Key reasons to select IP CCTV in 2010 #4 Total Cost of Ownership

January 26, 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.

Total Cost of Ownership

It is recognised that some components of an IP solution may be more expensive than an analogue one.  However when the total cost of the deployed solution is calculated, IP has been shown to be more cost effective overall than analogue systems.  These savings can be made in reduced cabling costs by only using one cable to carry video, audio, telemetry and in most cases power to the camera through PoE (Power over Ethernet).  Further savings can also be made in reduced storage costs by use of different compression techniques such as H.264 and recording profile planning by using the on-board memory of the camera or encoder to only record on alarm or at different frame rates / resolutions.  With advances in hardware platforms such as the servers and RAID arrays more and more cameras can be supported per server (We can currently support 64 cameras at 4CIF / 25 fps per server today for instance).  Operational costs can also be offset by using IP CCTV systems for other purposes such as ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) or using them for measurement of marketing and promotional activities as shown in retail applications.

If you or one of your clients is debating whether to go IP then the decision has to be Yes! You should not only consider IP on its technical merits raised here but also look more widely to see if there are any other benefits that can be gained. If you are looking at challenges in your business and want to improve efficiencies then look at IP to see what can be achieved.

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 ipcctv@controlware.co.uk or visit www.controlware.co.uk/tco.

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.


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 ipcctv@controlware.co.uk or visit www.controlware.co.uk/tco.

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.


Growth spurs new Tech Support Manager

November 12, 2009

Controlware announce the appointment of Mark Ashbolt as Technical Support Manager

Leading IP CCTV specialists and Value Added Distributors Controlware have appointed Mark Ashbolt as Technical Support Manager. Mark brings over 15 years technical experience to the role and will be responsible for managing UK support operations.

Prior to joining Controlware, Mark was most recently IT Manager at the Halcrow Group where he was responsible for managing a team that supported over 600 users. At Controlware, Mark is responsible for the management of all Customer Support operations including the Help Desk and onsite Technical Field Engineers. He is currently managing the transition of the company’s traditional Help Desk to an integrated Service Support model based around the introduction of procedures that will streamline operations to assist all areas of the business.

Customer focused support services

Mark and his team provide expert Technical Support for Controlware’s existing customers and new surveillance projects that can range from a few cameras to thousands across multiple sites. Having provided support services for more than 20 years Controlware engineers have a reputation for providing exceptional technical assistance enabling service contracts to be tailored to exact requirements for individual products or complete solutions. In this way the Controlware support team can help make CCTV more effective than before through regular firmware updates, configuration management and maintenance checks.

As the primary UK Technical support team for Controlware’s Cware open management platform the team also has expert strength in depth to deal with the most technical of enquires. The Cware open management platform enables users to benefit from integrated surveillance and recording solutions. Based on open standards Cware supports integration with leading vendor codec’s and cameras, external systems such as access control, video analytics and intruder alarms as well as technologies such as H.264. Systems based on the Cware management platform are future-proofed and provide a real-world return on investment for users, reseller and integration partners.

“We are pleased to welcome Mark Ashbolt to Controlware and are already seeing the benefit of having someone with his extensive experience on board,” said Mark Harraway, Country Manager, Controlware UK. “Mark has joined us during a period of extremely strong growth both in staff and customer numbers and we look forward to his input as we continue to evolve and expand our support services. “

Rapid growth of IP based CCTV

Mark Ashbolt’s career began with the RAF providing support for flight simulators before leaving to join the private sector. Having spent the majority of his career in management roles for the likes of IBM where he managed a multi-lingual Pan European team Mark Ashbolt is looking forward to this new role assisting Controlware’s integrator and reseller customer base especially at this time of exciting growth for the company.

“I am looking forward to helping Controlware meet the growing demand for IP based security systems in the industry at this exciting time and aim to ensure that the support team continues to provide the highest levels of support for our customers.”

For more information about Controlware click here.

Mark Ashbolt joins Controlware


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


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: Is H.264 the real deal?

September 15, 2009

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

Q. H.264 has been described very patronisingly as ‘promising’, presumably by those in the analogue camp or supporters of other standards who don’t want this new offering  to prosper.  Are there parties in the industry who want to impede the progress of H.264 by ‘damning it with faint praise’?

Again, this is the “We can’t offer or work with it so let’s rubbish it or at the very least pour cold water over it” tactic. IP and H.264 are the future of CCTV and just as magazines are no longer produced with typewriters and the old ‘hot metal’ printing technology, end-users shouldn’t listen to entrenched analogue adherents when making decisions on the future of their systems.  I would be more than willing to place an H.264 offering up against a like-for-like analogue system in an independent test to prove its worth.

Part 8 continues tomorrow…