Subscriber Discussion

Video Surveillance Infrastructure Life Cycle

Hi Folks,

I’m interested in your thoughts on the life cycle of video surveillance infrastructure. We have a modest installation of less than 50 cameras which began about 25 years ago in the analog world. Seven years ago we tied the analog cameras to our network through encoders and replaced the VHS recording with software from Genetec. Four years ago we began adding IP cameras to the mix. Some of our existing cameras are fifteen years old or more and seem to be doing the job. Is there a “rule of thumb” or some other means that can help determine the refresh rate for surveillance equipment? Is there any data on the failure rates for cameras as they age?



Ed, yes, see our survey results on lifespan of video surveillance systems. Here's an overview:

I would say fixed cameras last forever if you are happy with the picture you are getting.

In terms of failure rates, I think it depends on too many factors to meaningfully give a single metric (e.g., where the cameras are deployed, what type of camera, who the manufacturer was, etc.).

15 year old cameras 'seem to be doing the job'. 1998 vintage CCTV cameras? I'd be curious to see what the image now looks like.


I'm curious about the infrastructure. With the advent of Ethernet over coax, cables could potentially be deployed for many years and different technologies. Are there any "rules of thumb" relative to the cabling, etc...

IMO, the largest contributing factors to surveillance system lifespan are environmental exposure (wind/rain/humidity/extreme temps, etc) and having/not having a regular scheduled maintenance plan in place after installation.

Anyone agree/disgree with those two? What else drives failure in your experience?

I am in need of more than just a converstion here. Is there a Life span/cycle document with a recommended replacement age. If I can't find something like that the money people will make me run them until they die. I would rather budget for a annual refresh of a certain number but need hard facts to back it up.

Juan, the closest you are going to get to 'hard facts' is our survey results of video surveillance lifespan.

Anyone who gives you a single replacement age (like 7 years) is just making it up. There's a range of ages, depending on what technology you bought at the time, the environmental conditions it was in, what your current needs are, etc. that will drive the decision.

How old is your system now?

It varies from less than a year old IP. to more than 10 years old analog. Huge mix. I am looking to justify the move of the old analog to IP in a more than break fix manner.

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: How Do I Justify The Move Of Old Analog To IP In More Than A 'Break/Fix' Manner?