IP surveillance technology evolves and emerges

The evolution and growing market deployment of Internet Protocol (IP)-based video surveillance systems continues to shape several aspects of networking and structured cabling systems.

From the April, 2013 Issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine

Researcher points to 2013 as a tipping-point year in more ways than one.

by Patrick McLaughlin

The evolution and growing market deployment of Internet Protocol (IP)-based video surveillance systems continues to shape several aspects of networking and structured cabling systems. Long-time security-market analyst firm IMS Research, which is now part of IHS (www.imsresearch.com), has examined IP surveillance technology from multiple angles for multiple years. Over the past several Aprils the firm has issued a number of statements and reports sizing up the market's growth rates and dynamics.

IMS insights

In one of its most recent statements, the researcher says that by the end of 2013, unit shipments of consumer analog cameras in the Americas region will surpass those in the professional market. Its report titled "The World Market for Consumer and DIY Video Surveillance Equipment, 2012 Edition" forecasts that unit shipments of consumer analog security cameras will top 3 million this year.

One significant element in the formula that yields this forecast is the decline in use of analog cameras in the professional market--and the corresponding increase in use of IP cameras in that same space. Josh Woodhouse, who authored the report, commented, "The Americas region is the largest and most mature regional market for consumer and DIY video surveillance equipment. The increased growth of analog camera shipments in this market, coupled with the decline in analog unit shipments in the professional market, means for the first time we are approaching a tipping point."

The research firm also pointed out, "The consumer market is just a fraction of the professional market in terms of revenues, yet the high volumes of analog security cameras shipped could extend the overall lifespan of analog security cameras and their components in the Americas market." And Woodhouse concluded, "The cost-sensitive nature of the [consumer] market and need for simple, easy-to-use products means the transition from analog to network video surveillance is slower in the consumer market than in the professional."

IT and IP

This assessment by IMS of the consumer market came about eight Aprils after it published a report on the professional market titled "IP Trends in Security--A Survey of Systems Integrators and Installers." Interestingly, that report also forecasts 2013 to be a tipping point in the analog/IP share, "When world network video surveillance equipment overtakes analog video surveillance equipment sales." This report, published in mid-2012, considers the global market and appears to focus on the professional rather than the consumer/DIY market.

The IMS survey found that at the time, 80 percent of North American systems integrators and installers purchase some IP-based video surveillance equipment from IT distributors, and that this was expected to increase to 90 percent of systems integrators and installers over a three-year timeframe.

The researcher also noted that a "key finding" from its study "is the influence IT managers have in the decision of what IP-based video surveillance products are chosen. IT managers were ranked ahead of other key influencers such as physical security managers, chief security officers and consultants in their ability to influence which IP-based video surveillance products are chosen.

"One reason for this influence may be the fact that IT budgets are typically larger than the associated security budgets. Instead of security managers buying an IP camera and speaking with the IT department about how to incorporate it into the network, increasingly the IT department will buy the security equipment from their budget and incorporate the device into their network."

Distributors' role

IMS also made this observation: "Many IT integrators are not looking to their distributors for security knowledge they lack, but are instead going directly to the manufacturers of the cameras they are using."

Despite this trend, distributors of structured cabling systems, which also offer portfolios of IP cameras and other security equipment, do offer educational and system-specification information to their customers. For example, Communications Supply Corporation (www.gocsc.com) offers the FTL (Faster Than Light) online configurator, which enables users to configure end-to-end IP surveillance systems in minutes, the company says. The tool enables installers/integrators to complete bids quickly and, CSC says, reduces configuration time by more than 60 percent.

Additionally, Anixter (www.anixter.com) has developed the ipAssured for Security Applications and ipAssured for Network Video Migration programs. The ipAssured for Security Applications program establishes a Class-based rating system for an end-to-end security system. The ipAssured for Network Video Migration program, Anixter explains, pairs technologies to support legacy and future video surveillance applications for the best network video migration strategy.

Graybar (www.graybar.com) counts IP surveillance among the broader offering of security products it offers, which also includes intrusion and access-control systems. ::

Patrick McLaughlin is our chief editor.

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