IP-based video surveillance offers numerous advantages, but the market is still slow to adopt this technology. Standards for network cameras vary. A set of open standards for network cameras drives the growth of IP-based video surveillance.
Despite advances in IP video, codecs, analytics, storage and display, the security video camera market has remained largely analog. Network cameras offer numerous advantages, such as lower cost signal transport and the ability to do analytics and compress storage with instant retrieval. However, network camera is still in the "early adopters" stage of the growth curve.
Reasons for this include proprietary digital standards that require customers to purchase same-brand equipment for the whole system and the low cost of analog technology. Companies who can reduce their time-to-market, differentiate their offerings and reduce the costs of IP-based systems will enjoy greater market share.
The video surveillance industry has taken a big step towards the creation of interoperable standards through a new trade association — the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA). The recent release of the new standard, PSIA 1.0, enables network camera manufacturers to build IP-based solutions efficiently. PSIA makes it possible for equipment from different vendors to work together harmoniously with almost the same ease-of-use as analog cameras.
PSIA's members include security camera manufacturers, content management systems, video management software, access control and system integrators; for example, Cisco Systems, GE Security, Pelco, IBM and Texas Instruments (TI).
Benefits of Standards
Without an open standard, a Pelco camera with ObjectVideo analytics, for example, cannot connect to a NVR intended for Bosch video analytics. Each is a walled garden. The video management system (VMS) must also provide for access control, remote viewing and network storage, where each manufacturer has historically used its own protocols.
The benefits of industry-wide standards include faster overall growth, lower barriers to entry for new manufacturers, greater choice for system integrators and spurring innovation.
PSIA was founded with the objective of promoting the interoperability of IP enabled security devices and currently consists of four main specifications. The IP media device specification covers system, streaming, PTZ, diagnostics and custom features.
In addition to publishing and promoting the spec, PSIA also provides sample code in end points, for example, network cameras and VMS implementations. It also offers interoperability validation.
With PSIA 1.0, manufacturers do not need to create a complete integrated system. They can start by making a single component, such as a camera or NVR. For smaller companies, the challenges of designing such components from scratch can be complex and time consuming. A production-ready reference design can overcome this hurdle by enabling a manufacturer to rapidly begin making PSIA compliant components.
PSIA -Compliant Reference Designs
Two new reference designs recently released by TI, in conjunction with Appro Photoelectron and UD Works, are both PSIA compliant. These reference designs are built around TI's digital media processor that was based on its DaVinci technology. It provides a comprehensive and cost-effective solution, allowing customers to invest in a single platform and shortening time-to-market. Customers can also leverage their expertise to build differentiated products based on these reference designs.
Network Camera Reference Design
The estimated electronic bill of materials for network camera reference design includes power supply and management. It features an Aptina 5-megapixel CMOS image sensor, multicodec support for H.264 and MPEG-4 at 1080p (or 720p at full frame rate), MJPEG, VC-1 and MPEG-2. It is also optimized for low-light performance. The reference design's software includes a complete Linux-based network camera application with free source code and royalty-free, production-ready codecs included.
This network camera design also benefits from TI's fifth generation ISP solution. Video stabilization, face detection, noise filtering, auto white balance, auto focus, exposure, edge enhancement and intelligent video processing are also included in this solution.
DVR Reference Design
The DVR reference design pairs TI's processor with its multi-channel video decoder. It can integrate audio, encode D1 video at up to 65 frames per second, or decode up to eight CIF channels. The reference design handles simultaneous record, playback, storage, streaming and display, with multicodec support.
Hardware features include storage (SATA & USB) and streaming of compressed input (Ethernet). Its local display supports up to 800x600 resolution, local user interface and PTZ cameras. Software features include a multi-codec system that allows triple stream per channel (H.264, MPEG-4 and MJPEG) for real-time signal processing, storage, streaming and display. It also has audio/video adjustment tools and video timestamp support.
With an open platform, manufacturers can build the system once and deploy numerous variations of network cameras, storage devices and video servers onto the system.
Get Started with Op en Standards
Whether a reference design is customized or not, its interoperability allows systems to connect with products from other brands. Established organization bodies, such as PSIA, can help accelerate market growth of network cameras.
Through the implementation of standards and leveraging reference designs, manufacturers can jump-start development and quickly enter into new markets. Interoperability test sessions will start to be held for more manufacturers to test and experience.