First in a series

Video surveillance systems offer a number of benefits for business. In addition to helping prevent robberies, they serve other purposes as well.

  • Control employee theft
  • Monitor workflows
  • Improve safety
  • Help to avoid frivolous lawsuits
  • Reduce insurance costs

Choosing the right system

When it comes to video security systems you have two main choices – analog or IP.

Analog systems – sometimes referred to as CCTV – have been around for years. In this type of system, cameras capture an analog video signal and transfer it via coax cable to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR).

The DVR converts the analog signal to digital, compresses it, and then stores it for later retrieval. Analog cameras connect directly to the DVR and usually require two cables, one for power and one for video.

IP stands for Internet Protocol. In this type of system, digital video cameras send and receive data via a computer network. Rather than send feeds to a DVR, IP cameras encode the video signal and it to a Network Video Recorder (NVR) through internet protocol (IP). IP cameras require a connection to the same network as the NVR, but do not have to be directly connected to it.

Either type of system can do the job, but IP systems have several advantages and are increasingly popular:

1. Image quality. IP cameras provide higher resolution than analog (currently up to 5 megapixel). This means that you can zoom into a recording without losing clarity. IP cameras can also capture a clearer image when objects are moving.

IP cameras an also capture a much wider field of view than the typical analog cameras. As a result, a single IP camera can potentially take the place of three or four analog units,

2. Simplified cabling infrastructure. Because IP cameras use the same network connections as computers, they can easily be attached to the existing Ethernet network – reducing the need for costly and complicated rewiring. IP cameras allow video and audio surveillance data to be sent over a network using cat5 cable with an assigned IP address to each camera.

3. Power source. IP cameras can be powered over the same network cable through POE (Power Over Ethernet) by simply connecting them to a POE-capable network switch -eliminating the need for separate source of power. This is not the case in analog cameras, where each camera requires a separate power source.

Next week, in part two, we’ll examine the management of surveillance systems.