CCTV, closed circuit television…..who can forget all those coax cables and RG59 with all the bulk and cost. Sticking those analog cameras on the end and hoping for the best shot possible on those fixed lenses. And those boxy dvr’s, magically making all those analog cameras be digital while the salesman convincing the customer the whole system is digital.
What do these things have in common: VHS, record, 8-track, cassette? Give up? They’re analog, just like those cameras going in under your nose.
How about these: CD, DVD, MP3, Satellite TV, Cable…they’re digital. So if you were looking to get a surveillance system, would you want to invest in old or new technology?
Now I’m not saying not to use analog cameras. There is an absolute cost advantage by going to cheapest route….just look on the news when trying to identify a robber. Just be educated enough to know that the Chinese manufactured DVR and cameras the local tech is selling might not be the right option.
So, let’s learn some of the differences or advantages in IP, or digital, cameras versus the analogs. What benefits do network cameras provide that the cctv cameras might not?
Digital image quality
Multiple streams (accesses)
Power over Ethernet (get power from network)
Accessible if security system is off
Future-proof for software technology
So what about DVR’s? DVR’s are very popular because they are extremely easy to install and take less technical knowledge than a software-based system. However, they also have some disadvantages over a software solution. Keep in mind the software in a DVR is not likely to ever improve….so make sure to see a real demo and be happy with the interface and features. Once a DVR is sold, the money is made…there is no real benefit to the manufacturer to ever improve the software since the sell has been made.
So make sure to evaluate all of your options when looking for surveillance or even access control. Don’t be tricked into buying something from a single source. Find the right solution and then appoint a person to install it for you. These systems are not cheap; would you just go to the first car lot and buy something…or would you research and find the cars you like and then find a place to get it?
Christopher Ryan is an expert in networking and IP surveillance methodologies. He is currently consulting with ControlByNet (http://www.controlbynet.com), an IP surveillance company, and Viewcentrix Inc.