Surveillance Challenges Surge

By: John Honovich, Published on Dec 31, 2012

Designing and deploying surveillance systems has become far harder over the past decade - A great challenge for an industry with such an anti-intellectual history. This goes far beyond simply 'learning IT' as the variety of viable alternatives have exploded. To prosper in this changing environment, surveillance must become a real technology profession.

New Challenges
Designing a top flight system in 2003 or even 2008 was far simpler than it is today. Putting together a modern surveillance system demands many difficult decisions that were not a factor nor often even possible a few years ago:

Resolution
In the old days, choice was limited and simple (.e., CIF, 2CIF, 4CIF). Now, you have that plus SVGA, 720p, 1080p, 3MP, 5MP, 10MP, 14MP, 20MP, 29MP and more. More is often better but not always as tradeoffs in low light performance, WDR, frame rate, feature sets, costs and more exist.

Recording
Years ago, you bought a DVR and everything came in a box. Now you need to not only decide software only vs appliances, you must consider centralized vs decentralized recording. The tradeoffs on price, maintainability, extensibility, etc are significant.

Storage
Historically, storage came with the DVR and you just ordered how much you wanted in the box (e.g. 160GB, 320GB, 480GB, etc.). Now you pick from DAS, NAS, SAN and increasingly edge storage. There are big tradeoffs among all of these - performance, flexibility, maintenance, cost, etc.

Camera Types
In the old days, the big decision was 'PTZ vs Fixed'. Now that's just one of a numerous choices that need to be made:

  • Panoramics vs PTZs: some big benefits but also some big risks
  • Integrated IR vs Added IR vs thermal vs 'regular' low light cameras
  • Minidomes, Bullets, Cubes vs the traditional box and dome styles

So many more camera types exist now at attractive prices that force more complex decisions.

Deploying Systems
Getting the most of systems - whether it is reducing storage costs, or optimizing image quality, or ensuring scalability - is far harder now. It is no surprise that the number of horror stories and broken systems has risen.

IT Expertise
Last, but not least, everyone knows now that IT skills are not only here to stay but a critical component of today's video surveillance systems. Yet just knowing IT is not enough. Mastery of these domain specific decisions is crucial.

Historical Roots
The industry still struggles with its roots as a technologically simplistic low voltage / light construction trade with so many of its senior leaders from that era. This drives consistent underestimation of these issues and resistance to change.

Challenges to Intensify
However, the need for strong technological skill will only intensify.

  • The continuing decline of product margins means the end of the good ol' days when stupid mistakes could be covered up with fat markups.
  • The technology will only get more complex as cameras continue to get smarter, higher resolution and with more features, forcing even more complex decisions.
  • And end user, especially large ones, may be just or more confused as integrators, but it will be far easier for them to find alternative solutions and to seek second opinions of the proposals they are considering.

Related Reports

Video Surveillance History on May 06, 2020
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to an emerging AI cloud era. The goal of this history is...
Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in designing video surveillance systems. Though 'convergence' was a big...
AI Video Surveillance (Finally) Goes Mainstream In 2020 on Sep 03, 2019
While video surveillance analytics has been promoted, hyped and lamented for nearly 20 years, next year, 2020, will be the year that it finally...
Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...
IP Camera Installation Tool Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Ideal, Hanwha, Triplett, Veracity on Oct 23, 2018
Setting up IP cameras has historically been challenging, with techs often precariously using a laptop on a ladder or lift. Some options for install...
Video Analytics Integration Guide on Aug 16, 2018
Video analytics is hot again (at least conceptually) but integrating video analytics with VMSes can be challenging. This is especially significant...
VMS Server Sizing on May 25, 2018
Specifying the right sized PC/server for VMS software is one of the most important yet difficult decisions in IP video surveillance. In the past...
Healthy Skepticism for Deep Learning Is Prudent on Jul 26, 2017
The hype for deep learning in video surveillance is accelerating. Between the race to the bottom and dearth of a 'next big thing', certainly pent...
Deep Learning Surveillance Startups Deep Problem on Jun 23, 2017
The undeniably good news for the video surveillance market is that we are seeing the rise of more startups than in many years. The cause of this...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM is 'not a good look' and that 'IPVM should never be your source of...
Vintra Presents FulcrumAI Face Recognition on Jul 02, 2020
Vintra presented its FulcrumAI face recognition and mask detection offering at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A...
Uniview Wrist Temperature Reader Tested on Jul 02, 2020
Uniview is promoting measuring wrist temperatures whereas most others are just offering forehead or inner canthus measurements. But how well does...
Dahua USA Admits Thermal Solutions "Qualify As Medical Devices" on Jul 02, 2020
Dahua USA has issued a press release admitting a controversial point in the industry but an obvious one to the US FDA, that the thermal temperature...
Access Control Online Show - July 2020 - With 40+ Manufacturers - Register Now on Jul 01, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce our July 2020 Access Control Show. With 40+ companies presenting across 4 days, this is a unique opportunity to hear...
Hanwha Face Mask Detection Tested on Jul 01, 2020
Face mask detection or, more specifically lack-of-face-mask detection, is an expanding offering in the midst of coronavirus. Hanwha in partnership...
UK Government Says Fever Cameras "Unsuitable" on Jul 01, 2020
The UK government's medical device regulator, MHRA, told IPVM that fever-seeking thermal cameras are "unsuitable for this purpose" and recommends...
Camera Course Summer 2020 on Jun 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training...
Worst Over But Integrators Still Dealing With Coronavirus Problems (June Statistics) on Jun 30, 2020
While numbers of integrators very impacted by Coronavirus continue to drop, most are still moderately dealing with the pandemic's problems, June...