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Why does analogue technology no longer seem like the most viable option?


Three surveillance cameras on the corner of a ...

With analysts now forecasting that by 2014, network video surveillance solutions will be significantly out-performing analogue camera sales in the UK; our Network Video Surveillance Specialist, Mark Doyle, joins in the IP vs. Analogue debate.

So  why does analogue technology suddenly no longer seem like the most viable option? With industry experts claiming that analogue technology seems to have peaked, here are just a few compelling reasons as to why an IP solution really is far more superior:

  • Significantly higher resolution and excellent image clarity
  • Enhanced performance and increased backlighting
  • Rapid deployment to deliver scalable and flexible solutions
  • Reduce your camera count as fewer HD cameras are required to cover the same area with analogue
  • Intelligent analytics, including number plate and face recognition
  • Simple to centrally and remotely manage and maintain
  • Can be integrated with additional security systems, including access control, intruder alarm and building    management systems

What types of migration are available?

As organisations and public sector bodies find that the cost of maintaining their existing analogue CCTV network steadily grows, and the performance is demonstrably poorer than currently available technology, the prospect of continued investment in old technology and shoring up ageing equipment looks less appealing.

Often, however, the investment already made in the legacy analogue equipment is a disincentive to undertake a wholesale replacement of the entire system.

Migration planning becomes key in such situations, ensuring that the migration to current technology is in line with financial and operational constraints, whilst still meeting the user expectations and overall project objectives.

Every surveillance solution has a range of deliverables and objectives and the benefits of migrating from an analogue to an IP surveillance solution are to deliver such objectives; both smarter and greener.

With every migration being unique, there are a number of available paths to follow, from edge migration, IP encoding through to full “fork lift” upgrade. The crucial element is the IP network; this must be robust enough to manage the surveillance cameras, whether they are all IP or a mixture of existing analogue and IP.

More often than not, organisations and local authorities are adopting a phased approach to migration. Existing analogue cameras can be utilised, with the installation of video encoders, to deliver ROI and prolong product life cycle. Moreover, new IP cameras can be deployed when and where required to enhance the existing solution. In addition the IP network can be upgraded, storage can be planned more efficiently and management of all surveillance footage can be streamlined, centralised and enhanced.

How to plan a successful migration?
A site survey is the most valid indicator of where to start and should evaluate the existing solutions performnce encompassing;  the position and type of cameras used as well as the type and capacity of existing storage and a health check on the capabilities of the existing network.   Users of the surveillance system, both management and frontline, should be questioned as to the usefulness of existing camera locations – for example the use of a building may have changed and impacted upon the requirements for surveillance of that building.

The question then is how to design the most cost effective and high performing surveillance solution?

Existing analogue cameras that are producing an image that the user finds satisfactory can be incorporated into a new IP surveillance system. The most common way of integrating existing analogue cameras is to encode them. This involves replacing the existing recording unit with a unit (or units) that will take the co-axial cables and convert them into an IP signal. This in turn is linked to a new fully scalable recording system.  Any additional cameras can then make use of emerging megapixel and HD technologies to enable a better future-proofed surveillance system. One of the main benefits of a phased migration is that the new IP surveillance system can be scaled one camera at a time, in a far more cost effective deployment than the traditional blocks of 4, 8 or 16 channel required for analogue cameras systems.

Additionally, storage requirements will become more fluid with an IP solution. Should requirements change and video footage, from certain or all cameras, require to be retained longer this can be configured simply with the use of existing storage and/or the addition of more storage.

The logistics of delivery can also be planned as rapidly or phased as the environment dictates and in most cases ruling out any downtime or surveillance interruption.

Boston Networks and IP Surveillance
Boston Networks is currently working with key clients across the UK, including NHS Tayside, East Renfrewshire Council, The University of Aberdeen and SPT to manage large scale, rapid and phased, surveillance migrations.

Moreover, we work with our construction partners to deliver revolutionary, bespoke and fully integrated security solutions for new developments, including the new South Glasgow Hospital, which upon completion will be the largest super hospital in Europe.

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