Ask the Expert

This month's expert, Ron Waxman, looks at video surveillance trends for 2009.

Although 2008 has been a tough year for the nation’s economy, the security industry has generally prospered. Equipment manufacturers have done their part by continuing to roll out new, sophisticated products and solutions that make it difficult to stay ahead of the curve.

ISSUE: What markets will experience growth in the demand for video surveillance during the next year?

SOLUTION: Over the past few years, installations of video products have been red-hot, and that trend will continue into the new year. Schools, universities and municipalities are leading the way in the installation of large-scale video surveillance systems. And as video technology becomes less expensive, expect to see even more use of video systems in residential security.

The education market has increased the use of security equipment across the board, with administrators implementing not just cameras but also access control and mass notification systems. A federal law that went into effect last August requiring universities to notify students and staff when an emergency situation occurs on campus is driving sales of mass notification systems.

Small businesses will be using video technology to a greater extent. Managers can monitor their business for security threats, check that company procedures are being adhered to and gauge staff levels. The use of cameras allows business owners to remotely monitor situations when traveling or from home. The cameras also can provide video verification of alarms and can help save hundreds of thousands of dollars in false alarm fines.

Another big implementer of video surveillance is city governments looking to safeguard shopping and entertainment districts, parking lots and parks. Mesh networking is one way to transmit the video data back to a central security center without expensive trenching and cabling. The technology has been installed in cities across the country. I expect this part of the industry to grow substantially in 2009.

ISSUE: What will drive security technology innovation in 2009?

SOLUTION: A major driver of other new security equipment and technologies is the involvement of the corporate IT department, which is looking for open architecture- based systems to run over a network. This convergence of physical and logical security is affecting access control systems. Web-based access systems eliminate the need for separate security servers. By using the corporate network, it is now possible to eliminate expensive, on-site equipment and let the system run over the Internet.

With so many new products and applications, it is important to find a security integrator that is up-to-date on the technology, has a qualified IT staff and can evaluate the right technology to use.

READER QUESTION: I am a security director of a large company that uses 20 cameras to monitor our perimeter and parking lot. I want to upgrade our old security system that still uses analog cameras and VCRs to collect video data. I eventually want the system to include IP cameras and NVRs; however, we can’t afford to make that full transition yet. Where should I start?

SOLUTION: This is a common issue for customers who have existing systems (usually with late-generation analog or first-generation digital cameras) that they need to future-proof by moving them to third-generation digital platforms.

Most new high-quality DVR platforms allow for hybrid connectivity, meaning you can connect traditional analog cameras via standard BNC connectors to capture cards and add direct IP or PoEenabled cameras directly through the network. The Integral DS1000, RealView, Pelco 8100 and Intivid VIP X systems, among others, offer this capability.

The upgrade strategy for this type of system consists of replacing the existing VCR or first-generation DVR with a new hybrid recorder. As the existing cameras wear out, IP-based cameras can be deployed and connected via network cables to the new DVR. This strategy will minimize the initial capital expenditure and spread future investments out.

Once all of the existing analog cameras are replaced, the DVR essentially becomes an NVR as it is no longer directly connected to any cameras. The products mentioned above have remote management software for both security and system management that are easy to use and manage bandwidth efficiently (a major aspect of network-based systems).

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