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10 Steps to a successful IP CCTV system

10 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL IP SURVEILLANCE INSTALLATION
(Source: http://www.axis.com/files/articles/ar_10steps_secinfowatch_us_0612.pdf • Originally published on SecurityInfoWatch.com • 2006)

As IP surveillance is quickly becoming the most flexible and future-proof option for security and surveillance installations, it is important for users to understand common pitfalls, customization options and the advantages of a fully digital system.

There are 10 steps that security professionals can take in order to implement a successful IP Surveillance system.

Step 1: Choosing a network camera

It is important to select cameras that meet the needs of your organisation and installation. This includes cameras that can be pan/tilt/zoom, vandal-proof, weather- resistant, or fixed-dome products.

Each type of camera can be blended into an IP Surveillance system to create a total package that solves your security needs. Also, we have to consider that not all network cameras are created equal. Some low cost network cameras may look appealing at first, but security professionals need to understand how the components of a network camera affect the camera’s performance and durability.

Network Camera Check List Suggestions
• Lens: F2.0 and auto iris for outdoor applications
• Image sensor: Progressive scan CCD image sensor or high quality CMOS
• Resolution: 640×480
• Frame rate: 30 frames per second
• Video formats: MJPEG & MPEG4 at Advanced Simple Profile level 5
• Power over Ethernet: 802.3af compliant
• Audio: G.711 or AAC-LC format
• Software compatibility: Open API supported by many Network Video Recorder software developers • Security: Multi-level user name/password protection minimum and IP filtering and HTTPS for high security requirements
• Management: Built in web interface and multi-camera management application

Step 2: Compression

All digital video surveillance systems use some type of compression for the digital video. Without effective compression, our networks would grind to a halt due to the size of the video files.

Selecting the right compression is vital, and includes choices between proprietary or industry standard modes such as Motion JPEG or MPEG-4. Compression can also determine whether video is admissible in court cases – an important consideration for security and surveillance installations.

Step 3: Video Management

These days, video systems can evaluate situations and take the appropriate action, rather than just passively recording video. Video management tools are dependent on the application and many factors have to be considered.

Factors to consider are available bandwidth, storage capabilities, scalability, frame-rate control and integration capabilities.

No matter the type or size, there are common features in almost every video management system including:
• Motion-Based Recording – Video motion detection (VMD) defines activity by analysing data and differences in a series of images
• Alarm Generation – Video management systems permit users to generate alarms based on motion
• Frame Rate Control – Video management allows for frame rate control – meaning that video is monitored and recorded at pre-determined frame rates.
• Simultaneous Camera Monitoring – Video management makes it possible for multiple users to view several different cameras at the same time, and increase the resolution for cameras with activity or alarms.
• Camera Management – Video management systems allow users to administrate and manage cameras from a single interface.

The range of devices that can be connected to a network camera’s input port is almost infinite

 

Device type Description Usage
Door contact Simple magnetic switch detecting opening of doors or windows. When the door is opened the camera takes action sending full motion video and notifications
PIR A sensor that detects motion based on heat emission When motion is detected, the camera takes action sending full motion video and notifications
Glass break detector. An active sensor that measures air pressure in a room and detects sudden pressure drops. When an air pressure drop is detected, the camera takes action sending full motion video and notifications

 

The output port’s function is to allow the camera to automatically trigger external devices by remote control from human operators, or software applications.
Device type Description Usage
Door relay A relay that controls the opening and closing of door locks. The locking/unlocking of a door controlled by a remote operator (over the network).
Siren Alarm. Siren configured to sound when alarm is detected The camera activates the siren either when motion is detected using the built-in VMD or using “information” from the digital input.
Alarm/intrusion system Alarm security system continuously monitoring a normally closed, or normally open, alarm circuit. The camera acts as an integrated part of the alarm system serving as a sensor and enhancing the system with event triggered video transfers.

 

The range of devices that can be connected to a network camera’s input port is almost infinite

Device type Description Usage
Door contact Simple magnetic switch detecting opening of doors or windows. When the door is opened the camera takes action sending full motion video and notifications
PIR A sensor that detects motion based on heat emission When motion is detected, the camera takes action sending full motion video and notifications
Glass break detector. An active sensor that measures air pressure in a room and detects sudden pressure drops. When an air pressure drop is detected, the camera takes action sending full motion video and notifications

The output port’s function is to allow the camera to automatically trigger external devices by remote control from human operators, or software applications.
Device type Description Usage
Door relay A relay that controls the opening and closing of door locks. The locking/unlocking of a door controlled by a remote operator (over the network).
Siren Alarm. Siren configured to sound when alarm is detected The camera activates the siren either when motion is detected using the built-in VMD or using “information” from the digital input.
Alarm/intrusion system Alarm security system continuously monitoring a normally closed, or normally open, alarm circuit. The camera acts as an integrated part of the alarm system serving as a sensor and enhancing the system with event triggered video transfers.

Step 4: Storage

The ability to use open storage solutions is one of the main benefits with IP surveillance. Considerations when determining storage requirements include frame rate, the amount of time the video needs to be stored, the required redundancy, and which type of storage fits best, for example a storage area network, or network attached storage.

Server attached storage puts the video storage directly on the same server or PC as the video management software.

Network attached storage offers shared storage to all clients on the network, and is a single storage device directly attached to the LAN.

To not lose data upon the event of a file server failure, many companies and integrators are turning to data replication systems that automatically replicate data on other units in the event that the primary data server fails.

Step 5: Incorporating Analogue Cameras

If there are existing analogue cameras, they can also be integrated into a network video system using video servers. The analogue camera is simply connected to a video server, which digitizes, compresses and transmits video over the network.

A network video system in which video is continuously transported over an IP network. Video servers turn the analogue security system into an IP-based video solution.

Many times, this is useful in reducing installation costs because older equipment can continue to be used. However, there are instances in which it is not sufficient to simply convert an analogue camera video stream into digital due to limitations in video quality.

Step 6: Wireless Networking

Sometimes wireless solutions are the best and most cost-effective option for security and surveillance installations. For example, wireless networks are a common choice in historic buildings where the installation of cables would damage the interior. Wireless is also a preferred option within facilities where there is a need to move cameras to new locations on a regular basis.

The technology can also be used to bridge sites without expensive ground cabling, or to add cameras in difficult to reach locations such as parking lots or city centres. Using wireless with network cameras and video servers can be done in a few different ways.

Some cameras come with built in wireless functionality, but any network camera or video server can be incorporated into a wireless application using a wireless device point — a device with an Ethernet port and a wireless connection or built-in antenna.

Step 7: Designing the Network

Each network design will be specific to the needs of the user and the specified installation. Beyond the actual cameras, it is important to consider IP addressing and transport protocols along with transmission methods, bandwidth, scalability and network security.

Step 8: Security

Securing video is one of the most important steps in creating a successful IP surveillance installation. Nearly all security and surveillance applications contain sensitive information that should not be available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Understanding and choosing the right security options – such as firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs) and password protection – will eliminate concerns that an IP surveillance system is open to the public.

The most common ways to secure communications on a network and the Internet include authentication, authorization, IP address filtering, VPNs and Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer (HTTPS).

Some of these methods secure the data as it travels over the network, while others secure the network path itself. Authentication identifies the user to the network and is most commonly done by providing verifiable information like a username and password, and/or by using an X509 (SSL) certificate.

Network security measures in a VPN and SSL/TLS encryption system

Step 9: Hot Technologies

Network video allows for new capabilities in the surveillance industry that were not feasible in an analogue environment, either because they were impossible to implement, or just too cumbersome. Today, far more video is being recorded than anyone could ever monitor or search.
Advanced network cameras can have built-in motion detection and event handling. In addition, more intelligent algorithms – such as number (license) plate recognition and people counting – are being integrated into security and surveillance systems.

Network cameras and intelligent video have important synergies that make the systems more reliable and effective than those with a digital video recorder or other centralised system.

Some of the hottest new technologies available in a network video installation are intelligent video, megapixel cameras, and something called immersive imaging.

Step 10: Best Practices

Today, there are well over a million network cameras and video servers installed worldwide. These installations range in size from just a single camera to thousands of cameras, and are found in almost every type of industry application. No matter the size, every installation benefits from a simple set of best practices that will ensure all network video equipment is optimized. These tips can be summarised by the following:

• Take Inventory
• Evaluate Site Conditions
• Determine Camera Usage
• Make Friends with IT
• Manage and Budget the Project

At Secutron Fire & Integrated Systems, CCTV is one of our company’s main areas of expertise. For more information on and/or assistance with your CCTV system, please contact us on +27 12 997 3139.

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