Are we moving to an all-IP world? Such a question would have been premature and conceived as a fantasy in the realm of science fiction a few years back. Now, it’s getting a tad bit difficult to think of an industry vertical that hasn’t embraced IP yet. Take oil and gas for example. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, which forms the lifeline of the sector, is moving away from old proprietary standards to IP. In telecom, a transition from TDM to IP is well underway. Now, can the world of surveillance be far behind? Video surveillance, which has always been closed-circuit analogue affair run by the physical security staff, is now giving way to IP-based digital systems, and in the process, becoming another application on enterprise networks.
There are many reasons why IP is gaining steam in the world of surveillance. It brings amazing flexibility and management features, in addition to amazingly clear pictures. Unlike monolithic analogue cameras, which require dedicated infrasructure, this new breed of cameras can be just plugged into the corporate network. Though these digital cameras might cost more than analogue ones, it offers a whole new world of applications, thanks to the embedded software. In most cases, IP-based surveillance goes way beyond just physical security by offering business intelligence applications. Some of the advanced systems can tell the difference between a ‘simple hug’ and ‘strangulation’. In retail, for example, IP surveillance is helping shops to measure customer traffic and analyse customer behaviour. IP surveillance, coupled with intelligent video analytics software, is transforming the way enterprises plan and deploy video surveillance systems. I hope the CIOs in the region are listening.