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Network / IP - News

IP security: a case for switching over

Market research shows that video surveillance market is approaching a tipping point, where the volume and revenue of IP units will soon surpass analogue-based surveillance systems 
Migration to IP-based systems is a necessary way to future-proof an organisation

To say that IP security offers myriad benefits will merely be stating the obvious. The value proposition of IP is strong, as can be seen from its growing adoption. However, navigating the road to IP requires careful consideration of many factors, from network infrastructure to physical security needs. Jeremy Kimber of Honeywell analyses the true benefits of IP and provides some insights on choosing the right network IP system as well the integration of IT and physical security.

Internet Protocol (IP)-based systems are getting more prevalent as viable options alongside traditional analogue-based security systems in newer installations. But how can one rationalise and navigate a switch from analogue to IP - especially in light of tight budgets, undecided industry standards and increased scrutiny on new expenditures? The answer is complex, although one thing is certain: migration to IP is not a matter of if- it is simply a matter of when.

...One thing is certain: migration to IP is not a matter of if- it is simply a matter of when

Market research shows that video surveillance market is approaching a tipping point, where the volume and revenue of IP units will soon surpass analogue-based surveillance systems. The price difference between these two systems will fall, and the capabilities and benefits of IP security will only continue to grow.

Until now, the proprietary nature of IP systems has been a primary barrier to IP adoption. But, In the few years, two industry groups - the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) and the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) - have each emerged with the first versions of their IP system specifications. These specifications offer many potential benefits. In the case of PSIA, for example, the industry group's standard aims to establish a primary protocol architecture not only for communication and compatibility between IP-based cameras, but also with access, intrusion and building controls.

Although market preference is for one agreed-upon standard, this industry development helps further build the case for IP adoption by making it easier than before and laying a solid foundation for shifting to IP-based systems. In light of this inevitable shift, beginning a migration to IP-based systems is a necessary way to future-proof an organisation and prepare for when IP will be the dominant form of video surveillance. To what degree one should migrate to IP, however, is a question with many possible answers.

IP-based systems are also good options to consider for situations involving remote access and security 
 Choosing the right IP network solution is dependent on the depth to which an organisation is willing to go with an installation

Choosing the right Network IP system

The way to most effectively implement IP depends on the needs of an organisation and the depth to which an organisation is willing to go with an installation. As such, one must consider several factors when considering IP. In terms of pure pricing, the difference between analogue and IP security is noticeable, with IP carrying a price premium in today's market. IP cameras offer many feature advantages, though, such as higher resolution images, multiple inputs, relay output and two-way audio, among others - features that cannot be supported by analogue video. IP also enables intelligent video capabilities built right into a camera, such as motion detection or people counting features.

IP or not to IP?

IP migration is not necessarily an either-or situation, however. It is not simply a matter of deciding whether an organisation should make the full switch to IP or not. In some cases, IP can wait.

For example, if an organisation is completely analogue-based and plans to install around this system occasionally, with infrequent upgrades, then sticking with analogue might make sense for the time being. But hybrid solutions, which include a mix of IP and analogue-based technology, are one way to begin migrating systems to IP. In many cases, organisations can leverage existing network infrastructure and cabling to install IP-based systems, so the installation cost can actually be lower than expected due to less cabling.

In addition to lower costs, migrations can also be simpler than initial expectations due to the IT infrastructure and expertise in place for the vast majority of organisations today. If an organisation has solid IT capabilities and knowledge in place, this network familiarity will make installing IP systems fairly smooth. Overall, whether an organisation is looking to make a complete switch to IP or considering a hybrid approach, network accessibility is critical.

Integrating IT and physical security

The way to most effectively implement IP depends on the needs of an organisation and the depth to which an organisation is willing to go with an installation

In making the transition to IP, it is also critical for organisations to bridge any gaps that may exist between IT and physical security departments and to ensure both sides are involved in all decisions and developments associated with IP installations. IP introduces new components and considerations for security personnel, including networking, which entails a new skill set not typically required of traditional security groups. Additionally, the traditional security aspect is something IT personnel are not as well versed in. Thus, buy-in and involvement from both sides - from planning and implementing to keeping the system up and running - is critical for IP migrations.

Once an organisation decides to take on an IP migration, the benefits become apparent. Moving to the network world provides greater storage freedom, since conventional IT types of storage systems are also capable of storing video. IP-based systems offer edge intelligence, and in addition to advanced recording and analytics, this provides simple physical benefits, as well. The IP cameras reduce the amount of cabling and storage space typically required by their analogue counterparts. Because the cameras have edge devices and recording solutions, no cabling is needed for routing back to encoders and DVRs. Pushing functionality out to the IP cameras helps simply ease the physical space problem commonly encountered with traditional analogue-based systems.

Analogue versus IP-based PTZ cameras

Consider the case of PTZ cameras, for example. IP-based PTZ cameras offer advantages over analogue versions for several reasons. These cameras are complex systems, and in order to install an analogue dome, one would have to run analogue, serial and power cables. With IP-based cameras, however, there is no need for different data and video cables. Thus, in addition to benefits including more integration and control capabilities, IP-based cameras can also help alleviate space issues.

IP migration is not necessarily an either-or situation 
 IP-based systems are also good options to consider for situations involving remote access and security

In addition to taking up less space, IP-based systems are also good options to consider for situations involving remote access and security. A recent customer example proves just how beneficial IP can be. The company comprises of many geographically dispersed sites, and it sought to improve the physical security of these locations. To do so, the company installed a hybrid camera solution that combines with access control and intrusion. The system processes analogue camera input, stores that data locally and then provides a network interface that allows company personnel to remotely access camera units to quickly verify alarms.

Of course, any time systems run on a network, organisations must make it a point to ensure the right precautions are in place to keep systems secure and running smoothly, and IP is no exception. Having the right people in place with the necessary network knowledge - such as proper segmentation of the network to prevent network bottlenecks that can threaten system performance - is critical for IP-based systems. These individuals should be well versed in how to properly manage devices over a network, as well.

Security requirements for both IP and analogue systems

When it comes to system security, both IP and analogue-based systems each have their own sets of requirements. Because IP systems are housed on a network, the same IT security technology and considerations must be applied. Incidentally, the threat of

In making the transition to IP, it is also critical for organisations to bridge any gaps that may exist between IT and physical security departments 

security breaches for either type of system often comes down to a question of physical security. Individuals can easily hack into analogue systems, for example, by simply cutting cables and installing proper connectors in order to get a video feed. Also, if a location lacks proper physical security, network-based systems are also vulnerable, no matter how much network security is in place. For example, one classic hacking case involved a person simply picking a facility's locks and then stealing passwords, which enabled him to easily access an IP-based telephone network. Overall, organisations must apply a complete and thorough approach to securing systems, regardless of their analogue and IP-based components.

The same is true when considering IP. One must take a look at an IP-based approach from all angles, and consider how and where to apply it to meet an organisation's needs. Whether an organisation is simply looking to dip its toe in the IP pool and install one camera, or it is looking to make the full analogue-to-IP switch, realised value can be gleaned from each scenario - when IP is applied correctly, carefully and strategically.

Author: Jeremy Kimber, EMEA strategy & channel marketing director, Honeywell Security  Jeremy Kimber
Commercial Operational Leader EMEA
Honeywell Security

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