DVR/NVR round-up 2011

September 2011 Surveillance

Hi-Tech Security Solutions’ 2011 digital recorder buyers’ guide.

In this day of tablet and mobile computers that have more computing power than most users will ever need, it seems unthinkable that the VCR would still be used to record surveillance video. Sadly, there are some holdouts that still use tapes. It would be interesting to see how much use this footage has in preventing or prosecuting crime.

For those businesses in the 21st century focused on using surveillance to protect and enhance their business operations, the recording of video footage is a digital affair focused around either the digital video recorder (DVR) or the network video recorder (NVR).

The benefits of DVRs and NVRs are many, including the ability to search for scenes by time, date, event or on a specific camera, among others. When you add the intelligent capabilities that more companies are coming out with, what you can do with your digital footage is expanding dramatically. Simply by looking at Google’s image search or Google Goggles, we can see where image search is going in the long run.

Of course, there is always a difference between the promises and bleeding-edge functionality of vendors and what a business really needs. Most businesses are still struggling with covering the right areas, getting good images and being able to follow through by using these images to gain convictions in court. And that is forgetting the ideal of proactively preventing crime.

The question of which of these best meets your needs is beyond the scope of this article, but given the current convergence trend, many customers are opting for hybrid recorders that allow them to mix analogue and network footage on the same recorder.

When you consider large-scale surveillance projects, the recording solution needs to also include sufficient, high-performance storage systems that allow for gigabytes of video footage from multiple cameras that is easily accessible when required. Traditional IT storage systems such as network-attached storage (NAS) would seem ideal for this, although there are vendors incorporating these types of solutions into DVR/NVR products specifically for the surveillance market. Their promise is easy to use plug-and-play recording, which may or may not deliver as expected.

Perhaps next year we will have to include more storage information in our round-up.

But there again...

At Retail Risk 2011, however, one of the exhibitors showed a product that, according to Wynand Beneke, sales manager for Security Viewer, does away with the need for long-term recording solutions in many instances.

Beneke says the Videofied solution has no DVR. The system only records video when it detects movement or some form of break in. In this instance, the video footage is sent to Security Viewer’s control room instantly and no footage is stored on site. “There is no DVR for any perpetrator to steal,” he says.

Although the video is not sufficient for facial recognition, Beneke says it is not necessary as the video verifies that there is a problem at the site and allows armed response companies or the SAPS to catch the criminals while still on the property.

‘Videofied is also fully wireless and can be installed in under an hour,” he continues. “No cables also mean no lightning damage and the product can operate for four years on battery life alone.”

In the meanwhile

There is definitely a market for products such as Videofied, but larger organisations, will still need their recorded footage to deal with issues such as armed robberies and protecting remote locations. Time will tell how this solution fares against the more traditional recording solutions and in which situations it prevails.

While we wait to see if and how new technology changes the DVR/NVR market, which is still a necessity in most installations, Hi-Tech Security Solutions brings you a round-up of the latest DVRs and NVRs on the market.


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