History of Video Surveillance

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 22, 2016

This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade. 

The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand the important business and technology shifts that impact the market today. It is not intended to cover every point or the origins of video surveillance.

2006

In 2006, the industry was dominated by DVRs and SD analog cameras.

VMS software and IP cameras were still niche. Some megapixel cameras were offered but they were far more expensive than analog ones and only supported MJPEG encoding, making the storage and transmission of these cameras even more expensive.

Analytics was fairly 'hot' in 2006, driven by its potential and VC funding, though with very limited deployments.

The major players were generally Western and Japanese large manufacturers, with Chinese branded sales nearly non-existent in the West (Dahua and Hikvision were mostly unknown) and notable companies today like Axis, Milestone and Genetec still relative 'startups' (while Avigilon only started selling commercially in 2007).

2008 - 2012 MP Cameras Go H.264

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

The single biggest driver for IP was the adoption of H.264 for MP cameras. This drove mainstream IP camera deployment and, by extension, VMS software. With MP H.264, IP was able to deliver clear benefits in resolution with reasonable increases in total costs (compared to the earlier MJPEG only MP era).

2009 - 2013 Cloud Hype / Bursts

Along with the rise of MP / IP cameras came significant interest in connecting those cameras to the cloud. The hope was that it would eliminate on-site recording, on-site maintenance, etc. Bandwidth limitations and poor cloud VMS capabilities doomed this. It never really gained much market share and with EMC dumping Axis, it marked the end of that era / error.

2011 - Today Fall of Video Analytics

Video analytics never went mainstream, marred by performance problems and unhappy customers. 2011, with ObjectVideo suing Bosch, Samsung and Sony confirmed and deepened the problems of video analytics, with OV, one of the most well funded analytics companies effectively ending commercial sales and suing the industry. OV essentially won, with Avigilon paying nearly $80 million for ObjectVideo patents in 2014. The industry lost, though, as analytics remains a niche offering with minimal industry investment.

2012 - 2014 Rise and Fall of Edge Storage

For a few years, many saw edge storage as being a potential next big thing but it has ultimately become a niche. The promise of edge storage was to eliminate NVRs / recorder appliances as the storage and software could be deployed inside the IP camera. Reliability problems hurt early adopters. And the rise of low cost Chinese NVRs (a few hundred dollars is now commonplace) as well as HD analog for even less (see below) has pushed edge storage as more of a niche providing redundancy for higher-end applications.

WDR and Low Light Improvements

Cameras have much become better handling challenging imaging conditions, especially harsh lighting and darkness. A decade ago, WDR cameras were fairly limited and expensive (this was when Pixim was considered leading edge). Low light performance was generally poor. And these problems were even worse for MP cameras where real WDR was essentially non-existent and low light performance was often terrible. The state of the art in our WDR Shootout 2011 is nothing compared to even 'average' true WDR cameras today.

Smart CODECs 2015 - Current

In the past 2 years, one of the biggest changes has been the rise of 'Smart CODECs' that dynamically adapt compression and I frame interval to scene conditions. This is delivering 50% bandwidth reductions regularly vs H.264. It is also delaying / offsetting the need to move to H.265. As Smart CODECs are more broadly supported, this will drive down storage costs and remote networking challenges.

Rise of HD Analog 2014 - Current

SD analog is finally dead and it was killed off by HD analog. For more than a decade, IP was the only practical way to deliver MP / HD. But just in the past few years, HD analog, which transmits over coaxial cable just like NTSC / PAL, has exploded. It has nearly wiped our SD analog, dominating home / SMB kit sales and is expanding in the low to mid market. Now, the question / debate is how far it will move upmarket, with some arguing that HD analog is only a temporary solution and others contending HD analog will expand features and options for high end buyers.

Rise Cybersecurity 2015 - Current

Only recently has cybersecurity become a major topic in video surveillance, though it still remains a secondary concern for most. This has been partially driven by mainstream events (the Sony hacking, various US government hacks, etc.) and also by Hikvision hacks and, most recently, Axis' major exploit. However, except for the high-end of the market, most video surveillance users perceive the real risk as low as shown in our Cyber Security For Video Surveillance Study.

2013 - Today Rise of The Chinese

Even in 2012, Chinese manufacturers had negligible market share in branded Western sales. For example, see our 2010 Hikvision IP camera test to see how bad they were back then. Indeed, Hikvision saw Western direct branded sales as a 'dream' in 2009.

While the Chinese had, for many years, been OEM suppliers to Western brands, it has only been the last 3 - 4 years where Chinese branded sales have exploded in the West. 

Before the Chinese expanded in the Western market, $300 was considered low cost for IP cameras, now $100 (or less) MP cameras are commonplace. In particular, Hikvision has also been very aggressive about offering across the board price cuts monthly, something previously very rare in the industry. These moves combined have resulted in a significant ongoing shift to Chinese brands.

Race To The Bottom

Today, the biggest factor is the 'race to the bottom', as manufacturers keep cutting prices, some to gain share (Hikvision) and others simply to stay alive.

How this ends will determine the next era of history in the video surveillance market.

 

1 report cite this report:

Yes, Milestone, The Glory Days Are Over on Dec 20, 2016
Milestone challenges: Are the glory days over? Or are we in a position as a Community to defy these ominous predictions and define the future...

Comments (21)

Only IPVM PRO Members may comment. Login or Join.

I still say we should go back to VCRs. Impervious to hacking!

Not to mention true plug 'n play!

Well done JH...simple and concise history lesson.

Ive started offering to bring in a crew of full time court artists to draw what they see in real-time. The RMR is INCREDIBLE!

Someone asked me for a VCR recorder the other day...

"Someone asked me for a VCR recorder the other day..."

Get him one, it may be important...

Nice article! Congrats!

I remember the good 'ol days of using switchers, quad splitters and multiplexers when used with VCRs. This was 1995 to 2002 when PC based DVRs came onto the scene being led by the Koreans - IDIS, Kodicom etc.

Who remembers 'Hyperscan' by Robot (then became sensormatic)? Video transmission over POTS lines.... 1 frame per 10 seconds. Then 8x8 came around and offered a better POTS based video xmission system.

Sanyo by far offered the best VCRs (they actually built VCRs for Sony). I recall selling them by the skid for casino projects along with T160 VHS tapes.

Good times...lol

Remember when BNCs came in three pieces, and had to be soldered on?

BNC's ha ha. anybody remember PL-259's and triax cable. Motorola Mocam, Silicon Intensified Target, RCA before Burle and Vicon before Pelco buried them in the dust... adjusting target and beam, manually back focusing lenses. Oops, showing my age.

My dad used to tell me scary stories of burnt-in video tubes when I was a little kid.

And there used to be TV repairmen that made house calls.

They had one or two large boxes containing various replacement tubes. The troubleshooting consisted of swapping-in new tubes until the problem went away, and then swapping back out everything but the last tube replaced.

My next-door neighbor was kind enough to let this pestering 10 year old tag along occasionally, and I was convinced I would soon follow in his trade.

Til we got a Trinitron.

That's when the first rule of electronic repair was "give it a good whack!" which would fix an intermittent connection. Today, it's reboot, then default, then firmware upgrade, then replace, in that order!

We still issue a BFH as part of our company provided tool set. a good whack is still part of a solid troubleshooting strategy.

Those were the days.

"Percussive maintenance. That'll be $45, please."

Happer Tap... $1. Knowing Where to tap Hammer... $9999.00

RPM - Recurring Percussive Maintenence

One of my Chinese partners calls our Industry the "Setting Sun" industry, because it's certainly not a rising sun industry...

After the Sun sets in the West, it rises in the East...

Anyone remember plugging a quad or switcher into the 16th port on the DVR because the customer couldn't afford a second DVR but they needed 18, 19 or 20 cams?

Get off my lawn you damn kids!

I hate admitting this, but Im also glad I wasnt the only one. In my case it was because they didnt want to pay for more than one wireless transmitter.

Oh, I did that all the time. This worked best if the DVR had a programmable spot monitor or even just a video output. Dedicate a monitor to the quad channel and you're good to go.

Related Reports

Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile on May 23, 2017
It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO. Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James...
IP Camera - 15 Year Shootout on May 22, 2017
How far have IP cameras come? We bought and tested 4 cameras across the past 15 years to understand how much and where performance has...
Forget The Backdoor, "ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS" On Sale on May 18, 2017
Less than 2 weeks after the Hikvision Backdoor was confirmed, Hikvision has launched a sale "ON ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS". In this note, we examine...
ShotSpotter To IPO, Facing Low Revenue and Losses on May 17, 2017
A rare event for North American security manufacturers is upcoming. ShotSpotter is planning to IPO on the NASDAQ, aiming to raise $34.5...
FLIR Is Giving Away $3,000 Demo Kits on May 17, 2017
Everybody likes free stuff, and FLIR is using that concept to attract dealers by giving them $3,000 worth of demo gear for attending a...
ADI's 'Elves' Selling Direct on Amazon on May 15, 2017
Buy from Amazon, get delivery from ADI. What? Recently, we bought a part from Amazon and the shipment came from ADI. We dug into the...
Selling and Valuing Security Integrators on May 12, 2017
This ia a tutorial in how to (1) determine your security integrator's value and (2) to sell your security integrator. If you own an integrator,...
Blink XT Outdoor Totally Wireless Camera Tested on May 11, 2017
Running wires for cameras outdoors is one of the biggest challenges, especially for consumer or DIY installs. Now, Blink has released an outdoor...
48MP 180 Camera (Digital Watchdog) Test on May 10, 2017
Camera resolution continues to advance, with Digital Watchdog offering the MegaPIX PANO 48MP 180° camera, the highest resolution mainstream camera...
Hanwha 9MP Fisheye Camera Tested (PNF-9010R) on May 09, 2017
12MP sensor fisheye panoramic cameras are becoming increasingly common. We have tested Hikvision's DS-2CD63C2F as well as Panasonic's SFV481 4K...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile on May 23, 2017
It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO. Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James...
Aura's 'Invisible Ripple' Next Gen Intrusion Detection Tested on May 22, 2017
Aura Home is a startup intrusion detection system, but it claims new, high-tech sensing that monitors the 'invisible ripples' movement creates,...
Pelco Shutting Down Clovis Line, Laying Off 200 on May 22, 2017
Pelco's Clovis facility once turned out some of the industry's most popular products. Now, the facility is mostly building "obsolete" equipment,...
IP Camera - 15 Year Shootout on May 22, 2017
How far have IP cameras come? We bought and tested 4 cameras across the past 15 years to understand how much and where performance has...
Remote Video Monitoring Providers Directory on May 19, 2017
Remote video monitoring can help integrators generate RMR plus end users lower their security costs and/or improve response to critical...
Axis Criticizes OEMs: "When You Buy An Axis Camera, An Axis Camera Is What You Get!" on May 19, 2017
When you buy a Honeywell camera, you likely get a Hikvision, Dahua or some other company's product. The same goes for easily 100 different...
Hackable 125kHz Access Control Migration Guide on May 19, 2017
Despite being one of the most popular credentials, 125 kHz credentials are easily copied and insecure as we showed in our test results, video...
Forget The Backdoor, "ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS" On Sale on May 18, 2017
Less than 2 weeks after the Hikvision Backdoor was confirmed, Hikvision has launched a sale "ON ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS". In this note, we examine...
Amazon Techs Installing IP Cameras Tested on May 18, 2017
In 2015, Amazon started offering video surveillance installation. Now, Amazon has made it a lot easier, with automatic add-on options and...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact