Why under exactly the same circumstances and in exactly the same business category, do some companies enjoy great success while others experience slow growth? There are a myriad of answers to this question and it would take much more than this brief column to name all of them. However, one of the answers sure to be found on any list involves investing in the company’s future with the purchase of new technologies that can help to optimize business processes so they become more efficient and productive.

IP-based video surveillance and security is one of these technologies. It’s one of the more important enablers to improve the management and of physical security information and provides a more effective and efficient video surveillance and security system. The network platform provides the capability to transform video surveillance and management across the enterprise with a whole new level of pro-active surveillance and monitoring advantages.

 By loose definition, IP-based video security technology is a digital, end-to-end system comprised of network cameras, network video recorders and storage devices controlled by video management software. It is engineered to be modular, intuitive and relatively simple to configure and, when it is based on an open architecture platform, IP-based video-centric PSIM technology can readily be integrated with network-based access control, intrusion and fire alarm systems.

 In an enterprise environment, the return on investment in network-based video technology can be seen almost immediately. Megapixel and other high-resolution digital cameras can use the existing CAT-5 cable, eliminating the need for bulky and expensive coaxial cable runs. These and other IP-based components can leverage an existing TCP/IP network infrastructure and real time data can be easily distributed either locally or remotely to authorized users at a very low cost.

Network bandwidth requirements can be better managed with newer compression technologies such as H.264, which deliver the same video quality as MJPEG compression schemes but uses only half the bandwidth. Additionally, the reduced file sizes also lower the amount of data that needs to be recorded and/or stored. And on-board intelligence at the camera level such as authentication, motion detection, bandwidth allocation and alarm triggering can help to re-define operational management of a system.

The operational benefits of a network-based video surveillance system are brought together using the features found in the video management software. For example, using tools such as rules-based identification of alerts, video analytics and event-driven push video makes it possible for fewer operators to manage more cameras. Additional work flow and event management capabilities are delivered at the PSIM platform level. More efficient operation (no need to review hours of video) means enhanced security. Video Synopsis technology adds great value, reducing the time required for forensic investigation.

 Beyond the security, IP video offers a wealth of additional benefits to the enterprise. Video data is valuable information on the network and can be utilized in numerous ways such as helping to optimize store layouts based on customer traffic patterns, enhancing productivity of employees and processes, counting customers/people, monitoring crowd control or integration with other department applications like maintenance and facilities.

 Broadly speaking, video provides a valuable new asset to the enterprise and can provide a solid return on investment – both immediate and in the future.