IP Video Migration Guide: 10 Steps to Avoid Common Issues

Here are 10 common mistakes that security integrators should help their end-user customers avoid when making the switch from analog to IP video solutions.

IP Video Migration Guide: 10 Steps to Avoid Common Issues

More and better features along with enticing price points have moved IP video from the new alternative to the de facto video surveillance choice. Yet thousands of analog systems remain waiting to be upgraded.

The migration from analog to IP video surveillance has been on the rise for several years, thanks to new security technologies and decreasing costs. Increasingly, IP video is becoming the standard in an enterprise’s security solution, versus something on a “wish list.”

Enterprises are appreciating the benefits of IP surveillance systems and video management systems (VMS), and realizing they are great investments that have both functional and financial benefits.

Today, IP cameras provide superior image quality, scalability and advanced functionalities such as analytics that were not possible with older technologies. Video streams can now be accessed by security management remotely via laptops, smartphones and more.

And current IP surveillance systems are more cost-effective than ever before, and with a broad set of meaningful integrations they can deliver a high return on investment (ROI) with important business data such as marketing observations and enhanced visitor and operational management.

If these performance enhancements weren’t enough to drive market penetration, there are other reasons for end users to migrate from analog to IP surveillance solutions.

For example, current analog systems could be reaching end of life for support, as many manufacturers have stopped making analog recording devices. And, IP cameras have the ability to make use of existing network infrastructure in good condition, to save on installation costs.

IP surveillance solutions can even help to meet compliance needs in specific industries such as banking and gaming, and with IP surveillance systems, video and data storage can be easily expanded onsite or by using Cloud-based on-demand providers.

However, making the switch from analog to IP video surveillance is not a decision to be taken lightly. The overarching need is a solution that offers the capabilities to meet end users’ security needs and requirements.

A true security solution can help an end user to investigate incidents, mitigate events, and possibly even end potentially dangerous situations before they cause harm to people and property.

Manufacturers and integrators that focus on solutions will help to mitigate risk in an enterprise and foster a lasting relationship with the customer that can be rewarding for both parties. Here are 10 steps that security integrators should help their end-user customers avoid when making the switch from analog to IP video solutions:

1. Glossing Over Operational Goals and Challenges

An IP security system is an investment that requires full understanding of how it will be used in order for an end user to achieve ROI and communicate that to the enterprise C-suite. All operational goals first need to be understood, such as how much resolution is needed? What types of cameras? How long will video be retained? What areas, indoor and outdoor, need to be covered and why and when? Your expertise in this area can help an end user to answer those difficult questions.

2. Not Considering Options to Optimize a Security Budget

Budget concerns are on the mind of virtually every customer, and not many are willing to sacrifice features, quality, or effectiveness when it comes to maintaining the security of their enterprise. You can find the optimal solution that not only solves problems, but also that fits into budgets, such as trimming costs from a bid in the installation, choosing the right cameras and VMS, and more.

3. Migrating Too Quickly

Sometimes a phased upgrade is best, particularly to accommodate budget availability, hiring or training needs, operational disruptions, and other factors. A customer can deploy new IP-based equipment initially to where it is needed most, and operate both analog and IP systems during the transition period, to eventually create a complete upgraded IP system. This scenario lets organizations start small according to their surveillance and security priorities, limiting the initial financial burden and allowing for more time to amortize the initial IP equipment investment.

4. Neglecting to Discuss Storage Needs

Increasing the video quality in an enterprise’s surveillance system will also drive up their storage needs and costs. By implementing an advanced VMS, video on an end user’s network can be managed more effectively while optimizing network resources and bandwidth consumption. With such optimizations, a VMS will also help to decrease networking and storage costs over the lifetime of an IP video surveillance system.

5. Not Considering Staffing

How will the new IP video system be staffed? And how will new and existing staff be trained? This will impact the overall cost and ROI of the new system, and this answer will also affect camera and video management system selection. For example, casinos require 24/7 live monitoring, but parking lot surveillance may be well-served with video analytics to alert security personnel of incidents or events to investigate.

6. Failing to Consider Integration Needs

Most current systems have an IP-based interface for integration with a VMS, but it is important for an end user to understand how a wide range of third-party integrations can increase efficiencies and manage costs. Leading suppliers have a range of meaningful integrations tested and ready to apply that can add functionality, automate routine tasks, and similar enhancements to solve project needs.

7. Not Planning for Cybersecurity

Smart planning is critical to help reduce the risk of hacking. Any device connected to a network could provide an opening for an attacker to access not only that specific network, but also any other indirectly connected networks and sensitive information. You can communicate your own company’s proactive cybersecurity policies and strategies to your customer, in addition to addressing his/her specific network safeguards and help to ensure that their new IP security system contains hardened architecture, software, devices and cybersecurity policies to reduce cyber vulnerabilities.

8. Neglecting Licensing Requirements

Most VMS systems have licensing requirements and Software Upgrade Plans (SUPs) or Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to cover everything from higher tiers of support to future upgrades. As an example, third-party cameras may require a license for each IP address. It is critical that the end user understands the costs and associated details of those licensing requirements.

9. Overlooking Environmental Conditions

Conditions such as extreme heat, cold, humidity, corrosion, and high dust levels help determine what IP security camera and VMS equipment can be considered for each installation location. Other environmental factors may include ambient light levels, the availability and reliability of existing power, and network infrastructure.

10. Failing to Discuss Redundancy

Security systems must remain operational and accessible at all times, so the design should include provisions for redundancy and plans to back up primary resources in case they fail. For most systems, simple RAID-5 or -6 redundancy in storage is sufficient. Yet, an end user should consider budgeting for “failover” recorders and other server hardware, as well as having spare cameras on hand in the event of a failure.

This may also be dictated by the industry in which it operates and with current regulations. For example, because of the design of data centers and the functions of their operations, redundancy is essential and required. Putting together a bid on a new surveillance system is a challenge, but your surveillance system proposal can be an opportunity to demonstrate how you will add value and stand out from the competition.

IP video surveillance systems provide tremendous benefits, so in many cases the migration to an IP system is only a question of time. Yet, many end users may want to take a slow-and-steady approach to migration. Having a solid understanding of an end user’s business needs and of what’s available in the market, in addition to respecting their timetable, will help add value and performance to your surveillance bid.


Jason Spielfogel is Director of Product Management, Systems for Pelco by Schneider Electric.

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