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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

April - 2011 - issue > Technology

Roadmap for IP Based Surveillance Systems in India

M.Girikrishna
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
 M.Girikrishna
The terrorist attacks of 26/11 and beyond have heightened the security concerns of the country and also highlighted the limitations of analog CCTV based surveillance systems which are very prevalent in India. The surveillance systems deployed currently are not yet capable of autonomous analysis of complex events. Today, the video feeds from millions of surveillance cameras are just recorded to facilitate post-event forensic analysis. Such a passive system cannot help with crime or terror prevention, accident and mitigation which require real-time event recognition.

Following all this, an urgent need has been felt to move away from traditional systems and towards digital IP based surveillance systems as they are expected to provide the ability to respond to events as they occur and also enable remote monitoring even as the affected areas remain inaccessible.

Typically, CCTV systems are deployed over a number of remote locations and are monitored by security personnel at a central location. In such systems images from multiple cameras are streamed to a video monitor that can be viewed by a security person. As the number of cameras increase, the potential for the security personnel to miss a significant event increases.

In IP based surveillance systems, the effectiveness of such a system is determined by the availability of the network as well as the bandwidth available with the network. The fact that the video is streamed over the network can result in delayed response times to events that require immediate action. The number of failure points in such a system can also lead to an ineffective surveillance system in conditions where bandwidth is limited and power availability is an issue. There is a possibility that critical video information is lost and important events are missed whenever there is network or power failure, in a centralized surveillance system.

The key problems in deploying an effective IP based Video Surveillance system in a developing market like India is the availability of 24/7 power as well as network bandwidth and the need of highly technically skilled support staff.
It would be desirable to provide a distributed video surveillance system that has cameras with the ability to address situations involving lack of power and limited or no network. In particular in the case of power failure, cameras need to have a local independent power source that will ensure that the camera continues to function. In the case of network failure, the camera should have the ability to store the video images locally and the video content can be synchronized with the central location on resumption of normal services. In the case of network bandwidth being a limitation, the camera should have the ability to decide the resolutions and the frame rate for streaming the video over the network. To improve response time to specific triggers or events, the camera should have the ability to analyse the video, detect specific events and trigger alarms. This system ensures that the camera is the only point of failure and the other cameras in the system can takeover if one camera fails. As a result such a surveillance system becomes highly available and reliable.

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