Surveillance: Moving from analog to digital

Date:   Thursday , June 09, 2011

A rise in the instances of terrorism has prompted organizations, authorities and individuals to devise effective response mechanisms. Physical security has become essential for enterprises looking at solutions to address everything from pilferage to theft and terrorism. This has led to an increased demand for solutions like video surveillance in sectors like public transport, hospitality, airports, BFSI and education, prompting organizations to increasingly incorporate network video into their enterprise IT security plans.

While surveillance requirements of corporate environments are generally driven by the need to protect employee and company assets, they help achieve other business objectives also. Retail outlets for example use network surveillance for footfall measurement. In airports, an intelligent video system measures the queue time between entering and exiting a check-in point helping direct staff and minimizing waiting time for travelers. In banks, remote surveillance and monitoring can help prevent theft, fraud and facilitate investigation.

Market opportunity
Gartner estimates a CAGR of 16.4 percent for the Indian security market between 2008 and 2013. According to ASSOCHAM, corporates are likely to increase their security budgets by 35-40 percent. The demand for security equipment has increased by 10-15 percent and the private security industry in India is expected to touch Rs. 50,000 crore by 2012 (125 percent growth as opposed to the 25 percent that's been the norm for the past five years). The Indian surveillance market, which is about 30 percent of the security industry, is seeing a shift from analog to IP-based surveillance. Currently IP-based surveillance market in India is valued at about $50-60 million and is expected to grow at 45 percent YoY for the next four to five years.

While the global market for analog video surveillance equipment was flat in 2009, the growth rate of global IP video surveillance equipment exceeded 15 percent. According to the 2009 IMS Research report, the global growth of network video products will be approximately 30 percent over the next five years.

According a report by International Fire and Security Exhibition and Conference (IFSEC), physical security in India is likely to grow into a $3.5 billion market; this is expected to grow by up to 30 percent YoY. Growth is expected from various sectors including urban security, public transport, hospitality, airport security, BFSI and education. The government remains the biggest spender on physical security/ surveillance solutions and is expected to spend $10 billion on the nation’s homeland security requirements, over the next two to three years.

Following the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, there has been an increase in investment for installing, as well as upgrading, existing security infrastructure within the country. This has provided a boost to the Indian security and surveillance systems industry, which grows at 20-30 percent annually.

IP-based video surveillance touted as the future of surveillance systems, has replaced closed circuit analog systems, which traditionally dominated the security market. IP surveillance technology allows video to be transferred over the IP infrastructure making it accessible from anywhere in the world. An effective and integrated security system provides operator control, more usable data, and faster response time, at a reduced cost.

By moving on to an IP-based network, building systems operators get better response control. Since IP-based surveillance provides the ability to access footage from any remote location over the internet, security or other authorized personnel need not be in the building or campus to access the data. They can remotely access the network and the cameras online. This technology also helps individuals who need to monitor their homes from anywhere in the world while they are away.

Today’s IP-based surveillance cameras can handle motion detection and tampering detection. They have in-built intelligence that enables them to alert security personnel or to activate recording if an event takes place in a camera's surveillance area. Network video facilitates proactive monitoring.

Digital or IP-based cameras can also add to business intelligence. In retail outlets, camera footage can help to analyze the customer footfall and patterns, reduce shrinkage, enhance marketing and optimize staffing. Network video helps retailers manage the inventory lifecycle more efficiently.

Other benefits of bringing physical security infrastructure onto the IP network include reduced total cost of ownership, better image quality, increased storage capacity, enhanced features, greater interoperability, and faster access to relevant information during emergency. Compared to traditional CCTV cameras, the digital infrastructure is scalable and there is no limit to the number of devices that can be added to the network.

The ability to interconnect security cameras with the other security systems with open standards is another advantage of IP-based surveillance. IP- based surveillance solutions provide an open platform to build more collaborative and integrated physical security systems, while preserving their existing investments in analog-based technology. Simply put, the users can enable their analog devices to ‘talk’ to other devices on the network, or to the central control system.

What the future holds
As the awareness of the benefits of IP-Based systems spreads, features and complexities of surveillance products will increase, and costs will go down. According to industry experts, IP surveillance in India has enhanced its reach into verticals such as government, SMBs and SOHOs. This market will continue to grow as organizations and authorities understand the advantages that IP-based surveillance brings with it. Additionally, with IT equipment prices likely to fall faster than analog CCTV equipment, the scales will increasingly tilt in favor of IP-based systems.

At the end of the day, the security of the country continues to be a key concern for the government and its various stakeholders, who are working to bring together the best security solutions and create a wide-area security net, so that both the nation’s assets as well as its people remain safe and secure.

The author is Vice President, Transformation Business, Cisco India & SAARC