IP-Surveillance is a term for a security system that gives users the ability to monitor and record video and/or audio over an IP (Internet Protocol-based) computer network such as a local area network (LAN) or the Internet. In a simple IP-Surveillance system, this involves the use of a network camera (or an analog camera with a video encoder/video server), a network switch, a PC for viewing, managing and storing video, and video management software.

Because of the digital nature and method of video distribution, IP-Surveillance provides a host of benefits and advanced functionalities that gives you greater control and management of live and recorded video, as well as alarm events. This makes the system highly suited to security surveillance applications. The advantages include:

  1. Remote accessibility: You can access live and recorded video at any time and from virtually any networked location in the world. Multiple, authorized users at different locations may be able to access live or recorded video. This is advantageous if your company wants a third-party, such as a security firm, to benefit from and have access to the video. In a traditional analog CCTV system, you need to be in a specific, on-site monitoring location to view and manage video, and off-site video access would not be possible without some additional equipment, such as a video encoder or a network DVR (digital video recorder).

  2. High image quality: High image quality is essential in a security surveillance application. You want to be able to clearly capture an incident in progress and identify persons or objects involved. In a network video system, the quality of images produced can be more easily retained than in an analog surveillance system. With an analog video system, the captured images are degraded with every conversion that the images make between analog and digital formats and with the cabling distance. The further the analog video signals travel, the weaker they become. In a fully digital IP-Surveillance system, images from a network camera are digitized once and they stay digital with no unnecessary conversions and no image degradation due to distance traveled. In addition, digital images can be more easily stored and retrieved than is the case with the use of analog video tapes.

  3. Easy, future-proof integration: Network video products based on open standards can be easily integrated with computer and Ethernet-based information, audio and security systems, video management and application software, and other digital devices. For instance, a network camera can be linked to specialized software programs that could, for example, integrate video with a Point of Sales system, or analyze the visual and/or audio data to detect wanted persons in a crowd or unauthorized access to specific areas.

  4. Scalable and flexible: An IP-Surveillance system can grow with your needs. You can add as many network video products to the system as desired without significant or costly changes to the network infrastructure. You can place and network the products from virtually any location, and the system can be as open or as closed as you wish.

  5. Cost-effective: An IP-Surveillance system has a lower total cost of ownership than a traditional analog CCTV surveillance. Management and equipment costs are lower since back-end applications and storage run on industry standard, open systems-based servers—not on proprietary hardware such as a DVR in the case of an analog CCTV system. Additional cost savings come from the infrastructure used. IP-based video streams can be routed around the world using a variety of interoperable infrastructure. IP-based networks such as LANs and the Internet, and various connection methods such as wireless are much less expensive alternatives than traditional coaxial and fiber needed for an analog CCTV system. In addition, an IP infrastructure can be leveraged for other applications across the organization.

    Furthermore, Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, which cannot be applied in an analog video system, can be used in a network video system to increase savings and reliability.

  6. Event management and intelligent video: There is often too much video recorded and lack of time to properly analyze them. Advanced network cameras/video encoders with built-in intelligence or analytics take care of this by reducing the amount of uninteresting video recorded and enabling programmed responses.

    Advanced network cameras/video encoders have such features as built-in video motion detection, audio detection alarm, active tampering alarm, I/O connections, and alarm and event management functionalities. These features enable the network cameras/video encoders to be constantly on guard in analyzing inputs and waiting for an impulse to kick-start an action or a series of actions. Having intelligence/analytics conducted at the network camera/video encoder rather than at the recording server reduces network bandwidth usage and storage needs since only actionable data (video) is sent over the network. In addition, less computing power is required from the recording server.


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