The video surveillance system you use every day is a lot like the car you drive or the cell phone you use. Every few years it’s necessary to upgrade or replace them. More often than not you do this because of the new features and improvements that these devices have undergone through the years since you purchased them. The same holds true for the video surveillance equipment you use. Whether it’s a bank, retail store, industrial facility, office building, school, or some other setting, it’s important to upgrade what you have as the technology gets better.
How has video surveillance changed?
For those who have been in business a relatively long time, perhaps you will recall using a magnetic tape machine (called a time lapse-tape recorder) on which you stored video. Although these relics did the job, they didn’t always do it well, not to mention the fact that there was a limitation on the number of recording cycles with regard to the tape cartridges that these machines used. There also was an issue with how long tapes could be stored as well as a general need to control room temperature and humidity for long-term retention.
If you recall, you eventually replaced your old time-lapse recorder with a new DVR (Digital Video Recorder), and if you haven’t done so yet, you need to do it right away. The DVR has solved all of the problems inherent in these old video recording devices while providing a myriad of new features. Now, we store security video on optical and magnetic hard drives as well as SSD’s (Solid State Drives), which means the effective life of the camera images you collect and keep is almost limitless and the quality of the reproduced video on par with the original real-time images.
DVR's also can be connected to your LAN (Local Area Network), allowing you to access stored and real-time video from virtually anywhere inside your facility, on campus, or anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. There are other kinds of network storage devices as well that provide additional advantages that are worthy of your consideration. Upgrading your video surveillance system to include networkable storage options, such as NVRs (Network Video Recorders) and NAS’ (Network Attached Storage) servers, is a must if you want to take advantage of the many data storage features and benefits of today’s digital world. One of these advantages is the immense amount of storage capacity available today.
The same holds true for the other components in your video surveillance system. A good example of this is the analog camera that you depend on day after day. Over the years these devices have greatly improved. For example, the solid-state imagers used in early-made digital cameras where capable of a light sensitivity of 1.0 to 0.5 lux where today it’s not uncommon to encounter cameras capable of a light sensitivity of 0.005 to 0.0005. Note that “lux” is a common unit of measurement associated with the minimum amount of light necessary to create a usable image.
What are the quality differences of older and newer camera models?
The difference between the older cameras you likely have and newer models is that today’s cameras will “see” in next to no light conditions and they do it in color whereas older models convert images to black and white.
Another common measurement associated with the quality of a camera is resolution. In the past cameras were capable of what we call SD (Standard Definition), which usually translates to relatively poor image quality, depending on the TVL (Television Lines) rating of the cameras in use. For comparison, where inexpensive analog cameras have a TVL of 330, more expensive models are rated at 500 TVL’s and above. By contrast, new analog cameras are capable of producing HD (High Definition) resolutions of 720P to 1080P, which is far above older conventional analog cameras in usable image quality.
Besides proving themselves superior to older models in definition and low-light environments, another great feature of today’s cameras is that many of them are network capable, which means that you can connect them directly to your LAN without the benefit of a DVR. We call these “IP cameras.” In addition, because they reside on your network, you can also view them over your mobile devices, including laptops and desktop computers.
Migration to HD is not difficult nor does it have to cost you a bundle of money. There are a variety of SD-to-HD migration strategies that will give you all the desirable benefits discussed in this article and many more. One of these strategies involves the use of the same coaxial camera wire you presently have installed throughout your facility while upgrading your low-resolution analog cameras to HD.
Your Allied Fire & Security representative will be happy to discuss this with you. They will then help you to create a SD-to-HD strategy designed specifically for your organization. Call the Allied branch closest to you...
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About the Author
Allan B. Colombo is a trade journalist and copywriter in the physical security and life-safety markets. His award-winning work has appeared in Security Sales & Integration, Security Distributing & Marketing, Security Dealer & Integrator, and many other print magazines as well as Web-wide over the past 30 years. You can send questions or comments to him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.Tpromo.Com.