"The State of the Industry"
By Fredrik Nilsson, General Manager, Axis Communications
How much do you really know about IP video? Those of us in the surveillance field have seen the technology steadily gaining steam for the last 15 years and know that IP will be the dominant technology of the future. Yet, even with all the obvious benefits of network cameras – including image quality, scalability, total cost of ownership (TCO) and functionality – analog cameras and DVR-based systems still amounted to 70% of camera installations in 2011, according to IMS Research.
As part of this Great Conversation, people should be asking, “Why is the security industry the very last holdout to switch from analog to digital technology?” The answer: it’s because of small systems.
For security installations of more than 32 cameras, an IP-based solution is the easy answer because of the scalability and TCO benefits. From 16 to 32, it’s a tossup between the competing technologies and dependent on (1) the expertise of the integrator and (2) the knowledge/need/budget of the end-user. However, in the less-than-16 camera market, analog continues to reign king – but not for long, thanks to a combination of new and old technologies.
For starters, IP in small systems is accelerating because the shift isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Video encoders can bridge the gap between the analog and digital worlds allowing you to leverage existing analog cameras and integrate them into an IP storage and software solution. Encoders can also improve system image quality and add intelligent features like camera tampering alarms, I/O connections and motion and audio detection.
Next, there’s been a buzz about the cloud – aka hosted video – for the last couple of years. In 2011, small and national system integrators alike launched hosted video applications that allow customers to purchase cameras and pay a monthly fee for off-site storage. Some dealers offer this as a complete turnkey solution that rolls up the costs of the cameras and even redundant network attached storage (NAS) devices into the monthly fee (think cell phone model). This changes the game, especially for cost-conscious small businesses with 4-12 cameras per site that previously purchased all the equipment upfront and relied heavily on DVR maintenance and service.
Lastly, edge storage – or storage in the camera via an SD-card – will be the hot topic for small installs. The SDHC standard card slot is commonly found in network cameras and offers storage capability up to 32GB for less than just $50 per card. One card could amount to days or weeks of video while eliminating the need for recording servers or load software onsite. Thanks to intelligent IP camera chipsets, integrated software and analytics, a full-fledge in-camera storage solution might finally prove to be the Swan Song for the DVR and analog.
IP really is for all in 2012, and any sized business can now experience all the benefits of IP video. This will be the year IP video surveillance solutions move into previously untapped small business markets.
Will you be driving the Great Convergence Conversation? It’s a conversation you don’t want to be left out of.