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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Addressing The Needs Of Hybrid Installations Using Open Standards

29 June, 2010
As part of the special feature on the ONVIF and PSIA IP Video Network Standards, I spoke to Iain Cameron, the Managing Director of Mirasys UK about the future of hybrid analogue and IP systems and how they fit into the standards equation
The UK video surveillance market continues to be strongly analogue dominant which is proving difficult for the IP surveillance manufacturers to penetrate except in Greenfield installations. Many of those in the user base who are considering the switch to IP surveillance are taking the hybrid route but Iain Cameron of Mirasys UK sees hybrid environments not as a stepping stone to IP networks but as a viable networking environment that is here to stay.

"Analogue networks remain an important part of the market and there are compelling reasons for this", he explained. Full frame rate, fast joystick response and video walls are just a selection of the reasons why many would cling on to analogue regardless. However, by not moving to an IP system, users are excluding themselves from the greater integration prospects and forensic capabilities that IP systems provide. The answer, according to Iain, is a hybrid network. "This will inevitably change in the future", he continued, "but first there are some fundamental problems such as PTZ control that need to be overcome. When the technology matches the demand, there will be more movement towards IP".

So where do the ONVIF and PSIA standards bodies fit into this? "In an ideal world", he told me "we would see these organisations addressing the interfaces needed to enable a standards based approach to integrated hybrid environments whereby the analogue signal is included in the transmission protocol."

He went on to explain that ONVIF and PSIA are making it easier for Video Management System providers like Mirasys to focus on developing applications that add value to the networks and enable the users to make the most of their camera functions. It takes the focus away from developing APIs for cameras.

In the UK, there is a growing trend towards hybrid systems as installers become more comfortable with the notion of IP networking and Mirasys is creating systems that aim to make the installation as easy as possible with existing skills whilst providing the operator with as much system transparency as possible. Once the hybrid system is installed, further upgrades including the replacement of analogue cameras with IP megapixel cameras is very straightforward.
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