When it comes to surveillance, there is a wide variety of products the choose from, but there are only two main systems to consider. These are the ip system and the old analogue cctv system that has served the security industry for decades. It seems, however, that old faithful is losing the battle with the relatively new arrival.
IP systems are relatively new because, in truth, they are already 15 years old. Their arrival in the 1990s was not remarkable from a residential and retail point of view, with the large, awkward design of this new surveillance equipment suiting only large industrial areas. It was much the same as the old mobile phone, which was endearingly nicknamed the brick.
However, as technology advanced, the ip camera became more compact, and is now, in some cases, smaller than the original analogue camera. But that is not the only advantage that ip has over the analogue cctv system.
The primary concern for any security camera is that the quality of picture is good enough to make positive identification of a subject should there be an incident. It is vital when it comes to the police, for example, gathering evidence and building a case against a criminal. With analogue systems this was never a guarantee, with low level resolution often resulting in grainy or blurry images that could allow proof the subject was the criminal in question.
Resolution is hugely important, and although there have been advances made in analogue systems, with the development of high definition imaging, it still falls some way short of the images that ip or digital cameras can capture.
With the digital cameras available today, the image on screen can be increased to as much as three times the actual image taken, with a simple expansion of the frame. However, the detail is clear because the digital technology used guards against excessive pixelisation.
Even high definition analogue images retain a blurriness, with the original frame size not permitting perfect images, which ensures poor quality zooms.
Analogue technology is simply too slow to deal with rapidly moving objects caught on camera. So, for drivers who have been speeding in urban areas, for example, their vehicle registration number may not be caught clearly. In fact, it has been known for these blurred images to result in incorrect registration numbers being identified, with 609 seeming to be 607 on the screen, for example. The result is a shocked car owner fined for speeding in an area they have never driven in. The problem relates to the system of image interlacing, which involves horizontal lines of pixels changing in sequence to show movement. The changes, however, are not quick enough.
Ip security cameras capture images using a system known as progressive scanning. This system involves taking individual pictures, scanning the field of vision so to speak, and changing that picture completely. The result is a seamless sequence of images, showing movement clearly no matter what the speed. It means great detail on moving objects can be retained, even small dints or scratches on a car door.
Access From Anywhere
The most obvious advantage for users in choosing ip camera, is that images can be stored on the internet via a network video server, and then accessed from anywhere in the world. It means that a person that has installed an ip system in their home, can log in while on holiday on the other side of the world to check that everything is okay. Also, business owners can maintain vigilance from their own home, or while at a conference 1,000 miles away.
Analogue cctv pictures, on the other hand, can only be stored in a system run on cable, making the whole set up rather messy and complicated. Images can be digitised and stored on digital video recorders, but the quality remains low.
The system also means that the amount of surveillance equipment used is limited, with any digital video recorder having only a certain number of input sockets, and therefore cameras to take from. The alternative, however, has an endless number, with each camera sending pictures to the server independently.
It is true that ip surveillance systems have made a dramatic difference to the industry, and it is likely that continuing developments in the area of ip technology is certain to improve standards further.