Uri Guterman addresses the reason why analogue-based CCTV systems are still in favour more than a decade after many industry commentators predicted that IP network-based video surveillance would very quickly become the automatic choice for consultants, system designers, installers and system integrators alike.
The advantages that network video surveillance systems offer over analogue CCTV are significant. These advantages include the opportunity to remotely view live or recorded images from anywhere on the network via a PC, smart phone or tablet as well as the not insignificant matter of resilience. Recorded video can be securely stored at any location on the network. A high level of redundancy can be introduced by choosing to simultaneously record and store video at multiple locations.
In addition, the latest generations of HD IP cameras are packed with practical features which ensure end users are able to achieve so much more from their video surveillance solutions (eg on-board video analytics).
Last, but by no means least, a single network cable is able to carry video, audio and data, as well as provide telemetry and Power over Ethernet.
At first glance, then, it does seem to be surprising that analogue retains a loyal following. In fact, some recent market research has indicated that there’s a resurgence in demand for analogue-based surveillance solutions. Why are key influencers still recommending analogue CCTV systems to their clients when migrating towards the use of video over IP for new video surveillance projects would seem to be a ‘no brainer’?
Recent high-profile cyber attack incidents and the negative publicity surrounding hackers’ ability to access confidential data via a camera’s ‘back door’ has without doubt encouraged some product specifiers and security managers to reconsider the option of deploying a ‘closed circuit’ video surveillance system.
However, in many cases, analogue systems are still being specified – or legacy systems retained – simply because the end user is not yet ready to migrate to IP. They may not, for example, have a network infrastructure in place that can support a video surveillance system or provide the necessary bandwidth. If their existing analogue systems are still meeting their requirements, it may be difficult to justify the investment in upgrading or installing a new network.
Offer of support
Surveillance solution manufacturers have recognised that, while it’s imperative to keep pushing technological boundaries and further innovate IP network technology, it’s equally important to continue to offer support for the foreseeable future for analogue systems. The priority is to extend the life of legacy systems by introducing cameras which can deliver HD images over existing coax cabling.
Manufacturers are able to do so with the help of Analogue HD (AHD) technology.
Offered by a number of manufacturers under different names, these cameras are able to deliver superb quality HD images over coaxial cables. They’ve been designed for end users who want to benefit from being able to capture and record Full-HD 1080p images, but are not yet ready to migrate from analogue to an IP network-based video surveillance solution.
The cameras can support the transmission of HD images (and audio) without any latency or image loss at distances of up to 500 metres using standard coax. The good news is that there’s no need to incur the cost and time of installing encoders, converters or switches.
DVRs with built-in AHD technology are able to support existing analogue and new HD+ cameras by simultaneously recording across all channels, while multi-streaming the transmission of images across the network and, if required, to mobile devices. As such, they offer practising end users the opportunity to extend the life of their legacy systems and maximise Return on Investment.
It is perhaps inevitable and only a matter of time before advances in the fields of deep learning, Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality and the Internet of Things will motivate the majority of end users to deploy IP-centric solutions. In the meantime, it makes good business sense for today’s manufacturers to offer clients the freedom to choose the technology which is right for them at any given point in time.
Uri Guterman is Head of Product and Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe
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