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.


Are hybrid CCTV recording platforms worth it?

October 6, 2009

An excerpt from Controlware Country Manager Mark Harraway’s “Why go hybrid?” article as published in the September edition of Professional Security Magazine.

The main thrust of the Going hybrid messaging seems to be driven from the storage platform manufacturers.  There are now a large number of NVR’s or DVR’s that position themselves as “Hybrid”.  And by “Hybrid” they mean that they can record analogue BNC feeds and IP feeds at the same time.  But here is the rub – they don’t give the detail on which IP cameras they support as a recording platform, because the customer’s main focus is on quality of systems for current use i.e. frame rate or resolution, and what recording profile can be supported for the available storage. Unfortunately this can lead to a world of difference on how future-proofed each customer’s security system will be.

Like many sectors of our industry, the devil is in the detail and 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 read the complete article click here.

Building advanced CCTV security systems: The control room

September 30, 2009

The Cware surveillance platform is an advanced video management and recording solution. Based on open standards and supporting leading Intelligent Video Analysis developers and camera and encoder manufacturers, Cware is the ideal high-performance solution for surveillance and alarm management.

Cware offers a variety of surveillance and management solutions to suit various applications including access via a traditional web browser or access via the Cware Control Centre interface. Due to client-server architecture, multiple clients with appropriate permissions can log onto the system from any location and view live or recorded video footage, control cameras and manage alarms. All user permissions, privileges and capabilities are also held centrally on the server meaning that changes can be implemented quickly and efficiently while increasing overall security.

With surveillance based on Cware the solution is fully resilient with failover control servers, failover storage servers, RAID 5/6 storage and high quality hard drives. The storage can be on or off site, in the control room or in a secure location; it can be distributed for security as long as the network is large enough to support high bandwidths. Additional control rooms can be added to provide mirror systems and/or DR sites if required.

To find out more about the Cware management platform click here.

cware controlroom

Developing an integrated security environment with CCTV, Access control and Intruder Systems

September 22, 2009

The key to success in tackling ongoing security risks is to ensure that the technology can meet the demands placed upon it. Providing a reliable, effective, integrated solution into the hands of competent and well trained security staff can result in real world reductions in crime and safety.

Controlware are constantly examining, testing and developing new state-of-the-art technologies to ensure that these challenges are met. These developments provide new and innovative ways in which security can be applied and integrated within our CCTV Security management platform, Cware. This allows for a more flexible, efficient system with increased control and capabilities.

Cware is an advanced IP based video management and Networked Video Recording (NVR) platform that makes control of surveillance networks simpler and more effective than ever before.

Based on open standards architecture Cware provides the freedom to create integrated surveillance networks. Support for a range of manufacturers cameras and encoders ensure investment protection for existing network equipment and integration with new products and technologies in the future.

An advanced user-friendly interface that can be customized to meet individual requirements enables simultaneous access to live and recorded video making it easy for all levels of security personnel to operate and control the system. Comprehensive video management, on screen display, alarm, recording and playback features deliver support for limitless cameras, recording servers and operator workstations. Advanced features such as Image Content Navigation (ICN) and 2.5D Live Maps provide unrivalled video interaction, innovating the way locations are monitored.

Highly flexible and cost-effective architecture enables Cware to easily manage single or multiple locations and all sizes of installation, supporting thousands of cameras. A modular approach utilising common PC, networking and storage hardware, provides a platform for endless scalability, without requiring full and costly system upgrades. The number of cameras, clients and storage capacity can be increased with ease and by supporting a high level of system redundancy disruption to security operations is minimized.

Having supplied thousands of solutions through a worldwide network of channel partner’s, real world experience is at the heart of Cware development. Based on flexible architecture, boasting advanced features and designed specifically for the user Cware delivers all the advantages of a next generation management platform today.

To find out more about the innovative Cware management platform click here.

Cware management platform

Cware management platform

Understanding CCTV: Latency vs Speed

September 17, 2009

The final part of the case for H.264 by Mark Harraway, UK Country Manager

Q. H.264 may prove unsatisfactory in situations where low latency is important. Is there any truth in this?

Again, I would have to say it depends on which manufacturer you are using.  Latency is a function of the network – available bandwidth vs amount of traffic generated.  As we have already said, using H.264 should improve network latency as you are reducing the bandwidth on the network by pushing the work to the edge device.   If the concern is image delay (perhaps moving one’s hand in front of a camera and then seeing this on the screen), the issue comes down again to the truism that you get what you pay for. Higher build standard encoders or cameras will give quicker response times as they have faster processors and the manufacturers are likely to have implemented the profile better.  Again this can all be adjusted in the individual codec settings.

Understanding CCTV: Storage vs image quality

September 16, 2009

The eighth part of the case for H.264 by Mark Harraway, UK Country Manager

Q. What is more important for end-users, reductions in RAID demands or usable images with reduced bandwidth? How does H.264 fare on both, and are there variations within industry sectors?

Only an end-user can answer this since factors include a mix of budget, space, and quality but it is important to note that H.264 and IP give you the flexibility to tailor the system to meet on-the-ground needs. By contrast, in an analogue or DVR-based system, it is the hardware that dictates matters through supported frame rates or recording space in the box. The beauty of an IP / H.264 system is that you can be dynamic in the offering. After all, why record at a high frame rate or resolution when nothing is happening? The way forward must be to move to event or alarm-driven recording.  And if you really do need 24/7 recording then use the power of H.264 to reduce your bandwidth and thus your storage requirements.

Understanding CCTV: Does H.264 mean more processing power?

September 14, 2009

The sixth part of the case for H.264 by Mark Harraway, UK Country Manager

Q. Sceptics allege that H.264 necessitates higher-powered processing and there are higher lag times. But elsewhere industry pundits argue that the exact opposite is the case. What is your position on this?

It is true that as you do more work at the encoding end to compress the stream. More processing power is required and this is why you are seeing manufacturers release new hardware platforms for H.264. But as with all hardware, the processing power of the chipsets is increasing exponentially so I don’t see why this should cause more lag on the network since you are reducing the transmitted bandwidth.  What may be happening is that certain manufacturers are using poor quality chipsets or are trying to cut costs generally. Similarly, such scare-mongering could be analogue adherents trying to discourage end-users from deploying H.264 yet again.

Part 7 continues tomorrow…