Video surveillance is shaping up as the next big thing in enterprise security. IP-based cameras from Mobotix and the continued growth of high-capacity network attached storage systems from Overland Storage make it possible for almost any size and type of organization to inexpensively deploy a video surveillance solution. But what was still missing until recently was a comprehensive backend support structure for implementing these solutions and then supporting them long-term.
Configuring and attaching individual IP cameras or storage systems these days is almost a turnkey operation. Organizations only need to run network cables and power for these devices and then configure them for IP connectivity on their Ethernet networks. These are tasks that almost any network administrator working with an electrician has the skills to perform. Where it gets more complicated is when organizations need to design systems for their particular site, so they not only work in conjunction with one another but capture and retain the surveillance information that organizations expect.
As more and more organizations deploy video surveillance solutions, they are finding that there are a number of tough questions that need to be answered. Some examples include:
- What type of camera should be deployed? Today’s IP-based video surveillance cameras have more options than most people realize. For instance, the Mobotix M22 offers a choice of lenses (telescoping, wide angle and day/night), an integrated DVR with high resolution recording capabilities, digital zoom, pan and tilt, microphone and speaker while other models, such as the V12, are housed in a stainless steel casing for outdoor applications to protect against vandalism and even resist handgun attacks. While the price difference between an M22 and a V12 is nearly $2,400, you don’t want to throw away money, but neither do you want to deploy a camera that can be disabled just when you most need the information it is capturing.
- How much and what information do you want to capture and under what circumstances? Video surveillance cameras now can capture a tremendous amount of detail with some IP cameras achieving resolution levels as high as 2048×1536 pixels. While the higher resolution, the more data the camera captures, it also requires more storage. What may be ideal for heavily trafficked areas may not be for hallways and parking lots, which only see activity during certain times of the day. Organizations may want a high level of resolution for certain periods of time so they can clearly identify what is occurring, but they also may want the camera to store and capture some video during periods of inactivity. Furthermore, there may be a desire for the camera to have some sort of motion sensor so that it starts to capture more video after detecting some level of activity. Then there is the matter of proper lighting. If the light is insufficient, even if the camera is recording, it may not capture sufficient detail if it’s too dark.
- What size storage system is needed? Storing video to networked storage is easy, but sizing the backend storage system for all that video data, especially when it is coming from multiple cameras at the same time, becomes a little more difficult. Not only do organizations need to appropriately size the storage system with enough capacity to store all the video data, it’s also important that the system is not too large so there’s overspending on storage capacity.
It is these sorts of issues that Overland Storage’s new Solutions Engineering Group was designed to address. Since most organizations are looking to purchase an integrated, turnkey video surveillance solution from providers and not individual cameras and storage systems, Overland Storage has created a specific engineering team tasked with delivering customized video solutions to meet customers’ unique expectations. Specifically, this group will design which components (e.g., cameras, storage and software) should be part of a solution, integrate them, test them in different configurations, document them and deploy the solution.
According to Overland Storage’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Ravi Pendekanti, this group will remain in place for the foreseeable future even after the initial video surveillance designs and configurations are built. This is because Overland’s resellers are finding that even when they have standard configurations and designs to follow, when they enter accounts there are always challenges specific to that job since the environment in every organization is different. It is for those circumstances that resellers and customers can call upon this group for expert assistance in deploying the most appropriate solution for the environment.
Overland’s recent decision to create a Solutions Engineering Group positions the company as one of the early leaders in the rapidly growing market. According to ABI Research, the need for video surveillance is estimated to expand to almost a $46 billion market by 2013 and enterprises will want providers that can deliver fully integrated solutions with end-to-end support. By investigating and understanding the hard questions that organizations are sure to have and ask during implementations and putting a specialized team in place now for the long haul, Overland Storage looks ready to ride this new technology wave.