IP CCTV solutions are now widely used in the security industry. Their higher price has, historically, limited their use, especially in large, integrated security applications. However, a new wave of IP CCTV products is changing the situation. The new IP ranges are priced to compete with traditional analogue CCTV products and are equally simple to install and set-up, requiring minimal, specialist IP training. They not only open up the IP CCTV market to a far broader range of security installers, but also allow IT resellers to enter the network security installation market.
We asked Carl Hayesmore, technical manager at CCTV Center, the Panasonic System Networks Distributor, to explain how an analogue CCTV security installer can become IP CCTV literate. In this article, Carl aims to demystify IP CCTV and convince hesitant integrators that IP is simpler to install than they thought. In further articles he will cover IP products and their selection; the benefits of networked security systems; pricing and cost of ownership; data transmission; image quality; system reliability; data protection and functionality.
IP CCTV is very straight forward to understand, install, and operate, so be reassured and try IP, is my first message! An ability to install IP CCTV and security systems will greatly increase the opportunity to win new work. IP systems have far greater functionality than analogue systems, so it is highly likely that an IP system will meet the needs of your customers more effectively than an analogue system. I will be covering cost implications in a future article, but it is worth mentioning here that IP systems are now very affordable. It is incorrect to assume that IP systems are too expensive for your application. This is out-of-date information and taking this approach could lose you work.
IP CCTV and security systems connect to a site’s existing IT network or a separate security network, and communicate across it. Data is transmitted very quickly and efficiently, enabling remote control and viewing functionalities. Integration with intruder, access, EAS and a range of building or site management systems is also possible and image quality, accessibility and ease of use are improved.
When specifying an IP CCTV system, most of the rules of traditional analogue CCTV system design and installation still apply. The reality is that site security requirements remain the same, regardless of whether analogue or IP technologies are used for their implementation. Cameras and recorders are positioned and set up in a similar way and the functional specification, operation and management are largely identical. Security installers nervous to offer IP solutions can rest assured that they already understand the “difficult bit”. Multi-site applications, remote monitoring and inter-operability between other security disciplines all become easier. Security integrators have a major advantage over their IT reseller counterparts when competing for new business because of their existing security systems expertise.
My second key point is to get trained. Many IP training courses are available to integrators, explaining how IP CCTV products fit and operate within a network. Many of these are free, because manufacturers and distributors seeking to sell more IP products recognise that their customers must be shown how they work. The course I run on Panasonic products, at CCTV Center, is a good example of this. Integrators new to IP applications can learn most of the necessary facts in just a few hours, from pre-configuration and installation, through to remote PC set-up and site commissioning. Professional training companies also offer generic IP CCTV and security courses, which can form part of a continual professional development (CPD) programme, but these will have a cost implication.
When buying IP equipment, look for manufacturers and suppliers with complete solutions, not just individual products. At CCTV Center, we supply Panasonic IP products as well as all the networking products and 3rd party equipment necessary to a deliver an entire system. This should reassure installers that no compatibility issues will arise. Many large companies, such as Panasonic, have their own accreditation systems with extensive criteria attached. These systems ensure that the products are well supported and available from stock.
IP suppliers should offer services that help installers new to IP systems to improve the quality of their installations including; efficient customer services, training, systems and integration options, technical support, system design and commissioning support and pre-configuration services. Expert suppliers are able to offer products designed for every eventuality, including ruggedized cameras, HD systems and more.
IP security is future-proof and the direction all CCTV technology is currently taking. It is not onerous to learn how IP technology works and to take advantage of its many benefits. I would recommend taking every training opportunity available and quite simply try it!