I have a consulting engagement that is very important to me. The challenge is to evaluate an existing analog video system spread over 8 separate sites involving about 80 cameras total. Since this is a bid for consulting services only, no integrators will be permitted to bid this work unless they do not want a shot a bidding the actual work (which could be substantial). Having conducted a brief tour of all the sites involved, I don’t think I have ever seen a system in worse condition than this. Every type of camera, old DVRs, twist-on cable connectors, NVRs covered with dust, devices stuck on the wall with double back tape, you name it.
The owner wants my firm to conduct an evaluation of the system and make recommendations that- at least to the extent possible- leverage existing equipment. There is one present site, where the recommendations will be implemented first and those specs will serve as the standard for the remaining sites. At the end of the day, the Owner wants a single VMS with multiple workstations (guard stations, site administrator and central security operations). All of the cameras are fixed with cameras at each entrance, elevator lobbies and day rooms in each facility. All except for two of the cameras are interior.
I am now setting up a test protocol which must include a schedule of cameras, DVRs and other devices. Also on this schedule is an evaluation of "image quality" to make a go-no-go decision to replace the camera. The first stop is the security director to discuss, his objectives, how he has used the images in the past and what problems he has run into with regard to video quality. The result will be a "clear" (yeh right!) definition as to the objectives of each camera which i have organized into three view levels as noted by John's article last Feb. But as pointed out in this article, its easy to understand (the security guy is an ex cop, but is very non-technical) , not so easy to judge in the field (I know because I have used this method for a number of years). That being said, I still have to come up with a protocol for testing. I will probably eventually use my own judgment based on my experience, but I need to put forth (and price) a reasonable test protocol. Given these conditions, how would you conduct this “image quality” test? Also, what would you anticipate the useful life cameras and DVRs to be?