Migrating to an IP Video Surveillance Solution

The migration from analogue video surveillance to IP systems has been gathering steam for some time now, driven by decreasing costs and rapid advances in new security technologies such as video analytics.

The use of video analytics in surveillance systems improves operational efficiency as it eases the workload of security officers. Analytics add value and make the IP camera system more intelligent. Increasingly, government agencies are adopting safer city technologies such as facial recognition as they allow the authorities to have more ‘eyes’ on the city than before. – William Tan, NEC Corporation’s Director of Global Face Recognition & Surveillance (Global Safety Division)

Migration to an IP system is only a matter of time for most organisations.

But what should businesses take note of when migrating their system, and how should they go about it?

IP systems come armed with expanded functions, from analytics to remote access, while handing organisations the flexibility to easily expand and reconfigure their network. On top of all these benefits, IP solutions also offer the lowest Total Cost of Ownership. – Benjamin Low, Vice President (Asia Pacific) at Milestone Systems

IP systems also make storage more flexible and less costly.

Analogue systems may require storage to be onsite, but if an installation has many sites, or sites that are geographically disparate, this may be difficult. IP systems allow storage to be placed in whatever site makes the most sense, making the systems easier to maintain and upgrade. – HC Chang, general manager APAC (excluding China) at Promise Technology

While these benefits make migrating an easy decision, organisations should carefully plan out the ‘how’ of their migration from analogue to IP. The cost of downtime issues can be minimised if time is invested to understand their security needs and thoroughly plan the execution of the migration. The reward from meticulous planning is that companies can reap the benefits of IP surveillance faster.

Analyse Thoroughly, Design Thoughtfully

The process should start with a full analysis of their security requirements. This involves looking at the varying levels of security needed in different areas and sites, as well as the finer details of surveillance needs.

Once these requirements are uncovered, the next step is to design a detailed blueprint for the new IP system. With that in hand, it is time to develop a plan for deployment. Organisations looking to migrate to an IP network have two options: upgrade the whole network in one go or upgrade in stages.

Upgrading the whole system in one go involves removing all the old equipment and installing the new IP system. In a way, this is the simpler option, as it means all the new IP features will be ready to go once installation is complete.

However, installing all that equipment can be costly, especially for medium to large organisations that need to replace a great number of infrastructure and assets. Another disadvantage of this option is the inevitable downtime between the old system going offline and the new system starting up.

The cost pressure can be forbidding and downtime is unacceptable for most organisations.

For these reasons, the more popular option is to upgrade in phases.

This is possible with IP surveillance systems because all cameras and sensors feed into a central video management systems (VMS). The optimal VMS would be open architecture, meaning it is able to manage feeds from many different types of visual and non-visual sensor devices, both legacy and new, from many different manufacturers at the same time. This allows a surveillance network to evolve as the organisation’s surveillance requirements change.

This open flexibility is especially useful in large installations that comprise many different buildings and have varying levels of surveillance requirements throughout the installation. Some areas, for instance, may need higher security, requiring new high-resolution digital cameras and video analytics such as facial recognition.

Migrating to an IP system does not require the replacement of existing cable infrastructure.

Pulling out and replacing existing infrastructure, such as coaxial cables and analogue cameras, can be a very expensive process. The benefit of migrating to an IP solution is that converter devices can be used to encode the analogue signal to a digital one, so it can be fed into the VMS. This allows sections and assets to be upgraded in a way that suits the budget and requirements of each organisation. It also greatly reduces any installation downtime. – Winston Goh, head of marketing, South APAC, Axis Communications

Once the deployment plan is ready, installation can begin. The undertaking kicks off with installing the VMS, which will be the heart of the network. You can then install new cameras and prepare old cameras to feed into the new VMS, as well as install monitoring equipment such as PC monitors at your own pace.

This article is adapted from the full piece that ran in Security Solutions Today (SST) Nov/Dec issue 2018: