Meeting with many CCTV users at IFSEC last week the main topic of conversation again revolved around the cost of adopting IP CCTV.
It is a topic I have touched on before when a CCTV manufacturer insisted that IP CCTV would cost £1.8M for a 750 camera system compared to £600k for his analogue based one. Given that IP vs. analogue costs are still topical it seems fitting to look at these arguments again.
From the customer’s perspective, there are three main deployment scenarios for moving to IP: (1) integrating existing analogue cameras within an IP backbone via video encoders, (2) migrating existing analogue installations to IP over the life cycle of the system and finally, (3) installing a completely pure IP solution that meets the project needs, budget and allows for future proofing. All scenarios present challenges in both planning and deployment, but these can be identified early enough to ensure that there are no surprises.
Through good system design each scenario can be deployed in a number of ways – central storage, distributed storage, failover, redundancy, and remote high quality recording / low quality live view are all possible. These solutions can easily be implemented across existing infrastructure (without impacting IT services), or new IP CCTV deployments with the use of networking functionality such as VLAN’s (the ability to create separate “virtual” LANs on the same switch) or by utilising low cost switches to create a separate LAN for the surveillance system.
In order to dispute the assertion that a 750 IP based camera system would cost £1.8m compared to alternatives, I have to make a few assumptions concerning the system, so we’ve put forward a high-end solution proposal as follows:
- 750 camera feeds
- 31 days retention of footage with 10% overhead for incident recordings.
- All video recorded at 24/7/365 at 4CIF / D1 at 25fps
Recordings are of average motion with 50% in view at any one time. By using H.264 encoding significant savings of between 50% and 80% over M-JPEG can be made by sending changes in video frames rather than full frames.
All cameras are in situ and connected via coax to local collection points and then high speed CAT5e or Cat6 cabling is installed back to a central command and control point. As the system is mission critical 100% redundancy and failover are required.
Using a storage design tool demonstrates that only 116.2 TB of storage is needed – even when adding 10% overhead (approx 16TB), for incident recordings the storage is only approx 135 TB. With 8 x 2TB iSCSI drive units you would only need 4-5 RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Discs) arrays running RAID 5 for recording. Then when we look at the required servers to process and record the cameras, using a COTS (computers off the shelf) manufacturer such as Dell or HP 64 camera feeds will only require 12 servers plus an additional one to handle system redundancy.
The use of iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface) means that storage arrays are connected directly to the network backbone eliminating single point of failure issues that are common in the traditional DVR setup. Should a drive lose connectivity, power or suffer systems failure then the network control software automatically starts to record its streams to another array seamlessly. By coupling this with RAID even in the event of a drive failure the data is duplicated across multiple discs so that no footage is lost.
For the above configuration you simply need 2 x 48 port switches and the cabling to connect all your remote collection sites. With the cost per port of switches falling even with high grade cabling all this could be installed for less than £25,000. Even if you had to deploy this over a wide area other IP technologies such as wireless still make this a cost effective solution.
The most expensive part of an IP CCTV solution will always be the camera licensing, but as this is normally only around £150.00 per camera (Which is often for life – If you hardware fails you just reinstall.) I don’t see this as a major issue.
The final component is simply to add encoders to convert analogue camera signals to IP. With the new ranges of IP encoders it is possible to convert these streams and transmit them using H.264 at a 12Mbps per group of 16 cameras. Again the cost per channel for this is cost-effective at sub £200.00.
Even before we start to discuss the other benefits of IP solutions such as POE (reduced cabling costs and installation time), Intelligent deployments (Dynamic storage profiles, redundancy and integration with other hardware systems), or Intelligent Video (Analytics, integration with other software systems or improved user functionality), we can see that IP is the future for CCTV. When we bring all this together – the recording servers, the software, the encoders, the transmission, display equipment and installation and commissioning I can confidently say that a high res, high frame rate IP solution for 750 cameras could be delivered at an End User price of less than £500,000.00 (+ VAT of course just to be 110% clear!). The cost would be even lower at 5fps as the storage would be quartered and costs would be reduced on transmission and encoder technology with more cameras supported per server.
For more details and to receive a complete cost breakdown for this IP CCTV system, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out our range of IP cameras, video encoders and CCTV management software from manufacturers such as Bosch, Pelco, Samsung, Sanyo etc.