Speaking Encode

Modules used to help integrate legacy systems iwth IP devices see sharp rise in popularity

Today's world is faced with every-evolving technologies -- a world of ones and zeroes. Digital communication and storage networks have greatly facilitated access to information in every technology sector, and video security is no exception. The growth of high-speed IP networking has enabled the creation of highly-flexible video security systems with compact, digital cameras that can pan, tilt and zoom in on surrounding environments. With multiple digitally-networked IP cameras, a video security system can provide comprehensive observation of any sensitive area requiring video monitoring. Being able to view, save and transfer video digitally via Ethernet network feeding monitors and a server is far more easy and efficient than recording video to analog tapes.

With multiple digitally-networked IP cameras, a video security system can provide comprehensive observation of any sensitive area requiring video monitoring.

Whether for reasons of cost, convenience or size, however, analog security cameras need not become obsolete when integrating IP networks with existing video security systems. When making the transition from an analog system to a digital one, no one wants to simply discard existing cameras in working order. As companies continue to make the transition to IP, equipment that can help get extra mileage from analog cameras has become more vital.

Right Tools for the Job
There are various ways to integrate legacy cameras into an IP video security network. One such method of integration is via an external module that acts as an encoder and allows the connection of analog cameras into the digital network. Canon's VB-EX50 multi-terminal module contains inputs and outputs for audio and video that allow an analog signal to be encoded and sent over the network.

The video input enables users to connect a single analog camera, or any video input device that needs to be transmitted over the Web, to a networked camera and use the networked camera itself to encode external source video. From a remote location where a user is watching the video source, he or she can select which video source location they want to see.

The multi-terminal module is easy to integrate into an existing camera system. It simply plugs into the back of a network video camera, and then the existing analog camera is plugged in. Voila, instant IP video.

Expanded Capabilities
In conjunction with video input, the audio input and output allows a camera to be used more effectively at a point of entrance. An analog camera can be installed at any entrance where a remote observer can listen from a monitoring station and -- at the touch of a button -- communicate via a microphone attached to their desktop or laptop. The voice data will transmit over the network to an external speaker at the camera's location where the entrant can respond. The feature is also useful for such applications as customer-service monitoring, event Webcasting and video conferencing.

In addition, a pre-recorded audio file can be played at the camera's location at scheduled times or when triggered by an event. In a security monitoring application, a powered speaker connected to the camera can play back a pre-recorded message any time visitors approach a restricted area. Or, a department store can alert customers to special sales promotions at preset intervals.

For users with multiple analog cameras, use of a network camera server makes it easy to transmit full-motion, 640- x 480-pixel, real-time video over the Internet or intranet. Users can connect up to four analog cameras and also take advantage of the option for possible wireless networking. The server then encodes the signal from the connected analog cameras and transmits it via the Internet or an intranet.

Many specialty cameras used in security, such as small, hidden cameras used to detect theft, do not have IP capability. Storeowners, for example, may prefer to integrate these valuable, lipstick-sized cameras into the IP network. An encoder allows them to do just that, creating a seamless integration of all video inputs onto the digital server.

Integration with Ease
With any a system upgrade, ease of installation is a critical factor. Integration of the server is as simple as going to the location where all the cables terminate and plugging into the existing system. Users can then easily employ a splitter to keep recording to a DVR or VCR, and at the same time, the video source will be encoded over the Web. Remotely, users can now access the server and potentially access all cameras installed.

With any security system, there will be incidents where simply monitoring an area is not enough. As an additional feature and valuable benefit, some cameras come equipped with connectors for alarm contacts -- such as door contacts or motion detection -- that can be activated with various kinds of triggers. When used in conjunction with door contacts or motion detection, an incident can trigger a PTZ camera to a specific, pre-determined view while the output relay triggers an alarm light or signal.

The world of video security is changing rapidly. As IP video continues to strengthen its foothold in the industry, analog cameras will need to be modified or phased out. Transitional technology allows companies to get as much life as possible from the original investment by creating a means for analog cameras to transmit video as an integrated part of an IP network. By using inexpensive options, users can efficiently manage the gradual transition from a wholly analog video security system to a digital system.

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