A picture is worth a thousand words, so even in a world with a great deal of economic uncertainty, the video surveillance market is still forecasted to grow 30 percent or more this year and beyond, according to Security Products magazine. This is mostly due to the fact that corporate security needs are growing more critical. Yet the reasons behind the explosion of video surveillance go well beyond just security; companies are finding that the sharp pictures possible with the new generation of digital IP cameras can help them better analyze shoppers’ behaviors and buying patterns at their stores.
Analog cameras still dominate the world of video surveillance, but the rise in corporate adoption of digital cameras that are attached to IP networks is accelerating overall acceptance. Here are some key reasons:
- Digital cameras offer better resolution than analog cameras. The fuzzy, grainy video streams produced by analog cameras cannot compare to the high resolution pictures from digital cameras. This especially comes into play when trying to identify suspects in a robbery or track customers’ eyeball movements as they shop.
- Digital cameras connect directly to Ethernet IP networks. Using analog devices, companies need to run cabling and place recording devices near the analog cameras. In contrast, digital cameras connect directly to standard Ethernet IP networks and remove distance limitations by enabling companies to place storage devices almost anywhere on the network.
- Simplified installation. Analog cameras may require running power and installing an outlet to plug-in the camera. Digital IP cameras draw power directly from the Ethernet network, so companies avoid the need to run power to where IP cameras are installed, thus making them faster and easier to implement and configure.
This does not mean, however, that IP cameras are completely “plug-and-play,” especially when they are being deployed in corporate settings. When installing and placing IP cameras, companies need to ensure there is adequate lighting near the cameras to capture sufficient detail of the surroundings.
Properly time stamping the video coming from the different IP cameras is critical to establishing when an event occurred. If the time varies on IP cameras on a network, it calls into question the validity of the recorded video, so the time stamp on all the IP cameras needs to remain consistent.
In addition, there is the important matter of determining the amount of storage needed. The amount of storage needed to retain all the video data will vary according to several key factors: image size & quality, capture rates (measured in frames per second,) and also the amount of movement happening in the viewing area, to name a few.
Just because IP cameras and network storage are now independently easy to set up, configuring them to work together and capture all the information that companies need is still not a given. To address this, Overland Storage and Mobotix Vision Systems recently formed an alliance that will ease the installation and configuration challenges associated with jointly deploying their independent products while also cutting down the number of components required to deploy a robust video surveillance system.
Mobotix, which is fourth worldwide and second in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) in IP camera market share, has a strong track record for meeting customer demands for high-resolution digital images. As a pioneer in the development of IP cameras and software, Mobotix cameras record and push data directly to network storage over an Ethernet network via CIFS or NFS using their open MxPEG format. This efficient approach to video recording utilizes less bandwidth while storing high-resolution video images over the network directly to a file share.
Mobotix cameras control the writing of data by pushing it to a server rather than having the server pull it via http, which eliminates the need for an intermediate server while making the entire system more resilient. Mobotix cameras possess a local buffer that can store video data should a network interruption occur and the intelligence to detect if and when such a disruption occurs. If one is detected, the camera can then resume writing to the networked storage device when it becomes available According to Steve Rogers, Director of Solutions for Overland Storage, these are the features that caught the eye of Overland Storage and led to forging a partnership between the companies.
The partnership would not be complete without Overland Storage’s Snap Server. According to Perter Mckee, International Director for Mobotix, the partnership with Overland creates an easy-to-use turnkey solution bundle that is both flexible and reliable. Since Overland’s Snap Server is IP-based, Mobotix cameras can write directly and independently to a Snap Server network share without an intermediate server. Further, Snap Server is much more than just a generic NAS device that Mobotix cameras can use to store video.
Snap Server accommodates more cameras because of its expandable backend storage infrastructure and offers features such as Network Time Protocol (NTP), “restartability” of the system in the event of power outages, support for active directory, reliable enterprise drives and expandability as an appliance that does not require a build-out process.
Demand for video surveillance systems from organizations of all sizes is growing as companies find new applications, ranging from security and litigation protection to employee training and customer monitoring. As the number of companies deploying video surveillance systems continues to grow, many of these converts are also discovering that while IP cameras and network storage may be easy to install, deploying them together requires cooperation between the respective vendors. Thanks to the new partnership between Overland Storage and Mobotix, companies can now realize their dream of efficiently and skillfully deploying configurable and scalable video surveillance and networked storage solutions.