Testing IP Surveillance Cameras

It’s important for electronic security installers to put IP video cameras to some real-world tests before installing the devices.

I hope that this information will get installing security companies’ technicians, dealers and managers thinking more about real-world performance of IP cameras. According to statistics from SSI‘s Gold Book 2014, the average growth of IP-addressable camera installations was 29%. In installations involving IP cameras, 61% involved megapixel models. Additionally, respondents reported experiencing 17% growth in number of IP video encoders installed during 2013. Another exciting area is growth of video analytics with the inclusion in 14% of video surveillance projects.

These figures seem to confirm that the trend toward IP CCTV is stronger than ever. I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla. In a previous column I mentioned some of the BICSI certification programs, because if you want to expand your tech knowledge of cabling and everything that’s transmitted over it, then this is the place to be. Some of you might think that with all the wireless technologies appearing on the security scene cabling will fade away – you could not be further from the truth. Actually, you might see the opposite, as shorter cabling spans are required in system backbones due to higher frequencies in both wireless (802.11ac/gigabit Wi-Fi) and wired (Cat-8/40GBase-T) applications. 

At this BICSI conference I also had the privilege to hear from James Krile, RCDD, ESS, NTS, IP video subject matter expert and senior technology engineer at Heapy Engineering, a PMET consulting firm in Dayton, Ohio. I thought it would be valuable to share some of Krile’s IP video wisdom along with my usual Tech Talk commentary. Krile, being a dedicated and curious engineer, did an independent study of important IP video performance areas such as bandwidth and storage testing, resolution, frame rate, and compression comparisons. The half-dozen IP cameras used in the testing were average quality and did not include any video analytics. This was my type of evaluation as all were tested in real-world conditions and not in a laboratory.

Learn From Your Own Real-World Evaluations

As you might know, it is the responsibility of any equipment manufacturer to paint its product in the best light. I don’t want to imply that manufacturers purposely give us wrong or misleading information, but I will say they might embellish some performance features in order to make their product stand out. I would suggest that you might want simulate some of the testing parameters discussed here and set up your own evaluation program. You will not only learn more about certain product lines, features and technologies, but you, your salespeople and your techs will become more IP video savvy.

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About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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