The security industry has been transitioning to IP security cameras over the last years due to the advantages of this type of device. Despite the evolution of analog camera resolution, IP cameras usage is still growing fast.
In this article you will learn about the IP security camera advantages over analog system and understand why is better to use this technology on new CCTV projects which demand high quality videos and are future proof.
The diagram below shows an example of a simple CCTV system that allows internal and external Internet access through the use of monitoring software (laptop 1 and laptop 2). Just take a look at this simple diagram to be familiar with the concept while reading about the IP security camera advantages.
The CCTV diagram is actually quite simple, especially if you use a switch capable of powering the cameras through PoE (Power Over Ethernet)
The 8 IP cameras are then connected to the PoE switch, as well as the NVR, the Internet router and a laptop or computer for remote monitoring.
On the other side of the Internet there's another router and a laptop that can be used to have remote access to the CCTV system. That's one of the IP security camera advantages, they can be accessed individually.
- High Resolution: To date (2018) there are IP cameras up to 30MP
- Using fewer cables: A single network cable is enough
- Independent system: Direct access to the cameras
- Better security: IP camera can use encrypted data
- Embedded video analytics: Cameras are smart
- Versatility: Possible to use different monitoring systems
- Ease of transmission: Uploading videos over the data network
- Redundancy: Simultaneous NVR and SD card recording
- Monitoring: It is possible to monitor the status of the devices
IP camera high-resolution
One of the big IP security camera advantage over analog is the fact that it can work with high resolution images that is not possible to reach with analog cameras, even if they have HD-TVI, HD-CVI and AHD technology.
Despite the fact that new analog camera technology allows Full HD and even 4K resolution, the IP cameras can go even further by offering mega pixel resolution that really makes a huge difference to get image details.
For remote access however, the limitation will be Internet bandwidth. Look again at the diagram and see that the recorder (NVR) is directly connected to the switch that can have 100Mbps or 1000 Mbps ports.
If you are using ADSL for your CCTV project you will have some bandwidth limitation, so it's necessary to use IP cameras with multiple video streaming.
So in this situation you can use the multiple streams feature of an IP camera, which allows you to create a high-quality video profile for local recording and other video streaming with reduced resolution for sending over the Internet, so you can adapt the system to the bandwidth available.
See below for example the IP camera catalog information, the highlighted part shows this ability to send more than one video stream simultaneously using different types of codecs such as H.264 and MPEG.
By connecting only one network cable, it's possible to send video, audio, camera status information, metadata, alarm triggers, configuration and motion commands (when using an IP PTZ camera).
Despite the fact that modern analog camera system can also send video an power over a single cable (by using Power Over Coax), an IP camera can have a full duplex (send/receive) communication with the CCTV system.
In our IP CCTV design, the IP cameras can be accessed individually, look again at the diagram and note that it is possible to have direct access to the IP cameras without having to go through the NVR, since all of them are connected to the switch and the router is linked to the Internet.
It is common for IP cameras to leave the factory with more than one video streaming profile available for local and remote use, usually the local profile has high resolution while the profile for remote viewing is configured with low resolution such as VGA that's suitable to use mobile phone.
Do you think somebody can intercept the video stream between the IP camera and the remote laptop or mobile phone? Yeah, that definitely can happen with a hacker using a technique called man-in-the-middle.
To protect your IP CCTV system against data interception, it is possible to encrypt the data, just like the process that is used when accessing a bank account through the Internet. The data remains encrypted between the client and the server, in this case, between the camera and the laptop.
So this is another IP security camera advantage, the data between the IP camera and the recorder or monitoring device can be protected by using same level of data encryption used by banks, This is really safe.
IP camera video analytics
The main processor of an IP camera, is called DSP (Digital Signal Processor), can analyze the images and react by triggering alarms or sending emails and photos to a server, it is also possible to start recording to the IP camera memory card every time there's an event such as motion detection.
The camera manufacturer either has its own DSP or purchase it from third parties. So depending on the brand and model of camera you can see different types of video analytics embedded into the IP camera.
Video analytics performed by the IP camera allows the identification of certain types of events, such as someone entering a specific area or driving the car in the wrong direction or even running or fighting.
Face Detection is another type of application found in smart IP cameras, as well as audio detection, which makes it possible to know if there is an event such as intruder getting into an unauthorized location.
The video analytics embedded into the IP cameras add value to the product and to the CCTV project design, it also allows for more efficient monitoring when compared to a traditional analog system. Once again this is a huge IP security camera advantage.
Some IP camera models can even work with advanced CCTV video intelligent analysis such as license plate recognition
Versatility of IP CCTV systems
For IP CCTV camera monitoring, most of the times it is necessary to use specific software and depending on the design and brands of equipment, it is possible to choose between different types of monitoring software.
Each CCTV software developer has its advantages and disadvantages over the features they offer. So is up to you to choose the best software for your IP camera project and believe me, you will have a lot of options available.
There are a lot of monitoring software developed by different companies around the world, many of them have more advanced video analytics features such as license plate recognition or even face recognition
Easy IP CCTV transmission
Transmitting CCTV IP video is easy due to its digital format, with the use of computer networks, the Internet or wireless systems, it is possible to transmit images to any part of the world very quickly and safely.
The transmission of CCTV videos is performed by the same global data network, since video streaming use standard IP network packets.
Redundancy in CCTV
To ensure that you do not lose your videos, you can store them in more than one location at the same time and also write to the camera memory card, so you don't have the risk of losing anything if there is a system failure.
IP CCTV cameras allow to use multiple simultaneous video streams, so you can send video to different points in the city, or even to different countries.
Big companies always care about ensuring data security, this includes redundant video recording, which can be much easier to do using IP CCTV systems, that is part of the IP security camera advantage.
CCTV resource monitoring
It is possible to monitor the state of network equipment such as switches and routers through the use of a specific network protocol called SNMP, and fortunately it is also possible to do the same with IP CCTV cameras.
CPU usage, memory, network, available disk space, and more can be monitored and displayed in the form of a graph used for technical analysis.
This feature is very interesting to prevent problems that may occur, a technician can diagnose what happens and do preventive maintenance to the network and IP cameras so that the CCTV system doesn't stop working.
Now you know the IP security camera advantages and how to talk to a client about analog and IP CCTV surveillance system.
Keep in mind that new IP CCTV projects tend to use IP and never stop learning about the new emerging technologies
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Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 19+ years of experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems. He is currently working for Axis Communications as a Technical Services Engineer and living in the United States with his family.