I spy IP surveillance

The switch from analogue surveillance systems to IP-based systems has brought new capabilities to the IT organisation, but IT managers need to understand the requirements of this technology too, writes Piers Ford

Tags: ADT Security Services (www.adt.com)Access controlSony Broadcast & ProfessionalWestern Digital Corporation
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I spy IP surveillance IP surveillance systems make better use of bandwidth than earlier generations, says Stanton, but network managers must still be involved in their design.
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By  Piers Ford Published  June 21, 2010 Network Middle East Logo

The switch from analogue surveillance systems to IP-based systems has brought new capabilities to the IT organisation, but IT managers need to understand the requirements of this technology too, writes Piers Ford.

The Middle East’s IP surveillance market is booming as businesses rush to take advantage of evolving compression standards that allow them to operate HDTV-based technology across their networks effectively for the first time.

One of the region’s main players, Sony Professional Solutions, predicts the Gulf market will break the $100 million barrier by the end of the year.

Projects like Aqaba Logistics Village’s recent investment in an IndigoVision HD IP solution to protect its tax-free hub in Jordan are leading the way as organisations exploit the distributed architectures, ease of integration and scalability of a new generation of IP surveillance platforms.

But all this good news for the security manager poses a challenge for network professionals who must accommodate the extra data streams that are heading rapidly for their infrastructures. Many industry watchers say the time has come to let the network manager in on the act as far as commissioning surveillance systems is concerned – and for network managers to ease up on their reluctance to get involved.

“Historically, network managers have been typically reluctant to allow video onto their networks,” says Peter Stanton, CCTV specialist at security product vendor ADT.

“This is born out of a huge void in the embryonic stages of IP CCTV between the bandwidth required and the expectations of available resource from the organisation’s network manager. In recent years, the introduction of new, more efficient coding technologies such as H.264, have put this issue to bed, as higher quality video is now achievable with a minimum of bandwidth.”

Stanton says working closely with the network manager on surveillance system projects is essential. Whether to operate the system across the corporate network or give it its own private network, how the data is transported and which network switches are implemented, are all issues central to understanding which infrastructure will suit the network and maximise the performance of the proposed system.

“The input of the network manager in the whole process, from design to implementation, is absolutely paramount, as it makes for smoother installation and commissioning, and ensures that they are comfortable with the proposed system,” he says.

But as responsibility for the surveillance network shifts into the network manager’s territory, it brings with it a host of additional responsibilities. Brian Sims, an international surveillance technology expert and editor of the journal, Security Management Today, says the $64,000 question is, how can security professionals ensure that IT practitioners’ concerns are also addressed when positioning IP video surveillance solutions?

“Capacity and storage are probably the two major concerns of the network manager,” he says. “How will they deal with increased data over their network? What are the storage implications of video and audio created by surveillance systems? And without doubt, there will be network security questions surrounding the transmission and storage of IP video images on the corporate network, and to remote sites.

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