Tutorial 1- Context, basic components, and myths


Video surveillance has been around for a long time now and has proved to be a reliable and popular form of security for many different industries. Countless end users rely on video surveillance for monitoring their state of affairs, accruing information or evidence of human actions, and also deterring crimes which include vandalism and burglary.    

Basic Components

Basic components of a video surveillance system are the camera, recorder, and cabling. They are the basic components but as far as construction, operation, and costing are concerned there are many more.  For simplicity, each component accounts for one third of the total construction cost.

Myth of cost

A camera is a camera.  Analogy: a man is a man. Every man on Earth is identical from the eyes of ET but every person is vastly different on a person to person level. There are 2 broad categories of cameras in terms of technology- analogue and Internet Protocol (IP) based surveillance systems. Analogue is the first generation of video surveillance and although they are cheaper and perform well in certain situations they do have many limitations. Basically you could say that Internet Protocol video surveillance (IPVS) is the modern updated version of the analogue CCTV surveillance system.  It uses basically the same concept but adds increased value to consumers through a number of significant technological changes. For example the ability to access real time high quality footage from any computer in the world with internet access. So as we can see a camera is a camera analogy is not true. For IP and costing, there are about 30 criteria of costs but the main ones are the resolution in megapixels and indoor or outdoor use. Two IP cameras with the same resolution for indoor use, for example, can be priced with 100% difference due to 28 points of possible differences. These differences affect if they are the best fit for purpose for your needs.

Myth of cost on recorder

Many people have the perception that a video surveillance recorder is like a music recorder with tape, CD, DVD, thumb stick, or hard disk.  This perception is right.  What is not tested is the implementation of technology for storing and retrieving days of video footage for a number of cameras.  In simple terms, there are 4 categories of recorders: black box type recorder, NAS box, PC, and Server in increasing sequence of price and performance. Black box type recorders were the only choice ten years ago and they are similar to tape and DVD recorders that we knew of.   NAS stands for Network Attached Storage.  It is like a black box but in fact it is based on modern PC technology.  It is preloaded with video management software and its functions are normally limited.  PC and Server are more open, flexible and scalable.  What are the differences between PC and server?  As the names imply, one is for personal use and the other is for serving a number of persons.  If the owner of a company is the only person who needs access to video footage, can he use a PC for the recorder?  Yes, he can if the PC can cope.


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