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6 Economic and Performance Considerations of Upgrading from Analog to IP Cameras
By Ron O'Reilly



When security camera technology changes make it attractive to “upgrade” there are many things to be aware of.

1. Do you need to completely replace your entire video camera infrastructure?

This depends on the severity of the information needed. If the security risk is lower in some areas of your facility than others, then Analog cameras may be adequate. If a wider area with a long view from the camera such as a large parking lot, then IP cameras that offer much better detail at a greater distance, especially when you need to zoom in. You may want to leave some Analog cameras in place and enhance your system with IP. This can be achieved without having to completely start over.

2. Do you need to change out all analog cameras?

The security industry has been quickly responding to this challenge. Honeywell for instance has a “Fusion” DVR/NVR that allows you to run both types of cameras through the same head end as opposed to using a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) and a separate NVR (Network Video Recorder) This modification will save you time as well as equipment and installation costs.

3. Is a Hybrid approach of Analog and Digital an appropriate choice?

It can be an excellent choice when budgets allow only so many improvements in a given year. For example, in a 32 or 16 Channel system, you could transition over a 2 year period and realize a significant improvement and have a future proof system now.

4. What are the advantages of IP over Analog?

As stated earlier, IP cameras handle the details better in areas that matter for Facial Recognition, License Plate Capture, Parking Lot and Large Warehouse applications where “who did what, when and how” is critical. Today’s IP systems are very simple to connect and use. IP cameras are rated for picture clarity by Mega Pixels and Analog by TVL Lines. The higher number of pixels or lines the better the image to view and retrieve. Each, have a good better and best level of quality. While an estimated 70% of the security market is using Analog, IP is gaining ground and is becoming more user friendly for the end user, IT departments and Facilities Managers.

5. How much bandwidth will the system require?

This depends on several factors, the amount of information that you are trying to capture, the clarity of the images and the demand for information throughout the day. IP cameras are much more dependent on bandwidth than Analog.
This is a good discussion to have with your Security Consultant and the IT Department. You’ll be able to determine if the system fits within the existing network or will you need to add a separate network dedicated to handle your IP cameras?

6. How do you know which system to choose ?

To achieve the latest quality of IP cameras can be a considerable investment if you have purchased an analog system in the last 1-3 years and intend to completely replace it. However if your system is older than this you might want to consider a hybrid or complete change in order to keep your retrievable video information current. If you don’t have a system yet, then look into both options and you will find that while they are not much different in start up and operational costs, IP delivers on performance in may ways that Analog can only dream of.



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About the Author

Ron O'Reilly, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions
2700 Richards Road
Bellevue, WA 98005
206 465-5718

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