Making the Most of Megapixel Marvels
Find out how to select, apply and connect IP cameras, as well as store the data and build an infrastructure to support it all.
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The security industry is ever more quickly shifting from analog to IP, be it access control, security alarms, alarm reporting or video surveillance. The first and foremost reason for the move to IP cameras is the versatility and image quality systems integrators can provide for their customers. This is true of both megapixel and HD720p/1080p IP cameras.
For example, the physical size of an image in a CIF compression format is 360 X 480 pixels, 704 X 480 when converted to 4CIF (D1) and 960 X 480 pixels using 960H. Compare this to a typical 3-megapixel IP camera that has a resulting image size of 2048 X 1536 pixels. Using the high-definition (HD) television standard, IP cameras provide digital images of 1280 X 720 with HD/720p and 1920 X 1080 in HD/1080p.
In addition, the use of dedicated or existing Local Area Networks (LANs) enables those with proper access to view all or only certain cameras over a building’s existing network. This is true whether it involves a single building, campus, or an entire enterprise. Analog-to-IP migration also involves myriad features and benefits, such as image/video analysis, processing and greater long-term retention when needed.
“Network technology allows us to store far more video images and for longer periods of time without image degradation, especially when you compare them to the vintage analog-based recording systems we once exclusively used,” says Nick Markowitz, owner of Markowitz Electric & Integration in Verona, Pa. “Add to that the power of the IP camera and the related image management software programs that are available on the market and you have a tremendously powerful video surveillance tool with almost unlimited potential.”
The fact that IP cameras are digital in the first place also makes it possible for either the IP camera or the head-end to process images in special ways that may not always be possible using analog. A good example is where the end user needs to determine the presence of a threat based on some form of behavior (see sidebar).
Last but not least, IP connectivity using a LAN or WAN (Wide Area Network) is a tremendous advantage compared to installing dedicated RG59/RG6 cabling from a DVR to each and every camera in a facility. In addition, the ability to connect an IP camera to a network switch anywhere in the facility, or a wireless access point, gives the integrator the ability to add cameras when and where needed.
Read on to find out the selection criteria, application variables, connectivity alternatives, storage options and network infrastructure tips you need to successfully deploy IP and specifically megapixel cameras.
Scene, Purpose Guide Camera Choice
Selecting the right IP camera for any application begins with a firm understanding of the setting in which it will be deployed. It’s also necessary to know the situation in which it will be used, the customer’s budget and the client’s expectations (see sidebar).
“What is the application that the camera will be in? Will it be a warehouse, school, or a home? If you can understand that, you can chose the camera based on distance and what the client’s needs are,” says Roberto Testani, senior product manager, Honeywell Video Systems. “Will the camera be used in a residential or commercial space? Will it be placed in a small room? If so, a 720p [IP camera] will work fine. What is it that the customer wants? What detail do they need?”
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