How to Guide a Client Through the Analog to Network Video Transition

Learn the technologies to step clients through the upgrade process – be it baby steps, significant migration tactics or a complete overhaul.

Increasing security appliances as well as achieving a litany of business intelligence efficiencies continue to fuel an ascending video surveillance marketplace across a wide range of vertical markets.

Installing security contractors that specialize in this field can attest to just how profitable it can be. Not only is there a sizable markup on professional-grade, well-branded video surveillance components, but the number of ways in which savvy dealers and integrators can earn recurring monthly revenue (RMR) is growing as well.

These possibilities include routine maintenance and security camera supervision, offsite image management and storage, as well as bundling with personal emergency response systems (PERS) and intrusion alarm monitoring.

And especially with networked solutions, the potential for long-term profit couldn’t be better than it is now.

What’s more, “The security industry has recently introduced technologies that allow us to utilize existing coax so if the client migrates to IP, [the security integrator] can leverage the existing infrastructure,” says Matthew Ladd, president of The Protection Bureau.

In other words, it’s getting easier every day to sell IP to clients that have a facility full of analog cameras. Read on to learn more.

RESOURCE: 13 Low-Light Video Surveillance Tips To Enlighten Your Solutions

Appraising IP Camera Advantages

There are many advantages to IP cameras compared to their analog counterparts. “IP cameras allow you to take advantage of edge-based recording, edge analytics, transmitting video over the corporate network and the ability for remote connectivity,” says Ladd.

The video signal from an analog camera contains an infinite number of adjacent frequencies, from 0 to 5MHz and sometimes more. The reason why it’s not considered on par with IP is that these signals, while robust and well developed, are subject to electromagnetic interference (EMI).

In addition, analog composite video cannot by itself go beyond the capability of the coaxial cable infrastructure that carries it, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

For example, because IP cameras contain real data, or information if you will, the head-end system can identify each and every one of the devices. This can be done with analog using program readable text overlaid on the images themselves.

Information programmed for later use can be accomplished by doing so within the metadata portion of the files using a DVR or NVR. In the case of IP, because the network recognizes one camera from the other, users can better supervise the image stream of each one and do it individually.

Thus, if one of the IP cameras in the system experiences a problem the network will alert someone, like the central monitoring station or the owner of the camera system. This can be done through push notifications on web-enabled mobile devices.

In the area of RMR, installing security contractors can now sell video camera super-vision by charging a fee per camera.

IP migration strategies

Analog systems require the use of a DVR.

Assessing the Physical Network

There is little doubt the most profitable solution for a systems integrator would be if the client purchased all new IP cameras, thus replacing the old analog models. It’s also a given this would most likely include removal of the existing coaxial infrastructure and the installation of an all-new unshielded twisted pair (UTP)-based cable network.

The question is, however, is this the right solution for the client? Will installing all new IP-based hardware actually help or harm the client from a network and/or financial perspective?

The first thing video professionals must take into account is an accurate inventory of the existing infrastructure consisting of coaxial cable and the cameras that connect to these wires.

Whether dealing with outdoor or indoor cameras, the topology used in a typical video network mirrors that of a data network. Called star topology, the same “one-run/one-device” concept used in IT is applied to analog cameras.

Included in the inventory should also be the cable type (RG-59 or RG-6) and the length of each coaxial cable, if possible. Composite video using RG-59 coaxial cable will effectively carry composite video images up to 750 feet.

Using RG-6, the transmission distance can be extended another 450 feet for a total of 1,200. Compare this to Category-5e and Category-6 UTP, which can be extended to carry images in the form of IP-based data clear across the world by leveraging the power of network technology.

On the other hand, if you look at the industry-accepted distance that a local UTP cable will transport a signal, it is only 299 feet. It’s only by using a host of other network devices that this 299 feet can be extended across the entire world.

Unless the client’s LAN is part of a much larger enterprise network, it might just be better to use the legacy coaxial cable that is already there to carry IP video. Making coax look even better, as Ladd mentioned above, the industry now offers IP-to-coax transceivers, which, according to NVT Phybridge, will extend the normal reach of IP by up to 6x using an unbalanced coaxial cable.

Read on to learn about a three network approach and market opportunities…

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About the Author


Al Colombo is a long-time trade journalist and professional in the security and life-safety markets. His work includes more than 40 years in security and life-safety as an installer, salesman, service tech, trade journalist, project manager,and an operations manager. You can contact Colombo through TpromoCom, a consultancy agency based in Canton, Ohio, by emailing [email protected], call 330-956-9003, visit www.Tpromo.Com.

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