and less costly. HC Chang, General Manager for APAC (excluding China) at Promise Technology, explains: “Analog systems may require storage to be onsite, but if an installation has many sites, or sites that are geographically disparate, this may be difficult. IP systems allow storage to be placed wherever makes the most sense, making it easier to maintain and upgrade.”

While the benefits make migrating an easy decision, the steps from analog to IP should be carefully considered. At the start of the migration process there should be a full analysis of the organization’s security requirements, looking in detail at the varying levels of security needed in different areas and sites. Once these requirements are known, it is then necessary to design a detailed blueprint for the new IP system.

Once the blueprint is ready, it is then time to develop a plan for deployment. There are two options for any organization looking to migrate to an IP network: upgrading the whole network in one go or upgrading in stages.

Upgrading the whole system at once simply involves removing all the old equipment and installing the new IP system. In a way this is the simpler option, as it means all the new IP features will be ready to go once installation is complete. However, installing all that equipment — not to mention the equipment itself — can be costly, especially for medium and large organizations with significant amounts of infrastructure and assets to replace. Another disadvantage of this option is the inevitable downtime between the old system going offline and the new system starting up.

The cost pressures can be a challenge, while the downtime is unacceptable for most medium and large organizations, which is why the more popular option is to upgrade in phases.

This is possible with IP surveillance systems because all cameras and sensors feed into a central VMS. The right VMS will be open source, meaning it will be able to manage feeds from many different types of visual and non-visual sensors, both legacy and new, from many different manufacturers, at the same time. This means a surveillance network can evolve in line with its requirements.

This capability can be especially useful in large installations which have many different buildings and levels of requirements from their surveillance. For instance, some areas may require higher security, with new high-resolution digital cameras and video analytics functions such as facial recognition.

An important point to note here is that migrating to an IP system does not require the replacement of existing cable infrastructure. Winston Goh, Head of Marketing for South APAC at Axis Communications, notes: “Pulling out and replacing existing infrastructure, such as coaxial cables and analog cameras, can be a very expensive process. The benefit of migrating to an IP solution is that converter devices can be used to convert the analog signal to a digital one, so it can be fed into the VMS. This allows sections and assets to be upgraded in a way which suits the budget and requirements of each organization. It also greatly reduces any installation downtime.”

Once the deployment plan is ready, the phases of installation can begin. This starts with installing the VMS, which will be the heart of the network. Then you can begin installing new cameras and preparing old cameras to feed into the new VMS, as well as the necessary monitoring equipment such as PC monitors, at your own pace.

The benefits to IP video surveillance systems are so numerous that migration is only a matter of time for most organizations. However, it’s likely most will opt for a phased approach, due to costs and downtime issues. These factors can be minimized if organizations invest the time in understanding their security needs and thoroughly planning implementation, meaning companies can reap the benefits of IP surveillance faster, where it’s needed.
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