IP camera management solution for additional safety

August 2010 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

Traditionally CCTV systems have been analogue-based and have required a specific control room in which camera feeds can be viewed. A CCTV user would then sit in the control room and attempt to view the relevant camera feeds. This can become a tedious task if there is only one operator attempting to view over 64 camera feeds and determine their relevance in the production scheme.

Industrial video and control is one solution to this problem. As opposed to having an operator find the camera of relevance during a specific part of the process, rather have the camera of relevance pop up and bring attention to the operator during that specific part of the process.

Traditional cameras are analogue-based in the industrial world and this is very limiting for the following reasons:

* Price of coax cable.

* Single point of viewing from DVR.

* High interference on the coax cables.

* No integration into the Scada/HMI.

* Expansion can become expensive and difficult provided parts are still available.

IP camera management solution

When deciding to migrate towards an IP-based camera solution many questions have to be asked and answered before making your decision.

* What do I want to view?

- Do I require a static or PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) camera?

- Do I require day/night vision?

* What are the environmental conditions?

- What type of IP rating is required? eg, IP65, IP67, intrinsically safe: These are examples of dust/water and hazardous rating requirements.

* What type of infrastructure currently exists?

- An IP camera solution requires an Ethernet network infrastructure.

- This topic is a broad topic as the following aspects should be looked into.

* What is current available bandwidth on existing network?

* What is total camera count?

* What percentage of the bandwidth should be catered for expansion on network load?

* Are there any difficult-to-reach-places where wireless should be looked into?

* What frame rate is required per camera?

- Example of frame rate for the industrial world is important to understand since this impacts your bandwidth requirements as well as storage capacity requirements.

* How much recording is required for the total solution?

- Is tamper-proof detection required?

- Is motion detection required?

- How many different viewing control rooms are required?

- Is Modbus TCP integration required?

- Are digital inputs/ digital outputs support required?

- How the integration into your automation process must take place?

Industrial application

Many customers have already integrated their IP camera systems into their scada systems as you can see from the image, once that section of the process is about to start, the operator, through the Scada, will be able to visually confirm safety requirements are met before starting or stopping the process. (The lower left image is a live popup of a camera viewing a stacker over 1 km away and displaying the live information anywhere on the network.)

Certain customers have already integrated the output of their PLC into the digital input of the IP camera, this way as soon as the PLC starts a given process it will automatically send a command to the camera, which in turn will alert the camera management system to implement the preconfigured tasks in the control room. Some tasks involve only record while the event is in progress or record for a predefined time.

Many clients requests IV&C as their backbone camera management solution for simply offering an easy solution to expand their current CCTV system, either by installing new cameras or being able to view cameras from any office accessing the IV&C system.

Thanks to IV&C’s bandwidth management, we are able to stream cameras over low bandwidth communication mediums. This enables us to put cameras in areas where only GSM (cellular network) connections can be achieved as fibre and wireless is not feasible. It will even stream over satellite communications even though satellite has been known to be slow and has data latency. If the correct bandwidth was not catered or handled correctly, various problems would occur where either the image freezes, hangs or times out but worst is when it disrupts your mission-critical commutations.


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