Is It Time to Park an IP Video System in Your Garage?
Federal statistics show that 80% of criminal acts reported to police at shopping centers and business offices occur in parking lots. To deter crime, facility managers have deployed analog CCTV (closed-circuit TV) video surveillance in parking lots as part of a full range of security measures, which include improved lighting, guards at gates, radio-equipped bicycle patrols and golf carts, and emergency call stations.
Despite technological improvements over the past 30 years, CCTV has proven to have serious limitations. As a result, an increasing number of facilities are migrating to Internet Protocol (IP) video surveillance.
The most common protocol used for communication over computer networks and the Internet, IP creates digitized video streams transmitted through a wired or wireless IP network to enable remote monitoring and video recording on PCs, notebooks, tablets, even phones. In addition, IP surveillance systems can be integrated with other types of systems, such as access control systems.
Compared with analog CCTV, an IP surveillance system provides benefits such as easy integration, remote accessibility, distributed intelligence, and scalability. In fact, the versatile nature of the Internet is one of the main reasons that analog CCTV systems are rapidly being replaced by network video technology.
Unique Needs of Parking Lot Surveillance
Compared with an indoor retail setting, for example, parking lots impose several additional requirements on a surveillance system, particularly because these environments are wide-open areas that often are poorly lighted and often outdoors, or at least subjected to a wide range of temperatures. Moreover, parking lots experience a high level of traffic at all hours as vehicles and people come and go.
Given these unique requirements, an IP video solution must be well-designed to ensure that the surveillance system works properly. System integrators should consider factors such as applicability, IP camera specifications, camera placement, integration, and user-friendliness in order to construct an optimal IP video surveillance system.
When deploying IP video surveillance, system integrators need to consider video requirements such as image viewing, recording and analysis, as well as interoperability with other systems (such as SCADA, access control, etc.). They also need to know how many cameras are required for the system and whether IP cameras or video encoders are suitable for the application. Network transmission factors such as bandwidth, multicast and IGMP requirements and whether the project requires a single network or separate networks for data and video are also important. Central management concerns, including system resources (PCs, servers, cost, etc.), software requirements (pure video or video integrated with another system), storage capability and database management, and whether a decoder is required, should also be considered.
2. IP Camera Specifications
IP cameras automatically encode video into a digital format (H.264, MJPEG or MPEG4) that is easily transferred via Ethernet/Internet. Key factors to look for in a camera to be installed in a parking lot include a wide operating temperature range without the need for a fan or heater; IP66-rating for rain and dust protection; wide dynamic range for capturing scenes exhibiting both strong light conditions as well as dark areas, up to 30 frames per second; and direct-wired power input and PoE (power over Ethernet) for power redundancy. Cameras used in dark or low illumination environments should have “Day-Night” capability that will produce color images in high illumination conditions, and switch to black and white with ICR (IR-cut filter) in dark or low illumination conditions. Under dark conditions, such as close to 0 lux, an IR illuminator can be used to increase the amount of infrared light. Given the reality of parking lots, vandal-resistance is another important factor. The camera you select should be rated IK10 or IK8 vandal-resistant.
System integrators should consider integrating video surveillance into the facility’s central management system, as well as other systems, including SCADA/HMI, remote monitoring and access control. This not only reduces cabling and network installation costs, but also makes central management and control easier to handle for system administrators. Interoperation with other devices for event-driven video monitoring is another benefit. For example, the system can begin recording video once a card reader or sensor is activated.
4. Camera Placement
Placement of cameras is one of the most important aspects of the design of any surveillance project, but it is especially crucial in a parking lot where there can be many dark corners, tight spaces, and multiple levels and rows of cars that make prime spots for criminals to lurk. While the size of a parking area may seem to make video surveillance nearly impossible, with the use of wide-angle, vandal-resistant, megapixel cameras with infrared capabilities for low-light areas, you can view wide areas. Megapixel Internet Protocol cameras installed at entrances and exits can capture license plates of cars entering and exiting – day or night. Also, a camera inside a parking lot attendant booth will provide peace of mind to employees and aid in identification of criminals, as well as help monitor cash transactions. In elevators or stairwells, a vandal-resistant camera or dome will keep an eye on entrances and interiors. Finally, parking lot light poles make natural installation points for security cameras, but footage can be compromised if you fail to consider the effect of the lights themselves.
IP video involves new applications and technologies that employees need to learn. For this reason, it’s recommended that system integrators choose ready-to-use hardware and software solutions to reduce the time needed to set up an IP video surveillance system. Not only does this simplify the system integrator’s task, but it will also be easier for employees to learn and use.
Video encoders reduce costs
Would you like to make the move from CCTV to IP video surveillance but you’re worried about what it will cost? The good news is that video encoders provide a cost-effective way to get all the benefits of IP surveillance, but without losing the investment in your analog CCTV system. Video encoders are used to digitize analog video signals, and then send the digital images directly over an IP network.
The video encoder turns an analog video system into a network video system, and enables users to view live images with a web browser or with video management software installed on a remote computer. The video encoder also provides “multi-accessibility,” which means that authorized viewers at different locations can access images from the same analog camera, at essentially the same time.
Oliver Wang, Marketing Communications Manager at Moxa Americas, can be reached at email@example.com.
Article Abstract from March, 2013