Peek Into 2009

Industry executive points to IP video surveillance as ongoing direction

Yes, 2009 will continue to reveal that IP/digital video is the direction that the industry is heading. There are specific markets—education, law enforcement, transportation, water treatment and new construction—that will specify nothing but an IP/digital video solution. Why? They all need better identification, although for different reasons.

At both K-12 and higher education environments, the network infrastructure is already in place. K-12, especially, has fewer restrictions on bandwidth use than corporate accounts. Education users want the clearer images IP/digital video provides. With IP/digital video, administrators find it much easier to zoom in on images, track particular scenes and enhance features. Plus, they can easily cover an entire campus from multiple locations.

Likewise, law enforcement—especially corrections departments—insists on using IP/digital video. Guards can conduct surveillance live over the Internet or on a closed network and obtain clearer, crisper images that can be tracked and transmitted easily. IP/digital video gives guards better tools to intervene and stop incidents before they get out of control.

Almost all airports and seaports implement IP/digital video surveillance systems because they are easier to install and provide enhanced remote viewing access, which is especially important when monitoring multiple sites spread across large areas. With IP video, ports can deploy the latest video analytics, providing solutions from searching for lost luggage to looking for discrepancies in terminal traffic. With the higher resolution and image quality, ports can more easily identify incidents and their participants. Often relying on some type of government funding, they need to be able to show that they are installing a system that is future-proof.

Many new construction projects include Cat-5e cabling, the ideal infrastructure for IP/digital systems of any and all types, including video. Once Cat-5e cable became available, the rest was easy. True IP-based digital surveillance employs cameras using signal processing to send video streams over the LAN through a Cat- 5e cable rather than a coax cable network, using greater bandwidth and standard TCP/IP communication. With IP/digital-based video surveillance on Cat-5e, a user can connect surveillance cameras to any network or wireless adapter, which allows for flexibility in the placement of the camera.

It’s an Analog World
In real-world applications, fewer than 15 percent of video surveillance environments in the Americas are buying or using IP/digital video. Here’s why.

First, there are many analog video systems running on coax and, in many cases, their users are simply upgrading components. In other instances, security managers are leery of moving beyond what they already understand and what works for them. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude is prevalent among casinos, for instance, one of the largest users of video surveillance, albeit predominantly analog.

Many end users and resellers, including dealers and integrators, also are uncomfortable with IP/digital surveillance. The “If I don’t understand it, I’m not going to propose it” mentality is a strong motivator for keeping present systems intact.

Finally, one key advantage of IP-based video also is its Achilles’ heel: the ability to use present network infrastructure rather than coaxial cabling. Running bandwidth-intensive surveillance video over corporate data networks is a point of organizational contention, with its potential impact on network performance. Too often, it is easier to default to the security department’s traditional way than to fight new battles.

With all this in mind, pre-sales and post-sales support programs via manufacturers and their integrators become especially important in IP video solutions and sales.

Premium Products
The key to helping integrators deploy IP video solutions takes a combination of premium-quality hardware and in-depth servicing, on both the front and back ends of the sale. This is especially imperative on big orders, such as the 14,000 cameras we now have working at Latin America’s largest banks or the immense system installed at one of the world’s largest retailers, covering both Mexico and the United States.

It is our goal, and that of Samsung Electronics, to double market share in the Americas in the upcoming years—a commitment by Samsung that is borne from its $1.5 million investment in our marketing and sales operations. In addition, our seven straight quarters of profits have provided a solid financial base to expand our sales and marketing efforts. The growth in revenue demonstrates that our expanded sales efforts are delivering positive results.

In addition, Samsung Electronics has announced that it wants its security portfolio to grow quickly. In comments at the Security World Expo 2008, held in Seoul, South Korea, on June 25, Park Jong-Woo, president of digital media at Samsung Electronics, said, “We will further enhance security business among promising solution business to nurture business with more than $1 billion in three years.”

We are comarketing Verint’s Nextiva portfolio of video systems with our analog, digital and IP technology to offer enhanced value to our customers in the Americas. Verint’s video management software and wireless IP systems perfectly complement our newly introduced IP camera line and enhance our ability to drive growth in very large enterprise level projects, particularly in Latin America. The software and systems are fully compatible with our analog products and provide us with an important tool to leverage our customer’s investment in analog technology to provide a fully compatible transition to expanded IP installations.

We are using a variety of programs to serve our integrators and their customers. For example, we are using inventory as a competitive tool so we can deliver products quickly. We continue the process of introducing and rolling out a series of IP products, including cameras, to meet the emerging technology shift in the video surveillance market to an IP focus. With Samsung Electronics as our engineering partner, we look forward to bringing to market the types of IP surveillance products that customers are demanding.

This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Security Today.

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