When shopping for a security system for your home or business, it may be easy to focus on the specific features of the security cameras. However, much attention should be paid to video surveillance storage as well. DVRs (digital video recorders) are an integral part to the overall surveillance system. Here are some of the features and specifications of DVRs that you should pay close attention to.
A frame rate is a unit of measure denoting the number of frames recorded in each second by a DVR in a specific resolution. Calculations should be made based on the real-time frame rate of about 30 frames per second (FPS). For example, in order to record real-time video on a standard 16-channel system, you would need a DVR that has 480 FPS.
Remember that sellers may claim real-time images as the units display live video at about 30 FPS on each channel, but this needs to be assessed based on the recorded video footage (not the live video). A basic unit may record videos at less than 30 FPS while a top-end unit may deliver 30 FPS on each channel.
Resolution is the size of the image displayed or recorded. The most popular resolution is CIF – 360×240, and the highest is specified as D1 – 720×480. This is an important specification to consider as larger recorded images afford you additional details for review. For example, 4CIF images can feature views detailed four times as much as a base CIF image. You can find a variety of DVRs boasting anywhere from CIF to D1 resolutions.
When the video is transferred to the DVR for storage, it is first compressed to save space and to make Internet viewing fluid. Compression standards can vary from basic to nearly no compression protocols (ex. MJPEG or wavelet) to the top-end compression methods (ex. MPEG4). Currently, the highest compression standards are H.264 (which is 40% more efficient than previous versions).
While compression methods may vary in DVRs, hybrid DVRs are available. These are capable of using a combination of compression methods, and can also be used to do compressions separately (Internet streaming vs. recording).
You will need to know how much data your DVR can hold. Presently, baseline DVRs may allow one or two hard drives only, while more advanced models now offer 6, 8, or more internal hard drives based on user requirements.
Popular DVRs also offer redundant storage (RAID) configuration and FTP uploads. The FTP uploads feature allows backup of video for the DVR at an off-premise FTP server. This helps to avoid any possibility of loss in the case of a local system crash or a DVR robbery.
Audio can sometimes be an important addition to video footage. Some DVRs may accommodate synced audio and video, with lower-end versions having one to four channels and higher-end options offering up to 16 channels. Be sure to review the laws and legalities in regards to audio recording.
There can be a wide variety of video output, from BNC to VGA to HDMI. If you have a mix of these, you may need to invest in quality converters to ensure proper connections and performance.
Network IP surveillance systems allow users to access video footage via the Internet from virtually anywhere. Advanced systems even allow viewing more than one DVR at a time. These DVRs can boast specialized features such as camera groupings, e-mapping, different levels of user privileges, and more.
If you need assistance in choosing the right DVR and security cameras for you, please feel free to contact us 888-203-6294 or browse our vast selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
To better understand the current surveillance industry, you should know a little history. Without going into great detail, here are some important milestones of the video surveillance industry from the past decade.
Ten years ago, SD analog cameras and DVRs reigned supreme. While video management software and IP cameras were available, they had yet to become a mainstream solution.
Also around this time, some megapixel cameras were offered. They only supported MJPEG encoding (which made storage and transmission of these more expensive), but they boasted better quality than analog cameras.
And still in the early stages, but a topic of interest, were analytics, which had limited deployment during this time.
Around 2008-2012, IP cameras got a boost from the adoption of H.264 for megapixel cameras. Because IP camera usage was up, VMS software followed suit. The benefits of this upgrade were clear, making it easier for consumers to understand and accept the price increase.
As megapixel and IP cameras grew in popularity, interest in connecting cameras to the cloud was rising. While the dream was to eliminate any on-site recording and maintenance, bandwidth limitations and poor cloud VMS killed the dream.
In 2011, video analytics remained off the radar thanks to performance problems, unhappy customers, and ObjectVideo suing the industry. Even today, analytics are still slowly crawling out of the hole.
In the next few years, edge storage promised the elimination of NVRs and recorder appliances since the storage and software would be housed within the IP camera. Unfortunately, reliability issues deterred early adopters, and the introduction of inexpensive recorder appliances pushed edge storage to the back burner. Rather than becoming a main solution, edge storage was more commonly employed to provide redundancy for higher-end applications.
WDR & Low Light Conditions
Over time, surveillance camera technology has improved to better accommodate low light environments. Before, WDR (wide dynamic range) cameras, which automatically adjusted to harsh lighting conditions, were expensive and limited in availability. Low light performance was generally poor, and even worse in MP cameras (WDR in these were relatively non-existent). Today, the enhancements in quality are evident.
Smart CODECs dynamically adapt compression and I frame interval to scene conditions, which ultimately reduces bandwidth requirements and offsets the need to move to H.265. Within recent years, we have seen a rise in this technology. Moving forward, broad support of Smart CODECs will eventually drive down storage costs and remote network challenges.
For more than a decade, IP was the only practical way to deliver MP/HD, however the introduction of HD Analog has successfully killed off SD analog. HD analog uses coaxial cable for transmissions and has dominated sales for homes and small businesses. Some argue that it is just a temporary fix, while others say it will expand features and options to become a mainstay.
Cybersecurity has only recently become a major topic in video surveillance, however, many still brush it off. Though recent events have spurred concerns (ex. Sony hacking, Hikvision hacks, Axis’ major exploit), most users perceive a low risk of cybersecurity. As our systems become more connected, we can only hope that cybersecurity is better addressed and taken seriously among manufacturers and consumers alike.
Chinese manufacturers have grown as contenders, with their earlier deployments showing poor quality and performance. However, over time, their products have improved and yet still maintain relatively low pricing. These manufacturers were originally OEM suppliers to Western brands, but recent years have shown their branded sales increase in the West.
Drive Down Costs
It seems manufacturers are in a current race to offer the lowest prices (whether to gain share or stay afloat) and consumers seem to be driving this shift. With numerous DIY and simple home solutions, we will see where the video surveillance industry is headed next.
What are your predictions for the future of video surveillance? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
To shop our selection of security camera equipment and packages, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For questions about our products and installation services, or to schedule a free* site survey, please call 1-888-203-6294.
The presence of security cameras often deters people from behaving badly and provides evidence if and when a crime occurs. Most businesses employ video surveillance for loss prevention purposes. However, as surveillance technologies get smarter, video surveillance can play a larger role.
Surveillance data can provide a wealth of information for different industries. For example, in retail, not only do security cameras help loss prevention, but surveillance footage can hold the key to increase sales and improve the shopping experience. Video surveillance data can replace “mystery shoppers” as a more effective avenue of collecting consumer data. For the transportation and shipping industry, surveillance analytics combined with RFID tags can help track cargo, lower operational costs and improve traffic flow.
To achieve such excellent benefits, businesses must seriously consider an effective storage solution. In order to get substantial results, studies must evaluate data over long periods of time, forcing business to get smarter about video surveillance data storage. When choosing the appropriate storage method, the main components to consider are performance, access, and cost.
Because high quality equipment can be costly, considering proper surveillance storage often goes by the wayside. This should not be the case if business analytics are your focus. For an effective system, your means for storage must be able to handle high traffic and high bandwidth without dropping data. If your cameras have high definition, the bandwidth load will only increase from there. For effective performance, your storage should be able to upload, process, and allow access as quickly as possible.
While you need a strong performing system, you must balance your cost. You can spend your entire budget on a storage system that can perform appropriately, but may lack functional organizational. On the other hand, you can cut costs by implementing more affordable means of storage, but again, organizing and accessing this data can become a nightmare.
Your best bet when it comes to storage would be to employ a high-performance, tiered-storage infrastructure that can be managed as a single system. A tiered structure allows data to be stored as a cost-effective medium. The files will be stored based on user defined policies, allowing you to be in total control of your data. Costs are lowered and data is analyzed more effectively.
Business analytics of surveillance data can afford your business with a multitude of benefits. But you can only capitalize on these benefits with an effective storage system. Pay close attention to your options and evaluate your needs before making a final decision.
Are you considering or currently implementing business analytics to your surveillance data? Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Want to estimate how much storage you will need for you system? Looking for affordable security cameras and equipment? Visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294.