Having designed a couple citywide projects, there are a number of factors to consider on these projects. Some have been addressed already, some have not.
- The cameras are mounted on poles, some of these could be owned by a utility. In some projects I have worked on, there are strict guidelines that the utilities have, such as the physical placement on the poles, power, etc. Additionally, there is usually a steep charge to add hardware or cables to the utility poles and it is a requirement to pay the utility for the installation of anything on their poles. In some cases the cost was a one time charge by the utility for the space, other times it is a lease. On one project, the lease was paid up front for 5 years, this could be included in the cost.
- Power. Tapping into the power at some of the locations could be quite expensive. If they are located on a utility owned pole, this would be a direct charge from the utility company. These costs could be in the 100s-1000s per power drop, depending on location and what is already available on the pole. Just because the pole has power, does NOT mean you can simply install and outlet. Step down transformers, enclosures, etc. are needed. In cases where the pole is owned by the city, does the pole currently have constant power to them, or does a seperate circuit need to be run? A lot of times, light poles are one a timer at a central location. Meaning that the power is turned off during the day. Installing additional power lines or new hardware to control lights, may be something that needs to be considered.
- Backhaul. This can be accomplished through multiple options, such as a wireless PtP, PtM or MtM network, depending on the topology and environment, this could be difficult. Buildings, trees, hills and other wireless signals all could affect the design and implementation. Another option would be to use a local ISP. This can be difficult to map out, considering again, utility owned poles vs. city owned poles. Additionally if the local ISP is a sub for a national ISP, than cost could go up. National ISPs do NOT play well with others. Another option is fiber, as mentioned. This would require fiber being installed, trenching and more space on utility owned poles to be lease. Another option could be a cellular backhaul. I have seen some companies, like AT&T and Verizon, offer unlimited bandwidth to municipalities for projects like this. However, you would still need a cellular modem at each location. When using this option, advance networking experience is a must to account for things such as packet shaping, in order of the the data to go through the switching from the cellular provider. Again, additional cost. One could mix and match each backhaul option, but these could easily cost more than the cameras and servers.
- Each camera location looks to have an enclosure. Not knowing how the system was designed, this could be NEMA rated enclosure with heater and blower, I hope so, those can cost over $1000 per location, depending on size and type of hardware within them. A switch would be required at each location, regardless of if there is local or central storage of video. A proper, industrial rated switch could run from $300 for a small 4 port, to over $2000, depending on manufacture and the level of management desired.
- Surge protection. One would assume, yes it makes and a#$% out of you and me, that some level of surge protection was installed as well. At a minimum lighting protection and some kind of power regulation and protection as well. Best would be some kind of UPS rated for the equipment inside the enclosure.
- Labor. Each of these locations would require a mix of trades. The utility company would provide their own guys for hardware on their poles, the city might as well. As mentioned, this would be union labor (I am NOT voicing any opinion on the unions here, however this does cost more than non-union labor). For non utility owned locations, a local electrician would have to be used. Lift trucks would need to be used, this can increase cost of installation. Labor from the ISP may need to be factored in for connecting and routing through their network.
- Consultant. We would also have to consider if a consultant was used. The $300K may not just be for the cameras and hardware, but could also include an engineering fee. Any project like this does require someone with experience to fully design.
In conclusion. The cost for a project like this is MUCH greater than simply the cost of the cameras. In every project I have worked on, the cameras end up becoming the lowest cost portion of the project. Simply assuming that the project is expensive because of the cameras is a very limited view. One must consider all of the other factors attributing to the project. Whether its Avigilon, Hikvision or an ADI special, I would venture to say, the major cost factors here are not cameras.