Key reasons to select IP CCTV in 2010 #1 Improved Image Quality

January 19, 2010

Here we look at the key drivers for selecting IP over analogue, and what people should be aware of when looking at specifying CCTV projects.

Improved image quality

There is a lot of talk in the industry at present regarding image quality and I feel that by working with the right partner there is no reason why “fit for purpose” IP based systems cannot help improve the perception of CCTV in the media and with the general public.  Image quality of CCTV recordings is dependent on three factors: the compression standard, frame rate and resolution size. IP based systems can deliver improved image quality in two ways. One way is through more effective algorithms, using improved transmission mediums like H.264 to increase either the frame rate or decrease the compression without impacting on the bandwidth or storage requirement.

The second way is through improved resolution quality. IP can significantly improve on 4CIF standard analogue resolution. It can provide HD (High Definition) images, which increase the 4CIF picture size by approximately fourfold to significantly improve the image detail. This can then allow greater surveillance area coverage, providing larger and more detailed images, which can still be effectively examined using post-event digital zoom on recordings without pixilation. Improved image quality is key to the future of law enforcement and detection, as it provides the necessary detail when presenting footage as legal evidence.  Even though the use of Megapixel or HD cameras could mean an increase in the bandwidth and correspondingly the amount of storage required, this is more than offset by the increases in storage with 1.5 and 2TB drives now on offer for the same price as 1TB, and even 1Gbps ports becoming standard on switches.  As above this increase can also be offset by the use of H.264 as well.

Previously we have spoken specifically about the cost advantages of IP over analogue systems. If you would like to read these arguments and a detailed cost breakdown then please drop us an email at or visit

Also if you would like to challenge Controlware to prove that IP can be just as cost effective, provide a better service than analogue or allow you to enable an upgrade to IP without replacing your entire system then please contact us.

The importance of vocational training for CCTV

November 11, 2009

Mike Tennent of Tavcom Training sets out the final part of his response to Mark Harraway of Controlware’s “Dont Go Hybrid”  article.

The security systems industry is one of exceptional challenge and reward. At Tavcom, we believe that the key to a successful future career in the sector lies with our special brand of vocational training – a careful blend and balance of classroom theory and ‘hands on’ practical experience that reinforces knowledge based learning. In a fast paced technological world we are not ashamed to state that some ‘old fashioned’ tried and tested methods of teaching still remain the best. In short, ‘Tell me and I will listen’, ‘Show me and I will observe’ and ‘Let me do it to demonstrate that I have learned’ are the maxims by which Tavcom’s team of experienced tutors continues to operate. Tavcom’s total independence of individual manufacturers or suppliers is fundamental to the success of training as students are able to observe and compare a selection of products side by side. This allows them to develop informed opinions of competing systems and support the choices and recommendations made within the workplace. In accordance with the sentiments expressed in this article, Tavcom’s policy is to utilise only equipment that is current and in general use – neither fully redundant nor excessively futuristic – for students to hone their skills.

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

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

Flexible system design is key for CCTV ROI

November 10, 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 next part of his response below.

The sensible answer to all these issues (concering analogue, hybrid and IP technology) is for us to encourage progress and quality whilst coming to terms with the equipment we actually have available and using that to design cost effective solutions for the security and surveillance needs of clients that are both backwardly and forwardly compatible. Whatever the systems employed, the paramount consideration is to provide image quality that can be measured on a repeatable basis and will meet the expectations of the discerning user and the professional commissioning engineer.

In this way, system designs and installations should never need to come under the critical, eagle eyes of the expert witnesses! Tavcom’s consultants will not mind losing that strand of business if systems are working efficiently for the benefit of people and property.

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

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

Is IP the new kid on the block for CCTV?

November 4, 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 next part of his response below.

It is arguable that these traditional attitudes and problems may well affect the long term success and effectiveness of the new IP technology. For now, however, it is the new and very popular kid on the security block that can do no wrong! For many, in fact, it is now the only kid on the block … but with good reason? Let’s have a look at some of the arguments being put out about by the providers of ‘IP-only’ solutions. Many suppliers have a very narrow focal plane and say it is now the sole way forward and that there should be no other method of designing, installing and operating CCTV systems.

At Tavcom we have been teaching IP and networking solutions for the industry for the past 10 years now and I have always agreed with the opinion of thousands of installers and end users that whilst IP technology in concept is first class, in practice there are many instances where there is an insufficient supply of bandwidth to provide the images specified by the users for their operational needs.

What do you think? Is IP the only way forward for CCTV?

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

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

Which CCTV technology to use? Industry debate continues

November 2, 2009

Since the publication of “the true Cost of IP CCTV” in the CCTV industry press there has been much debate concerning which technology to use.

Analogue, hybrid and IP CCTV all have their champions and we have seen some heated debate in favour of each technology both in the press and in forums such as the CCTV group on Linkedin.

While it can be argued that some manufacturers are saying what they are saying because they do not have an IP solution it must be said that the debate is an ideal opportunity for all elements of the industry to come together in order to discuss fundamental issues that affect the industry as a whole. This is healthy for the industry and the fact discussion is taking place in a transparent way with the participation of users is great too. Everyone has an opinion and it is a great thing that everyone has an opportunity to say what they want to say and this extends even here on the Controlware Blog where all on-topic comments are posted.

It is certainly true to say that no single technology fits all users at the moment and this is confirmed from the feedback coming out of these debates. We have been quite clear in outlining our preference for IP based CCTV transmission (based on the fact that IP is a global standard technology for integration of different applications – voice, data, video, broadcast video and as such offers the most ideal real-world workable solution today see here for more).

A word of caution though. Sometimes it is all too easy to discuss technology based on its merits alone. As an industry we must remember that the user is the most important person in all of this. Users buy the systems and at the end of the day have to live with them so as an industry that includes manufacturers, distributors (such as Controlware), installers, consultants and users we all have a duty of care to provide each user with the best possible solution for their needs.

Long may transparent debate continue because its healthy for the industry as a whole.

To read the latest from the ongoing debate join the CCTV group on Linkedin here.

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.

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.