Retailers on Migrating from Analog to IP

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jun 27, 2012

Migrating existing systems from analog to IP is important to many retailers. At the recent NRF-LP show, a well attended breakout session titled "Transitioning from Analog to IP CCTV" gathered ~200 attendees for an all-retailer panel. In this note, we examine the main points and insights from that session.

Main Speaking Points

The tone of the session was decidedly 'pro-IP', and was not an 'analog vs. IP' debate. In fact, it clearly stated that the advantages of IP video were obvious, citing megapixel resolution, business continuity (off-site server imaging), and ease of integration with other networked systems as compelling reasons to begin migration. The thrust of the session was to 'address the unknown' and to educate those LP professionals in attendance unfamiliar with IP video. The session was moderated and the panel consisted of retail IT and LP members who have field experience switching over. Here's a list of their main discussion points:

  • IP requires all new network cabling, representing unexpected cost
  • Using IP cameras introduces security vulnerabilities (DoS risk was specifically mentioned)
  • IP networks have a 300' cabling limitation, and this could precipitate redesign/relocation of existing IDFs.
  • Network bandwidth capacity will be consumed by video, affecting other networked systems.
  • IP Video represents a huge HDD storage requirement
  • Some integrators oversell the performance of equipment: camera resolution, low light abilities, and VMS usability were implicitly suggested
  • Retailers on the panel recommending seeking out integrators specializing in IP video, and avoid trying to hang with an analog-centric CCTV provider as they make the transition themselves.

Interestingly, widespread use of video encoders were not prominently mentioned as a vital part of the migration plan.

Analysis

IP requires all new network cabling: Our surveys have validated this statement as being the experience of many end-users. A substantial number of video systems prefer to install a physically separate LAN for video. Even today, IP video surveillance is sold under the premise that existing LAN infrastructure can be leveraged for IP video, helping to defray the cost of the transition. However, this statement is not always true. A number of 'Ethernet Over Coax' adapters have entered the market, taking advantage of existing CCTV cabling in place.

Using IP cameras introduces security vulnerabilities: This is an uncommon objection even from staunch critics of IP. The concern was that expanding network access points (eg: an IP camera network connection) can increase risk. One panelist specifically cited "DoS attacks" on cameras as a method of "taking down" the camera and leaving surveillance system vulnerable to exploits. While being concerned with the vulnerabilities of IP cameras are not without merit (see our "Big Security Hole" in Trendnet Cameras update for one example) we think this concern was represented as being a bigger risk that reality dictates. In general, adding video surveillance cameras to existing networks does nothing to lessen existing network security measures. 'Camera hacking' does not yield significant return for the effort, and changing the default password seems to be a much more important first step to take.

IP networks have a 300' cabling limitation, and this could precipitate redesign/relocation of existing IDFs: This is only a practical issue for larger stores or distribution centers. The 100 meter length limitation is often circumvented through use of Cable extenders and other powered video baluns.

Network bandwidth capacity will be consumed by video, affecting other networked systems: This concern was especially prominent in the days before widespread adoption of H.264 compression. QoS, or 'Quality of Service' is a common administration method used to prioritize critical network traffic from being squeezed by bandwidth capacity, and a growing trend is the use of 'edge storage' to alleviate concerns of lost recordings during peak network usage periods.

The biggest bandwidth issue we see is upstream/off-site bandwidth. Retailers generally have low speed connections to their stores (e.g., DSL, cable modem, T1 etc.) and those need to be shared with critical transaction information. When selecting VMSes (or any recorders), special attention should be given to setting up bandwidth throttles and to checking system usability for remote viewing. Products can vary widely in their effectiveness on this metric.

IP Video represents a huge HDD storage requirement: This is likely part myth and part valid concern. On the one hand, moving to higher resolution, all things equal, will increase storage needs by 3 to 4 times. However, compared to previous generation recorders that typically limited storage to 500GB or 1TB of non redundant storage, now it is easy to find to offerings with 8TBs or more with RAID. These two factors probably cancel each other out as long as a new recorder is being deployed (which typically is).

Some integrators oversell the performance of equipment: This is useful to be aware of as many myths are perpetrated - like megapixel replacing PTZs, low light performance claims, image quality claims, etc. (see our Top 10 myths exposed report for more). Despite the bogus or misinformed claims, IP has benefits. While there may be some truth in these myths, overselling remains a risk.

IP Specialists rather than Traditional Integrators: There is an important meta point here that we agree with: just because you have an integrator or installer you know or have been friends with for years, does not mean they can make the 'migration' themselves. As our manufacturer survey results on 'Integrators Don't Know What They Are Doing' shows, quite a number of traditional integrators have serious problems in going to IP. Prudent retailers should carefully review the current credentials and expertise of integrators on modern surveillance technology.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
UK VSaaS Startup Ocucon on Jul 03, 2018
Decreasing exposure to fraudulent slip-and-fall insurance claims and lawsuits is one of the oldest selling points of video surveillance for retail....
GDPR For Access Control Guide on Jul 03, 2018
Electronic access control is common in businesses plus organizations are increasingly considering biometrics for access control. With GDPR coming...
OpenEye Apex VMS Tested on Jun 26, 2018
OpenEye is a US company, founded nearly 20 years ago. In the past few years, OpenEye has been one of a few VMS providers that have pivoted to being...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...
The Dumb Ones: PSA's Bozeman On Cybersecurity on Jun 15, 2018
The smart ones are the hundred people who flew to Denver and spent $500+ on a 1.5-day conference featuring Dahua as a 'cyber responsible partner',...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Ladder Lockdown and Ladder Levelizer Tested on Jul 18, 2018
Ladders are a daily necessity for surveillance and security installers, but working on an unstable surface can be extremely dangerous. In addition...
FST Fails on Jul 17, 2018
FST was one of the hottest startups of the decade, selected as the best new product at ISC West 2011 and backed with tens of millions in...
Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...

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