Surveillance Challenges Surge

Author: 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.

Becoming a Technology Profession
If surveillance integrators are going to deliver the best systems possible out of the increasingly complex options available, they need to demand and pursue deep technical excellence. Some surely do but not enough. Looking ahead at the next few years, this will be a defining challenge for the industry.

Related Reports on Storage

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...
On-Board Storage Usage Statistics 2017 on May 03, 2017
SD card slots are now commonplace on IP cameras, but is on-board storage usage now common place? In 2014, integrators reported using edge...
Instant Cloud For Hikvision - Manything on Apr 28, 2017
One ISC West exhibitor had a very specific and clear pitch - cloud for Hikvision: In this note, we examine their offering, key differentiators,...
Avigilon Discontinuing Rialto Analytics Line on Apr 27, 2017
Avigilon is informing dealers/partners that the legacy VideoIQ Rialto products have been discontinued, recommending the newer ACC ES Analytics...
Dell EMC Surveillance Division Profile on Apr 20, 2017
With revenue growth from traditional IT customers slowing, Dell has set a focus on the security industry as a market where the company can offer...
VMS Vs NVR Usage Statistics on Apr 07, 2017
What is used more often? VMS software or NVR appliances? 160 integrators told us what they most commonly use and why. [premium_content] Key...
OpenEye Takes Aim At Exacq on Mar 23, 2017
First Milestone targeted Exacq with a takeover offer, and now OpenEye is gunning for them with an offer to swap out Exacq for their cloud-managed...
Environmental Sensors For Burglar Alarm Tutorials on Mar 15, 2017
Intrusion detection systems can be used to alert users to environmental issues. By connecting sensors that monitor the heat, humidity, and...
Positive Video Surveillance Outlook - 2017 Statistics on Mar 07, 2017
376 manufacturers and integrators revealed their outlook on the future of the video surveillance industry in a recent IPVM survey. Both groups are...
Hikvision Ezviz Mini 360 Plus - $80 Autotracking Camera Tested on Feb 21, 2017
Autotracking, integrated IR, local storage, full HD, cloud access: $80. That is the claim of Hikvision EZVIZ's new Mini 360 Plus. But for this...

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