The Basics of Selling IP Video

Security dealers moving into the networked video space have the additional challenge of learning a new kind of sales conversation.

Encoders a Means to Migration

Along with hybrid DVRs, encoders are serving as an important gap bridge to crossover from an all-analog hardware system to an IP-based solution.

“Encoders are an absolutely critical piece of the migration to IP. If you look at the last several years, IP is certainly growing at a faster rate than analog, but analog is still outpacing IP sales by almost four-to-one,” says Marek Robinson, director of sales, Honeywell Video Systems. “So there’s a tremendous amount of analog infrastructure in place. Unless your end user is ready to fully replace their analog system, encoders are the critical link to take that system to the IP world.”

Encoders provide a cost-effective way to take extend the ROI of existing equipment, which can be a particularly compelling message in a down economy.

“Not only can customers maintain and lengthen the life of analog cameras with encoders, they save the cost of installing new cabling,” Schwemmer says. When a decision is made to migrate legacy systems to networked video, customers have a couple of options, Banerjee says.

“Option 1 is to change the way they record the analog cameras by substituting multichannel encoders for the DVRs, and then recording onto NVRs. This yields better recording quality and improved retention time, too, because it is a more centralized, reliable way to store video,” he says.

This method allows the customer to still use their analog matrix switch for live monitoring, with the additional option of pointing a workstation at the encoders to view the live video.

The second option is to replace the analog matrix switch with encoders and decoders. This saves rack space and is easier to manage. In this configuration, end users are able to record and view live IP video. “By taking the analog matrix switch out of the picture, customers can add IP cameras far beyond the NTSC limiting standard. And by using HD cameras and megapixel cameras, customers achieve a much higher level of resolution and quality,” Banerjee says.

VMS is also providing another path to IP by making it “possible for IP and analog surveillance cameras and equipment to coexist, and be managed as a single solution,” Wilson says. “Customers can use this approach to extend the life of their existing analog equipment, especially their control room equipment, and based on their requirements, add IP technology in the areas where they really need it.”

Be In the Know About User’s TCO

The purpose behind TCO is to help end users determine direct and indirect costs of a product or system. Given the current economic environment, most security customers are demanding a TCO explanation, says Schwemmer. Dealers, she explains, can expose the end user to three key areas when discussing IP video:

HR savings – Fewer customers need to staff control centers. Analytics, scripting, sophisticated alarm and relay linking allow the end user to focus only on video of importance.

Storage – Customers can optimize storage utilization with better compression algorithms and with optimized camera settings. With intelligence pushed to the camera, customers have more flexibility on what and when they want to record.

Shared networks – Customers can leverage existing voice and data networks, potentially a huge savings in installation and management fees.

As Robinson explains, many customers are of the belief that IP is significantly more expensive than analog. But in order to understand the TCO, they have to factor in the use of existing infrastructure. “So if a customer wants to go IP and is already wired for networking, the overall TCO is actually much better than having to pay for cabling for an entire analog system,” he says. “An
IP camera may be more expensive than an analog camera, but when a customer has an existing IP infrastructure in place, the TCO may surprise you.”

One of the most common mistakes when evaluating the cost of a surveillance system, especially when considering IP, is to look at the cost of the camera only, Nilsson says. A network camera is often 30-50 percent more expensive than its analog counterpart. However, dealers need to communicate to their clients that network cameras come equipped with much more functionality, including digitization and compression, audio capabilities, and embedded intelligence.

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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