How Will IP Camera Standards Impact Video Surveillance?

By John Honovich, Published Aug 02, 2009, 08:00pm EDT

Over the next 6 months, more than a dozen manufacturers are likely to announce production support for ONVIF or PSIA IP camera specifications. While the practical impact will take longer, this is the first stage of interoperability specifications being used in practice.

This impending shift raises an important question: How will IP Camera Standards Impact Video Surveillance?

As interoperability increases, end users of video surveillance will definitely benefit from decreased lock-in, lower support problems and lower cost product options (though how much and how soon still needs to be seen).

There are also some more controversial changes that may occur:

  • Expansion of low cost IP cameras
  • Lowering of IP video software prices
  • Weakening of manufacturers who sell packages of cameras and recorders
  • Dimishing competitive advantage of IT integrators over security integrators decrease
  • Weakening of Analog products

[Note: These points are not my conclusion or projections. These are potential developments that are offered for discussion.]

Lower Priced IP Cameras

Today, it is difficult for IP camera manufacturers to gain support from many IP video software providers. This provides pricing power for the largest IP camera manufacturers (e.g., Axis, Sony, Panasonic) who are broadly supported. Expansion of IP camera standards would reduce and potentially eliminate this advantage.

Lower Priced IP Video Software

The larger IP video software providers (e.g., Milestone, OnSSI, Genetec) benefit from significantly higher IP camera support than smaller providers. For the smaller software companies, adding in dozens of IP cameras can be cost prohibitive. Camera standards could allow smaller providers to catch up on IP camera support. Moreover, it could allow some software providers to offer very cheap or free support for IP cameras that use the IP camera 'standards'.

Manufacturers Selling Packages Weaken

Many manufacturers sell bundles of their owncameras and video management systems. Package manufacturers emphasize that their package work better than the proprietary integrations of third party IP cameras and software. IP camera standards would diminish that advantage as greater interoperability and higher assurance of compatability would exist for non-pacakged providers.

IT Integrators Lose Advantage over Security Integrators

The complexity of integrating and troubleshooting proprietary IP camera - IP video software interfaces requires higher IT skills. This has made many traditional security integrators reluctant or disadvantaged at deploying IP video systems. IP camera interopability could help reduce the need for IT expertise as systems become more 'plug n play'.

Analog Products Become Less Attractive

As prices decrease for IP products and become simpler to deploy, the resulting impact could reduce the motivation to stay with and use traditional analog systems.

What Do You Think?

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