Cameras, software and recorders are all becoming more powerful and complex. Higher resolution, multiple streams, multiple analytics and more powerful CODECs greatly enhance the potential of video surveillance. At the same time, using multiple features together can routinely overload a video surveillance system, creating significant problems that are hard to resolve.
Traditional Video Surveillance - Simple but Limited
In the old days, you had analog cameras and DVRs - both of which were very limited in what they could do. Because they were so limited, it was hard to misconfigure or overload the system. A recorder only had so many inputs and an analog camera could only send a single fixed stream.
The Claims of Today's Video Surveillance
Today's video management systems and cameras can use H.264, can handle multiple megapixel streams and run on-board analytics on video. It is becoming very common for companies to market all of these advantages.
The Problem for Users
The problem is that it is almost impossible to run all, or even many, of these functionalities at the same time. Making the problem worse, this is generally only disclosed in the fine print or footnotes of the marketing material.
Users and integrators need to be careful about designing systems with these products. 'Optimistic' designs based primarily on vendor marketing can deliver systems that significantly under-deliver or break down in real world use.
While new features and functionalities can be video surveillance more effective and less expensive, we need to appreciate the risks and understand how to plan and diagnose problems.