INTRO TO IP VIDEO
IP Video solutions are
increasingly being used in several industries due to its numerous
benefits. You can easily keep a check on activities happening at a
remote location by using IP video surveillance system. This system also
scores over the old analog CCTV systems. IP is a very flexible and
affordable surveillance technology and you can easily check the
recorded footage later as per needs. IP surveillance systems are
scalable and can be installed in any industry without any problems.
BENEFITS OF NETWORK VIDEO
Video surveillance has come a
long way since CCTV devices. IP based video surveillance is much more
improved and gives much better protection than the CCTV devices. The IP
video surveillance solutions are much simpler and hassle free and
provide much better facilities and benefits.
REMOTE VIDEO MONITORING
IP based video surveillance is
very easily accessible through internet. Using internet, the users can
get constant live camera feeds via internet access. The videos captured
by the IP set up can be broadcasted over any IP network or internet.
The access can also be availed on a mobile phone or different types of
hand held devices.
Scalability of the IP based
surveillance systems is one of its major advantages. It is very easy to
expand the network of the IP surveillance system with growing security
needs. All you need to do is add extra IP cameras to the existing IP
network. These cameras can be situated anywhere along the network and
there is no hassle of complex and expensive cabling.
IMPROVED STORAGE CAPABILITIES
The storage facilities of an IP
camera are quite useful. With increased storage facilities and improved
methods, the archive can be dug up for any of the stored videos with
ease. This kind of a set up is far more convenient than the previous
analog surveillance devices which stores the videos on VHS cassette
WHAT IS AN IP CAMERA?
An IP camera allows you to
capture and transmit video footage through an IP network. Using this
advanced technology, you can easily watch and save the video images
over both local and remote locations. With this viewing and managing of
video recording is also hassle free. The camera placement is determined
by the availability of the IP network connection. Each camera has an IP
address and there is no need to connect the camera to a computer.
There are types of IP cameras
that can survey and record multiple video streams using various types
of compression tools. This aids in archiving and live viewing. Apart
from video coverage, the IP cameras can perform other tasks too, like
motion detection, automated alerting, ‘intelligent’
video analytics, audio surveillance and also be connected to alarms as
a part of the security system. They can also be used in combination
with other types of security systems.
Major ip camera brands are Vivotek, Acti and Axis
IP cameras boast of features
like flexible installation, stability, high quality pictures, user
friendly and scalability. Their major benefit is that, they can be
easily integrated to IP network anytime.
WHAT IS NVR SOFTWARE?
Any video surveillance system
requires video management software. A video management software makes
use of various tools that aid in observing, recording and analyzing the
video footage. For remote viewing, a standard web browser will suffice,
however to manage video recording from multiple cameras a video
management software is needed.
A standard IP video software is
basically equipped for observing, recording and recovering video
coverage. Currently, there are much more advanced versions of NVR
software available. They can be used for observing multiple cameras in
a synchronized fashion and also has multiple modes of recording. Unlike
the standard IP video software, the advanced versions can be used to
handle large picture files, boast of fast search capabilities and high
frame rates. They also offer the facility of remote access via web
browser with mobile phones or other types of handheld systems. There
are few highly advanced version of this software which provide
intelligent surveillance in combination with video analytics like
facial recognition and advanced motion detection.
IP cameras are available in
various types of versions and models which offer countless surveillance
possibilities. Network camera is basically an amalgamation of camera
and computer which permits capturing and transmission of videos across
an IP network. This transmission could be local or remote. The IP
cameras can be easily linked to any IP network and over the analog
surveillance devices with regards to features like scalability, cost
effectiveness, flexibility, remote monitoring and digital storage
capacity. Expanding of network is extremely easy. All you have to do is
connect the IP camera to the IP network. The network camera should be
set up according to the surveillance requirements.
OF IP CAMERAS
Following are some of the
common types of IP cameras –
FIXED IP CAMERAS
Fixed IP cameras are perfect to
be used as surveillance cameras that are required to survey a specific
location and is installed in a way that it is distinctly visible. Fixed
camera, once installed at a location will survey only that particular
location. Most of the fixed cameras favor the housings and also permit
convenient usage of interchangeable lenses.
FIXED DOME CAMERAS
Fixed dome cameras are compact and functional and have a dome shaped. A
fixed camera is fixed inside the dome shaped housing. This camera can
be directed anywhere, and it will survey only that location at which it
is pointed. Fixed dome cameras boast of excellent features like
uninterrupted surveillance and durable housing makes the direction at
which it is aimed ambiguous to the observer.
PTZ cameras are much more
flexible as compared to the above mentioned fixed cameras. With the PTZ
cameras, you can control camera features like zooming, tilting and pan
functions which aids in monitoring wider spaces and zeroing down on a
particular spot, objects or individuals. PTZ cameras can be operated
either manually or automatically.
NETWORK DOME CAMERAS
Network dome cameras have an
edge over the fixed and PTZ cameras in that they have an exceptional
capacity of panning to about 360 degrees and also they support the
continual ‘guard tour’ processes. The
‘guard tour’ function provides this camera the
ability to travel between presets automatically which aids in covering
vast areas, which in normal circumstances would have demanded numerous
Lens form an important part of
the camera and one must look for apt lenses that complement your
surveillance requirements. Most IP cameras use transposable lenses for
a range of surveillance applications. Several factors need to be taken
into consideration while choosing the best lenses for your camera.
Image sensors are used to build
network cameras. These image sensors come in various sizes like
¼, 1/3, and 2/3 inch sensors. The lenses of the cameras need
to work in coordination with these camera sensors in order to obtain
the picture of optimum quality with having the information or the black
corners tampered. So, it is always advisable to use lenses that are
similar to the image sensors with regards to size.
Focal length is a major factor
determining the horizontal pitch for observation from a particular
distance. Longer the focal length, narrower the observation field gets.
Lens exerts two types of iris
control – manual or automatic. Applying manual iris control,
the lens is adjusted to a particular average value so that it is
conducive to use it in varying light conditions. For applying automatic
iris control, DC auto iris lenses are preferred for outdoor setup and
in places where there is dynamic changes in light in the course of a
day. These lenses can adapt to the light variations.
The basic function of an iris
present in a camera is to regulate all the light passing through the
F-Number of a lens is the
indicator of the amount of light that is admitted to a sensor of a
camera. The F-number needs to be adjusted as per requirements. Lower
the F-number, greater is the amount of light is admitted to the sensor.
This tells us that, low F-number allows for better picture quality even
when subjected to low light conditions.
IP camera housings are robust
and durable that are resistant to harsh weather conditions as well as
vandal attacks. Also they remain unaffected by dust, cold, humidity
VANDAL RESISTANT HOUSINGS
Vandal resistant housings prove
extremely valuable for protecting IP cameras situated in vulnerable
locations from vandalism and tampering. These housings are available
for both, indoor as well as outdoor surveillance set up which boast of
features like impact resistant window, tamper resistant screws, dome
and powerful metal construction.
FIXED IP CAMERA HOUSINGS
The fixed IP camera housings
are required to provide protection to fixed network cameras, both
indoor and outdoor surveillance setups. They are mainly used for
protecting the network cameras and can be mounted on the ceilings and
Outdoor housings are designed
to provide resistance against moisture, dust and other weather
conditions. Also they have features like built in heaters and fans to
provide resilience against hot and cold climates. These cameras also
come in different vandal proof versions built for hostile environments.
Outdoor housings are available in varied sizes to accommodate various
cameras like PTZ, Domes or Fixed IP cameras.
Power over Ethernet (PoE)
With Power over Ethernet (or
PoE) technology LAN enabled services can work on IP network
infrastructure through Ethernet cabling. IP systems with POE cameras
also work using this technology. Ethernet cable provides power to each
camera of the IP system and enables transmitting data.
One major advantage of Power
over Ethernet technology is that it permits extreme flexibility in the
use of cameras. With PoE, cameras can be installed as and where
required and not necessarily where the AC sockets are available. This
is possible because, the power required is supplied directly to cameras
through data ports and also to the other network devices that are
integrated in the same network. Even more flexibility can be obtained
by integrating wireless LAN technology.
Another important benefit
offered by PoE technology is that it makes the UPS (Uninterruptible
Power Supplies) installation for the video surveillance set up very
convenient and easy and this proves a boon, since video surveillance
set up is required to work 24*7, i.e. even during power cuts.
There are times where wired
surveillance technology proves impractical like when the position of
the cameras have to be constantly changed or cameras have to removed
and re fixed or. It becomes a complex and cumbersome process. These
kinds of circumstances call for wireless solutions.
The prominent wireless
communication modes include the ‘Wireless bridges’
and Wireless LANs (also called as WLAN which stands for Wireless Local
Area Network). Generally, the wireless networks have set standards.
Bridges’ are used to link together multiple sites or
buildings by using point-to-point data link which permits transfer of
data or information across longer distances at high speeds.
With the launching of megapixel
cameras, traditional security cameras have now started to lose their
ground. The technology for video-surveillance has been upgraded by
leaps and bounds with these megapixel cameras and the higher resolution
facilitated by them not only gives clear pictures as well as videos but
has greatly enhanced the camera’s ‘field of
view’ without nay deterioration in picture details as
compared to the megapixel camera. The megapixel cameras greatly
accentuate the quality of images it records and produce high-definition
IP-cameras’ are of great use and significance, especially in
the domain of surveillance applications, and their picture and video
details lend great use in the purpose of identifying. This is most
essential in the case of secured areas like banks, airports, etc.
There are many places like
construction sites, retail stores, casinos and parking lots where many
security cameras need to be installed for monitoring the area. But with
these megapixel cameras the scenario has changed. Now with even a
single megapixel camera, you can survey these places instead of using
many traditional surveillance cameras for the same purpose. Thus, a
single megapixel camera can now monitor an entire parking lot and with
these high- resolution cameras, the operators at the surveillance desk
have been enabled to zoom into the portions of the recorded scenes.
With these cameras, it would be fairly simple to identify people as
well as spot license plate-numbers of the vehicles.
With the cost incurred in purchasing these cameras is coming down
because the technology is quite commonly available nowadays, the use of
these megapixel cameras in case of surveillance applications is sure to
see an upswing in the near future.
In IP technology, video
compression is a vital function. Video compression helps make optimum
use of the given storage capacity and bandwidth by decreasing the size
of the recorded video files, thereby, making more space for other
files. But, different compression softwares or tools retain the quality
of the compressed files at different levels. All these compression
softwares aim at providing best compression tools to get maximum
Motion JPEG is a widely used
compression standard which most network cameras apply. Motion JPEG
permits the network camera to put forth the video in the form of JPEG
series individually. Its frame rate is approximately sixteen frames per
second or greater and this rate is adjustable. This rate value is
regarded as the ‘full motion video’.
MPEG-4 is another type of
compression tool that IP cameras use for video compression. Usage of
MPEG-4 decreased the bit rate of the pictures in order to meet the
image quality standards and this is very vital to obtain surveillance
application boasting of high precision.
H.264 is the latest and an
improved version of MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG utilized for video
compression. This version successfully reduces the digital file size
without tampering the image quality. Apart from this, it offers better
megapixel camera performance, higher resolution, improved frame rate,
bandwidth costs and decreased storage.
The capacity of the network
cameras to digitally transmit data via IP network makes the information
easily accessible on a wider scale. A user irrespective of his location
can easily gain access to the transmitted digital data by using the web
standard browser. IP video handling software enables advanced capturing
& Live Monitoring
IP-based surveillance system
offers remote video monitoring, excellent recording and storage
REMOTE MONITORING WITH INTERNET
One of the major advantages of
an IP based surveillance system is that video can be accessed on any
computer system included in the network that has internet access. Each
camera integrated to the network has a distinct IP address, so all you
need is the respective IP address to watch the video on web browser.
MONITORING WITH IP VIDEO
Using the video management
software users can enjoy excellent flexibility while managing,
monitoring and viewing the camera systems on the network. The video
management software solutions include the requisite programs that are
designed in such a way that the IP system can be accessed
simultaneously from varied locations. The video management software
allows for simultaneous monitoring of several cameras, recording, alarm
notification and many other functions.
NETWORK VIDEO RECORDING
The video recording or the
video feeds of an IP camera can be stored in two ways. The video
recording is either recorded in the hard drive which is then uploaded
onto the FTP server or the recording could be stored on a Network Video
Recorder. The video management software thus, improves the event
management and makes the whole process of recording and managing much
more effective. This software also makes possible uninterrupted and
Perhaps, scalability is IP
based surveillance system’s most advantageous feature. It is
extremely simple and convenient to add in more and more cameras to the
network without having to go through the trouble of meddling with
complicated and cumbersome cabling like you would have to with analog
devices. All you have to do is link in the extra cameras to the IP
network with a respective IP address. PoE (Power over Ethernet) and
‘wireless network cameras’ provide flexibility by
allowing installation of cameras in spite of no accessible power source
Since, it is the PC server that
detects and manages the video recording in the IP surveillance system,
the scope of scalability and expansion is infinite. Different kinds of
servers can be selected depending on the camera in use and the frame
rate that is required.
Video management software is
generally in built within the IP camera. Video motion detection is a
process by which the camera begins to record or perform certain other
functions like broadcasting when it detects any sort of movements
within its arena.
The characteristic feature of
the motion detectors is that it will only record in case it detects any
sort of movements or activity, thereby, limiting the recording process
and conserving the bandwidth and making more use of the limited storage
space. All these factors alleviate the load off the CPU and permits
integration of other devices like alarms and access control system. A
motion detector system can be programmed in such a way so as to adjust
the frame rate suited to detect any sort of motion. The motion detector
softwares can be programmed to perform functions like saving pictures
at beginning or the end of an event, transmitting the images or
pictures to allocated locations for monitoring purposes, sending
alerts, emails, sounding off alarms etc.
Audio support come installed
with many IP camera models. This audio support could be external or
inbuilt microphones that aid in listening and capturing audio activity
in the area marked for surveillance. Some types of audio recording
include two way audio transmissions to and from external speaker and
microphones. Audio transmission system is easy to install in the IP
based surveillance system. After the audio feeds are recorded, they can
be sent across network to desired location for further monitoring and
analyzing. Audio transmission is analogous to video transmission. Audio
recordings can be performed within the camera’s range just
like video recordings. Also audio recordings can be carried out in
remote places. Audio detection is an important function which can be
used to trigger off alarms or sound alerts by detecting any audio
INPUT AND OUTPUT
Most network related devices
like an IP camera come with several input and output ports that are
meant to connect and inter connect cameras or other devices with
various external devices like the alarm systems, smoke detectors, sound
and motion detectors etc. These interconnected devices communicate with
each other via different in built features within the camera or a PC
that is connected to the network.
An input port is meant to
connect devices like sensors and detectors, whereas, an output port
helps in triggering the external devices for performing various
functions like video transmission, triggering off an alarm etc.
The video transmission gets
limited via the digital input and output ports in that the video is
transmitted along the network only in case of triggering of an
interconnected device by audio or motion detectors etc. This way, the
bandwidth is used economically, and this in turn helps in conserving
storage space. Various automatic triggering processes like sending
automated messages via mail or phone, activation of lights, emergency
alarms etc. can be carried out using these digital input and output
Video analytics is a very
important part of the video surveillance process which aids in post
investigation activity to detect any sort of suspicious on goings. The
Video Analytics is a type of an algorithm and sophisticated application
software which is required for analyzing the video feeds recorded by
the IP based surveillance devices.
Many functions like facial
recognition, audio detection, advanced motion detections, behavioral
recognition etc. belong to the video analytics category. With the
advent of IP based surveillance systems, video analytics technology has
gained a big boost and is widely used in locations demanding high
security like government buildings, banks, airports etc. Facial
recognition has become popular means of individual identification and
has been adopted by several banks in the recent times to reduce the
incidences of crime and fraud. Video analytics software can be used in
collaboration with the video management software or can be integrated
to the network on its own.
The video analytics technology
is still in its nascent stages and is still under surveillance. Once
this technology further improves, it would prove to be a great
detractor of crimes by increasing the response time and also by
reducing the false alarm incidences.
The IP based surveillance
system should be installed only after taking a few important points
into consideration. Since these network cameras transact information
via IP network, the bandwidth optimization should be considered.
Another important aspect to be considered is the storage capacity and
capability of the IP device. A lot of questions related to storage need
to be answered like, how much time will it require to archive the video
storage?; will the picture quality be good enough? And so on. Other
aspects like scalability, security and quality need to be looked into
before deciding and setting up the IP surveillance system. Your
requirements should be aptly met with the surveillance system that you
are planning to set up.
STORAGE & ARCHIVAL
One major reason why IP-based surveillance outdoes the analog CCTV
devices is that while CCTV device stores the data onto cassette tapes,
the IP based surveillance system stores the information directly onto
the hard disk. This feature enhances the search capabilities and
storage capacity. Also it saves time in that it allows quick sifting
through the video archives.
The hard disk storage space can
be calculated based on certain factors like the number of cameras that
are currently integrated into the network, if the videos are being
recorder continuously or at some stipulated times, time required to
store the data onto the hard disk, level of image quality expected etc.
The whole point of using video
surveillance devices is to augment the level of security and evade
intrusion of privacy. A surveillance device user needs to be completely
assured and convinced that no unauthorized individual can gain access
to the video feeds and tamper with it. IP based surveillance set up
makes it very simple to protect the recorded information from intrusion
of any sort. Generally, the network camera encrypts the video feeds
before they are broadcasted on the network, thereby ensuring only
authorized access and viewing of the video feeds. Various systems adopt
different types of authentication and password safety techniques which
prevents unauthorized access and hacking.
WPA or the WiFi Protected
Access is regarded as the basis of wireless network security, in the
case of wireless IP cameras. WPA technology encrypts each video and
alters the key to each broadcasted frame using TKIP (Temporal Key
Integrity Protocol). There are other types of improved security
standards for dealing with the wireless network cameras like AES,
802.1xauthentication and WPA2.
Digital watermarking is another
method for tightening the security on the network video feeds.
Watermarks contain information like the location, user activity and
time and the time stamping could bug the person who accessed the videos
by constructing a trail which makes note of any edits made to the
The usage of bandwidth by
network cameras depends on a whole lot of factors such as frame rate,
compression ratio and image resolution.
Pixels determine a
camera’s resolution. The resolution of the camera increases
with increase in pixels. High resolution in the camera will permit
capturing of greater amount of information of an image. The resolution
of the IP camera should be adjusted as per your surveillance
requirements. As the resolution of a picture increases, so will your
requirement of the bandwidth. So, you can make optimal utilization of
the available bandwidth by deciding on the level of resolution that
Video compression is an
essential function that takes some load off the network by compressing
the video files and thereby, making economical use of the available
storage space. Various compression technologies have been released like
H.264, MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG. Of them, H.264 is the latest version
which allows compression of the video files while still maintaining
their image quality. This cuts the storage costs and improves
Frame rate greatly affects the
bandwidth usage. By keeping the frame rate in control, the usage of the
bandwidth can be reduced efficiently. There are a couple of methods to
do this. One of the ways is to have a surveillance device installed
that increases the frame rate on detecting movements or activities.
Another way is to broadcast the increased frame rates in place of the
lower frame rates and substitute local viewing for remote viewing over