Video Trends To Focus On

Video Trends To Focus On

If these technologies aren’t on your radar, they probably should be. These product categories are rapidly growing in popularity and for good reason. Whether you’re a professional system designer looking to present the most competitive and effective solutions, or you’re planning a video security deployment for your own organization, incorporating these technologies may provide the best end result.

SMART H.264 CODECS

Compared to many other types of information, video requires a lot of bandwidth to transmit and storage to retain. As such, the latest compression technologies like H.265 and smart H.264 codecs can provide a major advantage over mainstream H.264.

H.265 promises benefits of 30 to 50 percent bitrate savings over H.264 while delivering the same level of quality. However, there are still limitations preventing the widespread adoption of H.265. At the time of writing, the majority of VMS platforms and IP cameras do not support H.265, so product options are limited. For systems that do support H.265, users need to consider that H.265 requires considerably more CPU power to decode than H.264. This translates to significantly higher costs for processing components used in client workstations and NVR servers, which may offset savings in other areas.

Smart H.264 codecs, like Arecont SNAPstream, Axis Zipstream, Hanwha WiseStream or HikVision H.264+, provide many of the benefits of H.265 without the drawbacks. Bandwidth and storage consumption can be reduced by similar levels as seen with H.265. Furthermore, processing requirements and VMS compatibility are similar to traditional H.264, so it can be widely used with current product offerings to save on bandwidth and storage without adding costs related to processing consumption.

ANALOG HD CAMERAS

Analog HD cameras bring high definition video quality to traditional coax cable connections, allowing consumers with existing analog cameras to upgrade video quality at a lower cost than using traditional IP camera offerings.

For years, upgrading CCTV cameras meant either replacing coax cabling with Ethernet or using coax-to-Ethernet converters. Now, an analog HD camera can be connected to the existing infrastructure and deliver 720P or 1080P quality video for a fraction of the cost.

In addition to upgrading quality of existing analog cameras, there are some alternative applications for HD analog products. For example, for higher security installations, like a network colocation facility, it could be desirable to use an analog HD camera instead of an IP camera to prevent any possibility of providing access to the network outside the facility.

Because the signaling standards are different, be aware that not all DVRs, NVR capture cards or encoders are compatible with analog HD. Equipment traditionally compatible with analog cameras conforms to the NTSC or PAL (or SECAM) standards. Analog HD cameras come in a variety of standards and therefore are not universally compatible as plug and play like we’ve come to expect with analog camera equipment.

ALL-IN-ONE NVR PLATFORMS

The headend equipment required for an IP video surveillance deployment involves installing two or three separate boxes: a Network Video Recorder, network switch and a client workstation. Having so many pieces of equipment can be of concern with smaller camera-count deployments, which are often space constrained, as may be the case with small stores or restaurants. With any deployment, budget is always a consideration, and reducing the cost of installation allows for a greater proportion of funds to be put towards technology.

The all-in-one NVR combines the client, NVR server and switch into a single box. IP cameras plug directly in the back of the NVR where a Power over Ethernet switch is built in. The system houses built-in storage for recording. Video output connections allow live monitoring and investigations tools to be shown on a single or multiple displays.

Combining these functions in a single system provides a number of benefits. Time spent designing a system, ensuring compatibility of components and sourcing equipment is reduced. Installing a single box, as opposed to two or three separate systems, reduces installation time related to mounting, cabling and configuration. Also, in the event of a problem, there’s only one vendor to call for the entire headend of the video security system.

All-in-one platforms are not appropriate for every site, and there are some feature considerations to keep in mind. Scalability for a single site may be limited by storage capacity and switch port count. Generally, these systems come as 8, 16 or 24 switch ports and scale up to 12TB of storage; however, some models allow up to 24TB of recording capacity. With respect to client functionality, consider the number of video output ports, the type of connector (VGA, HDMI etc.) but also the maximum resolution supported. If the system will be used as a client, ensure the system’s processing capacity allows for recording and live display of all cameras simultaneously. Finally, all PoE switches have a power budget, which is the maximum wattage available to all devices connected and drawing power. Ensure the switch is at a minimum a Class 3 PoE switch, but if connecting PTZ cameras or cameras with built in illumination, a higher power budget may be necessary.

CAMERA-BASED ANALYTICS

Video analytics have been a much discussed technology for over a decade. Factors limiting adoption of video analytics have been cost, complexity of installation and, until more recently, a reputation for poor accuracy.

Over the past couple of years, two important developments have occurred with analytics technology. First, the reputation of video analytics has improved dramatically. However, the trend of primary interest is that analytics have been shipping as a feature built into many IP cameras.

Having analytics built into the camera reduces two of the barriers to their deployment: cost and complexity of installation.

Analytics have traditionally been sold as a software package and installed on a server. This model usually requires a separate computer due to the significant amount of processing power required to decode and analyze video streams. Also, analytics have usually been sourced from a company specializing in developing analytics technology, adding another vendor to evaluate when designing a project and requiring the purchase of licenses from that vendor. With camera based analytics, if a consumer was planning to purchasing the camera and it happened to come with analytics, the only cost consideration becomes installer time to setup and tune the analytics.

Taking advantage of these built-in analytics can add considerable value. If recording on event, the analytics can reduce storage consumption and provide better accuracy than video motion detection. Analytics also have the potential to expedite an investigation by providing metadata descriptions of the type of analytics, providing insight into the activity captured before taking the time to review a recorded clip.

Whether you’re looking to reduce costs, simplify deployment or optimize investigations, these growth technologies go a long way towards getting you the best result from your video deployment.

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Security Today.

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