Network Video

Imagine monitoring video of a remote gas pipeline compressor site in Saskatchewan from an office in Calgary! Vista supplies Network Video Systems and Broadband Wireless Infrastructure that makes this a reality.

Network Video Surveillance Systems

Historically, video surveillance has been performed with analog video cameras within Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) systems. These systems utilize coaxial cable or optical fibre as the transmission medium, and may include distribution amplifiers, multiplexers, matrix switches, video recorders, and telemetry receivers. Other than the video recorders, these are all relatively specialized devices requiring support from personnel that specialize in analog video systems.

Network Video Surveillance Systems, also called IP-based Video Surveillance Systems, use wired or wireless Internet Protocol (IP) network infrastructure to transport and distribute digital video, audio and other data. The digital video originates from within the network camera, and is transported within data packets over Ethernet cable and over networks utilizing standard network switching and routing devices. An IP-based network video system allows video to be monitored and recorded from anywhere on a Local Area Network (LAN), or even a Wide Area Network (WAN) such as the Internet.

Analog cameras can be migrated into a Network Video Surveillance System by using video encoders that encode the analog video signal into IP data packets. The network camera, the video encoder and the video management software are considered the cornerstones of an IP-based Network Video Surveillance solution, with the video management software responsible for the video and audio recording, storage, retrieval and management. The network, the video management software host server and video storage components are all standard IT equipment, and the ability to use common off-the-shelf equipment is one of the main benefits of network video.

Network Video Cameras

Other than the lenses within the cameras, network cameras are digital devices that consist of lenses, an image sensor, a processor, and memory. Images from the lenses are digitized by Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) or Charge Coupled Device (CCD) image sensors, with the CCD image sensor generally providing a wider dynamic range for better low light performance. The processor performs image processing, image compression, video analysis (if available on-camera), and networking activities. The memory holds the processor software application and temporarily stores image data while the processor operates on the data. Network cameras may also utilize SD and SDHC memory cards to hold video imagery for extended periods of time (several hours worth), with this being a measure taken to maintain video recordings when there is a network disruption between the camera and the network video storage device.

Many network cameras are now capable of drawing power from the Ethernet cable, so the Ethernet cable functions to support data exchange and provide power to the camera. This capability is referred to as Power over Ethernet (PoE) and has the added benefit that a PoE compatible camera can be placed wherever an Ethernet cable can be pulled, because a power receptacle is not required for the camera.

Benefits of Network Video Surveillance Technology

IP-based Network Video Surveillance Systems provide new powerful functionality previously unavailable in analog video surveillance systems. An end-to-end Network Video Surveillance System by Vista enhances security and provides:

  • High definition video for ease of identification;
  • Video analytics to signal an alarm when the system detects events such as perimeter breach, loitering, left objects, motion detection, and more;
  • High data compression for storage and network efficiency;
  • IP-based connectivity for cameras and storage devices allowing for a lower total cost of ownership; and
  • Faster and easier evidence analysis.

In a video surveillance application, high image quality is essential to be able to clearly capture an incident in progress and identify persons or objects involved. Analog cameras simply can’t compete with the resolution available in Network Video Surveillance cameras, and storage of the recordings is simplified with the use of standard Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices that average IT managers can support. Retrieval of video for review is quick and easy, and analysis is far easier and quicker too. Rather than reviewing all of the stored video for events, video analytics enables reviewers to identify only the interesting recordings (such as recordings of detected motion) to drastically minimize the time consumed in evidence analysis.

Video analytics is taken steps further by having the system detect events that generate alarms to notify monitoring staff. These alarms may include perimeter breach, loitering, left objects, motion detection, fallen worker, and more. Alarms generated by video analytics allow for an immediate response to evaluate, monitor, and react to events, which is far more enabling than CCTV systems where poor quality video is evaluated for evidence hours or days after an event. In this regard, a Network Video system is more like a security system, although it can be an effective forensic analysis system too.

The IP-based nature of Network Video Surveillance systems has several advantages that result in lower total cost of ownership compared to CCTV systems:

  • An IP network is often already in place, allowing the Network Video Surveillance system to utilize the same infrastructure – including much of the cabling
  • IP-based infrastructure is less expensive than what the coaxial and optical fibre transmission media required to support CCTV systems
  • Management and equipment costs are lower because Network Video Surveillance systems utilize industry standard storage and software application servers
  • Trouble-shooting and maintenance is much easier, with much of it performed remotely
  • Network Video systems are highly scalable and flexible because any number of network video products can be added or moved without significant or costly changes

Call us toll free at 1.800.452.1295 or email us to discuss your network video requirements and a solution that is optimized for your specific needs.

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