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.


CCTV: The truth about H.264 and image degredation

September 9, 2009

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

Q. As an H.264 adherent could you please fight its corner in terms of image degradation.

Again, this is all about how far you go with the compression or profile used.  Many vendors offer functionality within their products to support additional compression or bandwidth limitation. In this way they improve the tailoring of their product to specific projects.  For example, if you are using remote cameras over an ADSL line with a fixed maximum available bandwidth, then it could be acceptable to either drop frame rates or decrease image quality in order not to exceed the available bandwidth and avoid pixilation.

The H.264 standard sets the criteria for multi-picture inter-picture prediction which is an improvement over the previous standards of just examining the differences between one or two frames by sampling many more frames. If it is unlikely that certain images areas will change (fixed structures in the background for example), then bandwidth is not wasted by repeated transmission of redundant data that is in the frame already. This does mean that bandwidth can be very dynamic in locations with frequent motion or sudden scene changes as the algorithm has to deal with such variation. But theoretically, depending on the profile used, there should be no difference in image quality. And if the hardware encoder then makes a choice to drop frames or over-compress the data to meet a user defined requirement, the H.264 standard should not take the blame.

Part 4 continues tomorrow…..


The case for H.264 for CCTV: Introduction

September 7, 2009

The case for H.264 by Mark Harraway as published in International Security Buyers Guide Sept 09.

In his recent columns, ‘the Mole’ has reported interesting statements from the trade with regard to H.264 and I have to agree that when something brand spanking new comes along, it is easy for people to jump on the bandwagon and claim they have innovative features that eclipse competitors. And if a manufacturer does indeed deliver a new feature set which puts them in the position of being market leader then everyone else will often rush to adopt it either too cheaply, too quickly or in a shoddy manner. As a result, all that happens is that the feature becomes discredited within the industry or is viewed with suspicion.

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. ‘The Mole’ has already posed a few questions in the magazine and on blogs that I want to consider so fire away at me.

Part 2 follows tomorrow…..


Runnymede Borough Council benefit from advanced CCTV recording and archive security solution

July 21, 2009

The Borough Council benefit from an advanced CCTV recording and archive solution from Controlware.

Community Safety Manager for Runnymede Borough Council, David Dodd said: “CCTV is an important weapon to help combat crime and the fear of crime. Controlware has been on hand to support us every step of the way with this important project that provides advanced IP video management, control and recording of CCTV from cameras situated around the Borough.”

Runnymede Borough Council was awarded the Public Sector Security award 2009 presented by Government Business magazine at a ceremony at The Emirates Stadium in London.

This award is presented to the Local Authority or Central Government building/refurbishment project that considers security as a prime concern and enhances the safety of staff, residents and visitors to the building through the installation of CCTV, monitoring, access control or other innovative security system.

To find out more about the CCTV solution please click here.

Runnymede benefit from advanced CCTV recording from Controlware

Runnymede benefit from advanced CCTV recording from Controlware


City wide solution, CCTV security surveillance for Ipswich

July 20, 2009

The advanced surveillance soluion includes cameras, IP codec’s and networked recording all managed by the powerful Cware management platform. CCTV operators monitor real-time video and search archive recordings from 185 cameras that cover businesses, public parks, transportation links and residential areas 24 hours per day.

Cware enables the use of new compression methods such as H.264 that provide higher video quality for faster identification of suspects. Cware also makes surveillance easier for operators and delivers some key advantages including the opportunity to integrate CCTV, Video Analytics and Access Control systems together in one platform.

The continued investment in advanced IP CCTV technology by Ipswich City Council illustrates their commitment to help reduce crime and the fear of crime, creating a safer living environment for all.

To read more about the solution and download a case study click here.

CCTV control room at Ipswich Council

CCTV control room at Ipswich Council


See the benefits of IP CCTV now and in the future

July 3, 2009

CCTV solutions come in many different shapes and sizes but they all include the same components namely cameras, management viewing software and recording hardware. The challenge for the 21st century is that analogue systems have reached the very limits of their technology boundaries, making systems even more expensive by providing low quality video and frame rates. However when you look at the latest Internet Protocol (IP) CCTV solutions these overcome many of these problems.

IP CCTV solutions support far greater image quality through H.264, Megapixel and High Density (HD) technologies that deliver higher frame rates. Lower cost installation is achieved through reduced storage costs, Power over Ethernet (PoE) and also trouble-free integration with the existing IIT network infrastructure without impacting on network services. IP based systems also support video analytics and advanced Image Content Management (ICN) tracking technology that help CCTV operators manage large quantities of video based data, improving the reaction time to events.

Acting as the heartbeat of the building IP technology will become the basis for controlling not just CCTV but building management, access control, and even cashless catering systems. Therefore when specifying security systems all relevant stakeholders in the process must look at IP based surveillance for a future proofed, cost-effective and integrated security solution.

For the latest IP based CCTV and case studies click here.


IP CCTV can deliver huge benefits over analogue systems

June 24, 2009

Here are some reasons why….

Improved video quality
IP CCTV solutions support far greater image quality through Megapixel and High Density (HD) technologies that deliver higher frame rates. This enables CCTV to be of high enough quality to clearly capture an incident in progress and therefore identify the persons involved and if necessary bring in law enforcement agencies in order to prosecute with confidence.

Future Proofing
By deploying an IP CCTV solution future proofing can be achieved by enabling integration and support for new technologies and applications such as H.264, HD, Megapixel cameras, proximity access control and identification, Video Analytics, Facial Recognition and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). Integration with these technologies enables CCTV to be extended to provide an additional level of security for traffic monitoring, parking, and access control applications.

Linking CCTV with Access Control technology can deliver real benefits. For example in a school a single card could be used for students and staff for access to secure areas, library card identification, time and attendance records and cashless vending. CCTV images can be linked to Access Control records so that in the event of crimes such as vandalism, pilfering or identity theft rather than simply having a database you have a visual image to quickly identify if the access records are correct and also avoid any rebuttal from potential suspects.

Secure access remote access enables an IP based solution to be monitored from anywhere not just in a central control room. Using the integrated intelligence of IP based solutions automated audio response and alarm escalation out of hours can also be achieved as well as incorporation of help points and streaming video to mobile phones.

Cost savings
• IP based surveillance typically has a lower total cost of ownership than traditional CCTV due to the application of recent technological advances.

• CAT 5 structured cabling reduces installation costs.

• Taking advantage of PoE technology means fewer cables need to be run to cameras than traditional cabling and resilience can be increased through the use of Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS).

• Latest recording compression standards such as H.264 also provide a saving of up to 75% capacity over traditional analogue solutions whilst maintaining high quality video recordings.

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