Future proofing your surveillance solution

July 2012 Security Services & Risk Management

In designing a new system for a client, being prepared for the future sometimes starts with the smallest of details, such as which cable to use: coaxial or network cable?

The answer depends on how far in the future you see yourself and the possibility of growing your newly installed system. The beauty of running network cable rather than traditional coaxial cable for analogue or IP applications is that the installation is much more cost effective and already installed when you start the transition from analogue to an IP system – if that is the route you wish to start on with your current budget.

By installing either Cat5e or Cat6 cable, you can future proof the cabling at your customer’s location. Video baluns can be implemented with analogue cameras for this infrastructure. When your migration to IP begins, you can simply replace the video baluns with a RJ45 connector (if not already on the cable), so that it can connect to the IP camera, network switch etc.

The most common errors system integrators make in proposing or designing a solution for a client, however big or small, is the lack of a long-term plan/upgrade/migration path for the solution. The reason for this lack of foresight is often based on budget/affordability or the specific requirement from the client at that point in time. Clients often decide what they want without the proper knowledge and understanding of available products and technology, as well as a lack of a solution orientation.

Surveillance technology solution distributors and system integrators should continuously keep learning about the available offerings on all technology levels and solution sizes to be able to provide the correct solution for the correct customer needs and budget.

In our local market, the search for the right surveillance solution mostly goes the cost-effective route, no matter if the application is residential or business. The question is therefore whether you are happy spending money in the present in order to save money in the future? Future proofing your surveillance system is actually more prudent for our industry.

MJ Oosthuizen
MJ Oosthuizen

Solutions to consider in future proofing

PC-based DVRs: A PC-based DVR provides you the ability to use both analogue and IP cameras, depending on your choice of product. Ensure the card option you opt for can actually support the addition of IP cameras on the same platform. PC-based systems offer more processing power and therefore, if specified correctly, can deliver a more flexible solution to your client.

So the next time you think about using a standalone DVR, think about if you will want to have features like facial recognition or object detection as part of your surveillance system in the future. If that is the case, future-proof your system with a PC-based DVR and use both analogue and IP cameras to enjoy the best of both worlds and ease your client into the migration route from analogue to IP.

Video Balun technology: Most video baluns provide a solid solution to extending your cable runs by using Cat5e/Cat6 cable. As mentioned earlier, in a new installation environment, going the Cat5/6 route allows you to upgrade your security system in the future by utilising IP cameras (if you have a hybrid PC-based DVR). Keep in mind; Cat5/6 cables contain four pairs, so you can use one for video transmission, while the extra pairs can be used for power (or even PTZ control function for cameras using the RS-422 or RS-485 protocol). Another option is four video feeds on the one cable. Video transmission on Cat5/6 is often an ideal option with applications that require cable runs of 1000 m and more.

Embedded/PC-based NVRs: When looking at your options to implement an NVR solution for a client, the following questions should be asked:

* Can other brands of cameras be connected to the solution, or is it a branded end-to-end solution?

* Are there any licence fees to add more cameras or different branded cameras?

* Does the system require annual licensing to stay in operation? Your client ultimately has the right to change service provider down the line and would want to ensure the system continues running without requiring more budget on an annual basis.

* How easy is it for the client to add more storage seamlessly?

* Offer redundancy option to your client. One of the main benefits of opting for an IP solution is that it is not a single point of failure recording solution. The flexibility regarding redundancy on various IP platform offers the ability that when a recorder fails, another can take over and manage the video streams.

Main consideration is always to leave room for expansion. Majority of users will realise that they missed an area or wish that they could add just one more camera after they familiarise themselves with and use their newly installed surveillance system. Thinking ahead will help with this but having the capability to add another camera or two down the road could really help you achieve your final goal, and ensure your client obtains a flexible solution.


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