Q&A From the Top
A conversation with Gary Perlin
- By Security Products Staff
- Oct 07, 2009
Gary Perlin has seen numerous changes
in the security industry, most of them
involving technology that, a few years
ago, would have boggled the mind. Perlin
has stayed in lock-step with the forward
movement of the industry, so we wanted
to talk with him about analog and network
infrastructure and how hybrid solutions
are affecting the industry today.
Q. Hybrid security solutions have
gotten a positive second look.
Is recording video on the edge a sustainable
A. A second look? I didn't realize
that we had stopped looking at
them the first time.
Hybrid solutions are those that integrate
both analog and network infrastructures
into a single device. The
original hybrid product was an analog
DVR that allowed for several IP camera
inputs. Now dual-streaming cameras
with both analog and network
outputs also are referred to as hybrid.
What does all of this have to do with
recording on the edge? Not much, as
far as I can see.
You record on the edge to reduce
the amount of bandwidth required for
a networked system. If you were not recording
on the edge, then you would be
forced to transmit a continuous fl ow of
information to a remote recording site.
Depending upon the quality levels and
frames per second being transmitted,
the strain on network bandwidth could
By recording on the edge, you are
eliminating the need to transmit all of
this data. Using analytics or simpler
forms of motion detection, you can
choose to transmit data only when
predetermined activities or events occur,
or you can schedule the edge device
to transmit during certain times
of the day when network traffic is at a
minimum. Recording on the edge is a
must for any networked system of considerable
Q. Due to the economy, is analog still
a viable solution for end users?
A. I never considered analog and IP
to be interchangeable. Both have
their proper places in our industry's
equipment arsenal. In the same respect,
going back to analog is not necessarily
a cost-savings move. Every project must
be looked at in regard to what will best
serve the end user in terms of functionality,
performance and price.
Putting networked cameras into
a small convenience store would be
foolish, as would placing analog cameras
into a campus setting. Analyze the
needs of each project, do the cost comparisons,
mix technologies if it makes
sense and give the end user what they
need to do the job. More often than
not, the "latest and greatest" is not always
the best choice.
Q. Is a hybrid application a justifi
able expense for an end user
who knows that when economic times
loosen up, the right installation really is
A. As I mentioned before, the proper
installation is not always IP
based. Having said that, putting in a
hybrid DVR can be worth the small extra
expense if there is a chance you will
want to record off-site cameras in the
future. Let's go back to that convenience
store. It is small and requires only four
cameras to record the areas of interest.
You could install a four-camera network
DVR that records all of the cameras and
allows the owner to access the cameras
and DVR remotely from home.
Personally, I would want to see an
eight-channel DVR—for a slightly
higher price—in this location to allow
room for expansion should the need for
additional cameras arise.
Let's take it one step further. The
owner of this store buys a second store
across town. If his eight-channel DVR
were a hybrid unit, then he would be
able to use IP cameras at the second
location to transmit them to the original
store and record them on the hybrid
DVR. He is paying more for networked
cameras but saving on a second DVR.
Work the numbers for your particular
project, and the answer will be clear.
Q. Let's talk about data storage.
How can an end user balance
storage demand with budget contraints?
A. The nice thing about memory
is that it keeps coming down in
price. Certainly, buy as much as you
can afford, but you should also purchase
a DVR that has the capacity to
accept additional hard drives or external
storage in the future. Another way
to double storage capacity is to use a
DVR with H.264 compression. This
feature enables you to store up to twice
as much information as an MPEG-4
unit on the same size hard drive. Finally,
by adjusting your DVR's quality
levels and frames per second and using
motion activated recording, you can
maximize data storage.
Q. Are there things an end user can
do to lengthen the time he or she
can use a legacy system, or is it inevitable
that IP cameras will be installed
A. Legacy systems using analog
cameras will be around for
many years and are still the predominant
force in the industry. They still
offer great picture quality in real time
at a reasonable cost. Several companies
are now looking into HD CCTV,
which yields 1080p performance to
compete with megapixel cameras, but
uses the existing coaxial cable infrastructure.
Once again, there is a time
when IP cameras are necessary, a time
when analog cameras will perform better
for less money and a time when the
two technologies should be mixed in a
Q. What advice would you give a
small-business owner trying to
install the proper security solution?
A. Get quotes from several reputable
firms and see what type of
systems and technologies they are recommending
and why. Be honest with
yourself as to how your needs might
change in the future. Don't buy more
than you are likely to use. You will just
be spending money needlessly and buying
a complicated piece of equipment
that might not meet your needs.
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