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Advantages of using digital video surveillance systems for your security needs
The wave of the future in video surveillance is in digital video surveillance systems. Besides fighting terrorism, digital security systems installed in public places, buses, or retail centers can deter crime, provide the police with leads, help citizens feel safer, and improve the economy of a crime-stricken area. These IP-based systems not only capture precise images, they do so in a way that is scalable within a company's current IP network with pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras that are fast and sophisticated.
These digital surveillance systems can cost upwards of a million dollars since they include the digital surveillance cameras and the requisite connection to the IP-based network. Although the cost of these systems is much greater than traditional CCTV surveillance systems, the advantages of using Internet surveillance systems far outweigh their initial start-up costs and most company's CCTV analog systems have now gone digital for improved performance, surveillance camera maneuverability, and quick user feedback.
How digital surveillance systems work
A digital security system consists of hardware and software components that collect and transmit the surveillance camera information via wireless technologies, fiber optic cable or over any IP-based network. Both power and data can be carried on the same cable by using PoE (power over Ethernet). Some cameras in a digital system may also have their own IP address for full access to the Internet. These surveillance images are then transferred to a PC or laptop in a centralized control room to be viewed by an observer using a compact, flat-screen monitor that offers multi-screen displays. An IP-based digital system is unlike the traditional closed CCTV system, whose images must be monitored using multiple monitors, sites and personnel.
The digital system can store surveillance data onto DVRs (digital video recorders), some of which can store data up to 10 weeks -- far more than CCTV analog systems. After the DVR has backed up the images, they can be exported to discs using the CD-RW drive, and then they can be sent to remote PCs, laptops, or handheld devices within moments via the network. Digital recording is done 24/7, without the need for cumbersome CCTV videotapes that have limited storage capacities.
Key returns when you replace your CCTV system with a digital surveillance system
When a company or government chooses to invest in digital surveillance systems, they need to invest the time in finding out how large an area needs to be watched, as well as the area's situational parameters. A digital system requires a large capital investment up front, but it is guaranteed to produce a positive ROI if the cameras are properly placed and if the images are consistently monitored.
One of the reasons for the increased cost of the digital systems over CCTV lies in the hi-tech cameras, which greatly surpass the analog CCTV cameras. The cameras have features ranging from fixed models to direction-controlled or dome models with automatic pan, tilt and zoom functions that can create sharp images in the 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution range. With the extra zooming and panning capabilities, one security camera can do the work of five, which is more efficient in the long run.
On the highest end, there are cameras with infrared capabilities to pick up motion and changes in light regardless of poor lighting conditions. Some these high-end cameras even have 3-D imaging to better identify suspects. Companies investing in the digital system should also consider purchasing camera accessories such as weather-proofing and added material that's resistant to tampering and hazardous substances.
A promising future for IP-based surveillance systems
IP-based surveillance systems will show a lot of growth in the IT and security industries because they offer a scalable, company-owned solution that offers the advantages of flexibility and low cost of ownership. A digital system can be built within an already existing IP network, and this fact will make a company's budget department breathe easier. Police departments and other law enforcement agencies will also be interested in VCA (video content analysis) technology, which compares real-time and recorded images with a database, much like in biometric technology. Suspects will be apprehended sooner and further crimes may be stopped when a digital camera image of their faces are matched in a criminal database. VCA will also greatly increase the efficiency of CCTV operators in their efforts to monitor and analyze an overwhelming amount of video content.
About the Author
Alice Osborn is a successful freelance writer and contributor to Video-Surveillance-Guide.com. Click here to visit Video Surveillance Guide.com
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