What is the average life expectancy of an IP camera?

By Dave Sweeney,

CEO, Advantech Incorporated

Analog cameras have had a reputation for standing the test of time, mainly because the technology behind them is relatively simple and has changed little over the years. With only periodic improvements, end users often had little reason to replace them and upgrade to newer cameras.

The introduction of IP technology, and the widespread adoption of IP-based cameras, has transformed the camera landscape. IP-based technology has rapidly evolved to introduce high megapixel cameras and H.265 video compression. Still end users want to know the average life expectancy of an IP camera.

For example, what is the failure rate of an IP camera and how often should these types of cameras be replaced? Because the technology is only 20 years old, there is not a significant amount of data on the average lifespan of these type of devices. It’s also difficult to collect data on the lifespan of IP cameras because these devices are being replaced long before they reach the failure point. The reality is that we find that many customers are so reliant on their systems today that they are upgrading cameras for the latest feature set or resolution long before the camera actually fails.

However, as a general rule, a new IP camera today should last two NVR cycles. So, if an NVR lasts between three to five years that means the IP camera on the network should last between six to 10 years. After that time, it would be wise to start to invest in newer camera technology to ensure software compatibility with your new NVR system and cameras that have capability to leverage newer features.

One interesting trend of note is that many early adopters of IP cameras are now gravitating towards the newer multi-sensor cameras. A single camera containing multi-sensor technology has the ability to capture 360 degrees of view. Each camera is equipped with a four-image sensor fixed lens, so essentially one camera can do the work of four individual cameras.

While cameras do fail from time to time, there really isn’t a scientific number that can be applied to the lifespan of an IP camera. It is best to review your surveillance needs on a regular basis and invest in the camera technology that helps you to achieve your security goals.

Today’s Lesson: Know Your Security System

By J. Matthew Ladd

Teachers have their lesson plans and students have their homework. The goal with both is to be prepared — either for a day in the classroom for educators, or for that upcoming quiz or test for scholars.

But school districts that have recently spent thousands of dollars on security system installations — many of which were sent out from bid last year and then were put in during the summer months in time for classes to resume in September — need to educate themselves as well.

With all that the latest surveillance and access control technology offers to school security personnel, too often these systems are rushed into place to coincide with the new school year. As a result, training becomes an afterthought.

Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the features of each system means you’ll get the most out of it. While the project may have met your first day of school deadline, it’s incumbent on security personnel to spend time getting to know the inner workings of the cameras, recorders, analytics, card readers and the like.

Fortunately, you have an excellent tutor available — your integrator. We can walk you through everything you need to know about your new school security system as well as help train your staff on its nuances.

Sometimes it’s as simple as making sure all the features are completely operational: Are all the cameras turned on, are the readers working properly? In other cases, it’s sharing the capabilities of your new system with local law enforcement so they can best respond to an event at a school, should something happen.

You may also want to seek input from your integrator on setting up system rules and procedures for responding to particular types of situations so you can offer the best security coverage possible.

Today’s systems are fully featured and can provide a plethora of information before and during a crisis as well as forensically. If you do a little homework now, we can help you learn how to maximize your system.

Protecting Places of Worship: Security for Churches & Synagogues

By John Krumme, CPP

Today we hear talk about protecting the places where our children go to school, the places where we work, and the places we visit for entertainment, whether it’s a sports stadium or a movie theater. But what about protecting the places that we attend for worship?

Churches, synagogues, temples and mosques have become a target for criminals and hate crimes, meaning that a place that many people have considered a refuge is no longer immune from violence.

That’s why it’s important for places of worship to look at all areas of vulnerability. Newer suburban churches with high-tech systems, such as audio and video equipment, are often attractive to criminals. Beyond protecting assets, such as the building and its contents, it’s critical to offer a safe space for parishioners and visitors and other users of the facility.

There are a few issues that churches must consider when implementing a security system. One is to address child safety for churches that offer religious education classes. That could mean implementing a computerized check-in / check out system to track where a child is in the building and to whom they are returned to at the end of the day.

Another area of importance is handling the money that churches collect as part of services. Churches should create a procedure for the safe handling of money, and consider having monitors or security personnel involved as funds are moved within the building.

Parking lots are an additional area for potential issues. Active surveillance of parking areas can be helpful, as well as patrols. For large parking lots with a high volume of vehicles, some churches offer a shuttle service to minimize traffic and safety issues.

Finally, some churches find it’s helpful to have people on hand to greet visitors and follow the simple practice of keeping doors locked unless the churchis in use. Adding a card access system enables the facility manager to monitor who is using the building, including outside groups that may be leasing space, and provides a record that can be used for planning purposes.

As we look around our surroundings, it’s important to remember that security has moved into many areas of our lives. It’s particularly important for the places that we visit for sanctuary and to pray also afford the same security measures as other facilities we visit on a daily basis.

4K Video Cameras: Security’s Next Big Thing?

By John Krumme, CPP

Whether you are a bleeding edge, leading edge or a wait-and-see kind of person, one of last year’s hot new technologies — the 4K security camera — is moving beyond the buzz and into the realm of applications to seriously consider.

Already a fixture in the consumer electronics market, 4K makes sense for security settings as well, offering four times the pixels of a regular 1080p high-def camera, a robust 30 frames per second, and providing better quality and crispness in the images it captures.

Like any specialty camera, the 4K works best in certain scenarios — airports, parking structures, train stations, casinos or similar areas with lots of movement where the user wants to identify objects over a wider area and viewed from a greater distance, whether it’s a license plate or a deck of cards.

Additionally, the 4K camera performs best when outfitted properly, meaning it’s important to have the right lens to achieve maximum return as well as a monitor that is capable of viewing 4K images.

Several manufacturers have brought 4K cameras to market, and more are getting on board all the time. Word on the street is that the cameras are currently being used sporadically, mostly in conjunction with other high-definition cameras, but as the technology matures and prices fall, 4K will become more accessible. Even now, at its premium price, the return on investment based on its improved feature set can offset that somewhat.

In the meantime, it behooves everyone in the industry to become acquainted with 4K technology. Familiarity with ultra high-definition for home use makes the likelihood of acceptance of this technology for security applications much more realistic. If it works in your living room and you like it, why not transition to it for business situations as well?

And even if it isn’t suited for every environment, there are plenty of places where 4K could become the camera of choice. So if you didn’t get your fill of 4K cameras at the recent ISC West show, take some time to check out its features and benefits as it’s importance may grow in the future.