The nuts and bolts of IP CCTV

October 30, 2009

Mark Harraway argues IP is here and offers more than hybrid or analogue systems here. Mike Tennent of Tavcom Training sets out the next part of his response below.

Let’s examine the basic operation of IP (Internet Protocol) and the terminology used for transmitting data and, in this instance, closed-circuit television across a series of cables, local area networks, wide area networks and indeed through the Internet.

IP generally uses a protocol called TCP which sends the information and data in ‘packets’. At their destination the receiver will then sent back to the transmitter an acknowledgement that it has received the information safely. The transmitter will then issue the next packet of data and await confirmation that it has been received before moving on to the next and the next … ad infinitum. This form of protocol is really quite impractical for sending CCTV images because each picture comprises such a vast amount of data that standard transmission lines currently used in networking are unable to adequately cope in real-time streaming terms. Instead we use another protocol called UDP which, quite simply, only sends the information to the receiver with no acknowledgement that it has been received safely and all in one piece.

To read the original “Dont Go Hybrid” article click here.

To read from the beginning of the Tavcom posts click here.

CCTV security: You do not have to accept what can be changed

October 29, 2009

IP is here and offers more than hybrid or analogue systems. So Mark Harraway argues here. Mike Tennent of Tavcom Training sets out the third part of his response below.

One serious matter for all of us, however, is to question whether we – in the security systems sector – should be prepared to remain at the mercy of the consumer market when it comes to the pace and direction of change. I often attend the IBC broadcast conference and exhibition, normally hosted in Amsterdam, to investigate newly developing technologies. Why? Because I know, as sure as ‘eggs is eggs’, that the innovative R&D conducted by the major broadcast suppliers will spill over into the consumer market and, as a direct result of the huge numbers and buying power in that sector, will send successive waves of low cost electronic components heading towards us! The security industry has always has been – and still is – a voracious carrion eater of components, picking up the ‘scraps’ at the lowest cost in order to satisfy a market that does not really want to spend serious money in the search for seriously good image quality.

Whether those images are analogue or digital the facts remain the same – no one wants to raise the threshold in manufacturing quality standards as they would probably go bankrupt in the attempt! In general, the end user, the installer and the consultant want broadcast quality images but only if they come with ‘web camera’ type price tags. Our manufacters are perfectly capable of producing CCTV cameras, recorders and display equipment that provide the quality we have come to expect from our television pictures and and indeed they would LOVE to do so. BluRay, for example, produces most acceptable images as do other competing technologies in that field. It is perplexing that so many buyers of security systems continue to bury their heads in the sand. They remain reluctant to invest slightly larger sums in far better equipment that would, if installed correctly, easily give them images that are unquestionably ‘fit for purpose’. That is not always the case at present.

To read the original “Dont Go Hybrid” article click here.

To read from the beginning of the Tavcom posts click here.

The evolution of CCTV, Is change a good thing? Tavcom explains

October 28, 2009

IP is here and offers more than hybrid or analogue systems. So Mark Harraway argues here. Mike Tennent of Tavcom Training sets out the second part of his response below.

Out with the old and in with the new
Such change is inevitable. In my own career I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have seen and experienced the most amazingly and widespread technical developments in security systems. In the world of CCTV the real revolution began some 23 years ago, in 1986, when the first CCD camera waltzed into our industry, warts and all, to virtually wipe out the supply of tube cameras overnight in much the same way as CD-ROMs sounded the death knell for vinyl in the music industry. Of course, many of us more ‘mature’ individuals still shake our heads and wonder when the new digital products in use in our industry will catch up with even the cheapest vidicon tubes we used all those years ago! But, no complaints from this quarter at all … and no looking back. This is merely an observation that we sometimes tend to accept changes simply because they are new and exciting without giving enough thought to whether they really have the qualities to do a better job. On the positive side we must remember that new technologies have inspired our manufacturers, design specialists and installers to reach for new heights.

To read the original “Dont Go Hybrid” article click here.

To read from the beginning of the Tavcom posts click here.

Dont go hybrid, Tavcoms view: Analogue, Hybrid or IP CCTV

October 27, 2009

IP is here and offers more than hybrid or analogue systems. So Mark Harraway argues here. Mike Tennent of Tavcom Training sets out the first part of his response below.

Love them or loathe them, the number of electronic security systems deployed in our buildings and on our streets has burgeoned in recent years and, without a seismic reversal of public and political opinion, that trend is set to continue, not only in the UK but around the world. Hard facts and figures are not easy to come by and are invariably hotly disputed but there can be little argument that we are now – for better or worse – a locked in, locked out, closely watched and frequently recorded society. CCTV, access control, intruder alarm, perimeter defence and other electronic security systems are ubiquitous features of modern life.

This proliferation of technology has meant ‘boom times’ for those who grew up with this new industry but now the goalposts are on the move. The rapid cross pollination and convergence of technology involving the security, IT and other sectors is creating exciting new opportunities for installers from other sectors to enter the security arena and dramatically enhance their career prospects.

To read the original “Dont Go Hybrid” article by Mark Harraway click here.

IP CCTV is difficult to install or needs specialist IT skills?

October 23, 2009

It is widely acknowledged in the industry that there is a skills gap when it comes to deploying IP solutions.

Analogue installer’s don’t know enough about the IP side: IP addresses, Subnet Mask, Raid configuration or building routing tables. IT integrators don’t know enough about the edge deployment: risk assessments, operational requirements, field of views for lens selection or camera location, waterproofing or vandal protection of housings.  However these are growing pains for the industry as it inevitably moves to its next evolution to offer end-users better performance. There are many training courses available from companies such as Tavcom, which are modular enough to allow Integrators to pick up the required training to overcome knowledge gaps and in the meantime vendors and value added distributors such as Controlware are undertaking efforts to bridge the gap by offering design and consultancy services to ensure installers and end users get the best system for the above reasons.

In conclusion, there should be no reason why IP based systems are not being specified as the solution of choice because we can migrate existing systems cost effectively and quickly, while ensuring that end users needs for today and tomorrow are met.

To sign up for a detailed cost breakdown of an IP CCTV system, please click here.

Will an IP based CCTV solution cost more than analogue?

October 22, 2009

The answer to this question depends where you start from and where you want to end up.

Axis Communications carried out a very interesting exercise last year to answer this very question and the results were quite revealing. In a new installation (i.e. Cat 5 is installed as part of the building process) IP is always more cost effective and on other occasions for camera counts above 40 cameras, IP is still more cost effective.

We have also seen this in a number of projects we have undertaken with partners because these savings are brought about by such things as more efficient cabling (One cable to carry everything rather than multiple cables.), more cost effective use of storage (no wasted channels and scalability etc.) and the strength of using the larger IT market forces – Cat-5 cable for instance is a lot cheaper than Coax as far more of it is produced.

Again this all comes down to planning the correct system and either utilising new technologies to their best advantage or understanding how best to migrate existing infrastructure to meet the end users needs for functionality, future proofing and budget.

See comments below for a discussion thread that discusses the Axis report kindly posted by Carl Lindgren on a previous Controlware blog post and reproduced here.


The cost of replacing analogue CCTV cameras with IP cameras is expensive…

October 20, 2009

While IP cameras are often more expensive than their analogue counterparts on a one-to-one basis there is often no need to rip out analogue cameras if they still have life in them.  Most analogue cameras can be migrated to IP through the use of encoders; and indeed this is as a key foundation stone for the UK CCTV strategy over the next few years to avoid unnecessary cost.  Encoders can be deployed at the camera (network edge) or in the Control room.  Once you have encoders in place you can also start to add additional functionality to your system with the use of video analytics, which over the past couple of years have proven to offer demonstrable benefits; or driving additional services such as audio for announcements and commands, or connecting other equipment such as PIR’s / Redwalls or opening and closing barriers.

System integrators and end-users who wish to see the benefits of an IP-based solution should look to someone who really knows the technology and can give an impartial view. It is common sense that manufacturers will only support their own hardware and will promise the earth for it, whereas a distributor will have evaluated a number of solutions from different vendors and be able to say that product A is the best for solution B because of XYZ whereas product Y is the best for solution C because of etc etc.

To find out more about IP based CCTV security solutions visit the Controlware website here.

Calculate the true cost of IP CCTV