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12/15/2008 12:00:00 AM
Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff
An IP security camera offers many benefits compared to a traditional analog camera. An IP security camera produces better images, higher resolution and has more flexibility than analog cameras. And that's just for starters.
Because IP cameras store the images they capture on a server, users can e-mail video images to anyone in the organization for further consultation. With old analog cameras, security staff is forced to watch a wall of monitors to determine if a security breach is occurring. It doesn't take long for attention to wane when staring at a wall of monitors — a factor that can quickly compromise a security system.
With analytics, an IP security camera can be programmed to "watch" for suspicious activity. A camera on an air intake, for example, can be programmed to display an alert and record video only when the space around the intake is disturbed. This not only weeds out the hours of useless video and reduces the need for video storage, but it improves productivity and alertness of security staff.
Unsurprisingly, in a large organization with many facilities, insurance companies often prefer, and in some cases demand, the use of IP security cameras. It is not uncommon for large organizations to expect the same level of security company-wide.
But the benefits come with a cost. One of the biggest concerns many managers have is whether the backbone of their network can handle the large increase in bandwidth required. But many managers realize that operational benefits of an integrated IP system can justify the investment to make sure the backbone can handle the added bandwidth.
Another concern is data storage. Large hard drives are required to store the data from all system components. But as most industries are moving toward digital equipment, they also realize the need for larger hard drives.
As the amount of data grows, managers have begun storing data in offsite locations managed by companies specializing in data storage. This tactic might seem strange to managers who have used analog systems, which require information to be kept onsite.
Some managers initially are wary about the cost of an integrated IP system, but they have become less apprehensive about its cost because of the operational savings it can provide. For new construction, the systems generally are not as cost-prohibitive as they would be for a renovation.
Even by 2008, the majority of systems installed in the field are still analog. But the number of systems using IP security cameras is expected to grow rapidly at a rate of 50 percent, leading some experts to predict that half the installed systems will use IP security cameras within five years.