Encoders Bring Networked Video Benefits to Analog Cameras
According to SSI’s 2014 Systems Integration Study, video encoders are providing an increasingly lucrative way for integrators to provide an IP migration path for legacy customers. For example, more than six in 10 integrators reported at least 10% growth in selling/installing digital encoders compared to the previous year. Those who experienced growth of 60% or more increased 10 percentage points over the previous year. The overall average rose 6 points to 26%, the median 1 point to 15%. These figures can be expected to continue improving as more systems are transitioned to IP.
With similar outcomes to providing a hybrid NVR, video encoders are a cost-effective way to integrate analog cameras and gain important benefits of IP video. Video encoders make it possible to move toward a network video system without having to discard existing analog equipment. They connect to analog cameras, digitize the images and send them over an IP network, allowing analog cameras to take advantage of many of the same benefits as provided by network cameras.
The most common video encoder is a standalone version with single or multichannel connections to analog cameras. For larger, centralized systems, high-density racks with encoder blades offer the most flexible solutions. The security solutions division of Lenexa, Kan.-based C&C Group, a member of the InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance, specializes in IP video migration services. The integrator provides many of its SMB, government, hospital and other legacy clients with video encoders to facilitate network video functionality.
To market its offerings, the company invites businesses to attend occasional “lunch ‘n’ learn” sessions. C&C Group’s own technicians are joined by vendor representatives to offer demonstrations of various IP video products and software. For clients that want to further consider a migration path, the company will conduct a private showing that is more specialized around their needs.
“Our approach is find out what the customer’s pains are and what they are trying to get out of the system, and then show them the IP system is better capable of producing what they have today,” says Todd Tenbrink, an account manager with the company’s security solutions division.
The client’s budget most often dictates purchase and implementation plans, be it an incremental approach to a forklift overhaul. As an example, for a large facility operated by Sysco Foods, Tenbrink recently advised the national food distributor go with video encoders as a cost-effective means of upgrading its legacy system.
“They couldn’t rip and replace all of it, but they definitely wanted to get to the IP world. Their pains were they had multiple DVRs that were failing and they also had a matrix switch that they were no longer able to keep maintained,” he explains.
C&C Group put in a video management system (VMS) and encoded all of the existing analog cameras, which included 50 American Dynamics p/t/z outdoor speed dome cameras and 14 fixed cameras.
“We were able to use most everything except we didn’t have to use the video monitors that were coming off the matrix switch because now we are using the client software and the desktop computers that they were already using,” Tenbrink says.
The project’s equipment costs were for the VMS, storage space, a network switch and the encoders. What probably would have been $200,000 for a complete rip and replace instead cost the end user about $75,000 to do a front-end upgrade.
“They already had very expensive cameras. That was another reason to use them. It might have been a different story if they were using cheap, 10-year-old cameras,” says Tenbrink.
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