There are many reasons for the industry transition to IP-based digital video surveillance systems, but one of the most compelling is the management and control of an integrated system through the use of software-driven solutions. Moreover, many of these software-based management and control programs can be deployed in hybrid video surveillance systems.

Analog cameras are still commonly used in video surveillance systems due to their lower cost, wide range of choices and high quality imaging capabilities. As a result, video management software solutions that address this fact are growing in number. Implementation of such a system can help protect the end-user’s hardware investment. Additionally, analog system technology has steadily been adding improvements to close the gap between analog and digital systems. For instance, today’s DVRs (digital video recorders) offer many of the same features and benefits as an NVR (network video recorder), including IP camera support, remote access and scalability. These kinds of enhancements will support the continued use of analog cameras, and potentially the overall life of analog/hybrid systems.

IP Influence on Management Solutions

However, the advent of new H.264 megapixel IP video surveillance cameras is having a dramatic influence on the utilization of software-based management solutions and the overall manner in which video surveillance systems are configured, managed and recorded. The high efficiency of the megapixel chip allows for more advanced video analytics and push technology, as well as other advanced capabilities that are only possible on a networked platform.

Video captured by H.264 megapixel cameras offers outstanding images for live viewing as well as the ability to view extremely fine detail when using digital zoom. In addition, the improved picture quality and image analysis delivered by megapixel cameras can take better advantage of the newer VGA and XGA display devices.

In addition to megapixel technology, current IP camera technology features upgraded processing power in the camera chips to include faster digital signal processors (DSPs), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), all of which support software management solutions.

When considering all of these aspects in designing an integrated video surveillance system, it is obvious that there is no cookie cutter method to follow. Each project must be approached from the viewpoint of what issue/problem does the customer want resolved and what system design will best achieve that goal without making any sacrifices on overall system design or performance.

Video Management, PSIM Software Convenience

Whether the answer is an IP-based digital solution or a hybrid solution will depend on a number of factors; but ultimately the end result must, at a minimum, provide intelligent solutions for delivering, storing and managing the video and data and, on a more sophisticated level, tie together and manage other physical security and safety applications.

Today’s video management software offerings and the more complex and advanced physical security information management (PSIM) software are designed to do just that. Both video management software and PSIM software are dedicated applications designed to bring the technology infrastructure together onto a single platform. With these kinds of software-driven solutions, the video, analytics (i.e. event forensic as well as license plate recognition and people counting), building management, access control and business applications such as POS can all be integrated.

Further, the video and data information can be incorporated with policies and procedures to provide operators with all required information for intelligent response, such as alarm verification and rule-based, predefined actions determined by events.

And while this may appear to be a complicated activity, the software manufacturers have paid particular attention to the design of the interface so that the functionality is easier and more convenient to manage.

Examples of this include touch-screen technology and map-based interfaces which allow for powerful investigation tools to effectively and automatically identify incidents, notify and inform corporate security personnel on and off site, and manage the response to a security breach or incident.

Backward compatibility and advanced management and control of integrated systems are certainly driving forces behind the adoption IP-based security systems, but the additional benefits of reduced costs and operational/workflow efficiencies are proving to be equally as important in value. Combined, they provide sound reasoning for designers and system integrators to implement software-based solutions as part of an intelligent system blueprint.