Professional systems integrators and installing dealers are always a good resource for consultation, although they too are now struggling to stay ahead of the technology learning curve, says Frank DeFina, president of Panasonic System Solutions Company.


Frank DeFina is president of Panasonic System Solutions Company. Panasonic is actively supporting the development of new analog, hybrid and IP based networked systems solutions to support the industry’s changing needs.

Security Magazine: There’s so much industry buzz about IP video. What are your thoughts on this technology versus an analog system?

DeFina: There’s much written about the migration from conventional analog video surveillance system operations to an IP networked based platform. The truth is that both analog and IP networked systems have advantages, depending upon specific system requirements. A hybrid system is also an alternative to consider, which can deliver the best of both worlds, while providing the flexibility to enhance or expand your system as the need arises. There are many additional criteria to consider before a decision can be made when designing/building a new system or upgrading an existing system.

Security Magazine: Is there a higher demand for IP based systems, and is analog going by the wayside?

DeFina: The fact is that IP networked systems currently represent approximately ten to 20 percent of the total installed base of new and/or revised systems on an annual basis. This clearly indicates that there is still a tremendous demand for analog systems and products. More importantly, it means that systems product manufacturers need to continue to develop new technologies and products for analog applications.

However, there is rapid development of more advanced IP networked systems products, particularly PC-based control solutions, given the inherent benefits of IP networked systems compared to conventional analog system technologies. Additionally, the trend toward integrated and enterprise level system operations can only be made possible with IP networked based systems. A common software platform is required to deliver true interoperability for otherwise disparate applications.

Add the trend to integrate additional facility systems like point of sale, HVAC, lighting, elevator/escalators, and the need for a common software dashboard is essential. There’s also a growing trend for remote monitoring/mobile and control capabilities that requires a common software interface (otherwise referred to as middleware) running on an IP networked platform.

Security Magazine: What obstacles exist when trying to develop an IP system?

DeFina: One obstacle in the adoption of this technology is that the need to build infrastructure capable of sustaining full-fledged IP networked systems can also be a substantial investment that puts the total cost of IP networked system implementation far beyond that of a high performance analog system. Even some of the most robust IT networks in place today do not provide adequate bandwidth for even a modestly sized IP-based system, given desired monitoring and recording performance requirements. This is not an issue with analog systems.

Security Magazine: Are there options when installing an IP networked system?

DeFina: The decision to move to an IP networked platform does not have to be black and white. Hybrid analog-IP systems provide a highly efficient means of bridging the gap, while capitalizing on the benefits of both technologies.  For example, if you presently operate a high performance analog system, but need to expand it to add additional camera and recording capacities, you can employ IP networked cells utilizing video servers or encoders/decoders that allow you to interface with existing analog system components and control systems such as matrix switchers.

In addition to allowing security directors to expand the existing system, hybrid system expansions allow operators to add infrastructure in those physical locations where none exists. Hybrid systems also connect different physical locations for centralized monitoring through placement of satellite systems that can operate both independently and as part of the converged system set-up. This provides a great deal of flexibility and efficiencies, while providing a foundation for later migration to an all IP based networked platform.

Security Magazine: What’s new at Panasonic?

DeFina: Professional systems integrators and installing dealers are always a good resource for consultation, although they too are now struggling to stay ahead of the technology learning curve. At Panasonic, we’re actively supporting the development of new analog, hybrid and IP based networked systems solutions to support the industry’s changing needs. New developments in imaging technologies, recording devices and control solutions are available to satisfy virtually any system requirement and budget. The key is identifying what combination of systems products and platforms works best for you today while providing you with a platform for future enhancement and growth.