Article appeared in the January 2013 issue of CEPro Magazine.

The Hybrid Win

With a stream of new IP products hitting the surveillance market, it’s easy to forget that analog technologies still have a place at the proverbial security table right along with IP cameras. For customers getting started on a new camera implementation and hopping onto the Megapixel bandwagon, there are three incredible advantages to using a Hybrid NVR/DVR rather than just using Megapixel cameras exclusively. What do I mean by hybrid NVR/DVR? A hybrid system mixes up analog and network camera technologies rather than just going with mainstream IP cameras alone. In plain English, it means you can still use your old cameras in tandem with your new high-definition Megapixel cameras.

The hybrid model is fiscally sound

Budget is a major reason to choose the hybrid approach. Consider a customer with a large existing family of analog cameras and the cost associated with replacing them all at once. Replacing all of the analog cameras with IP cameras can quickly damage a company’s overall quarterly bottom line. For those customers looking for a phased installation approach, which is especially attractive to management in today’s turbulent and unpredictable economy, legacy analog cameras can be mixed and paired with newer IP cameras. This saves the company major cost outlays and budgeting nightmares. For instance, consider the benefit of Megapixel cameras mounted on the outside of a building watching the parking lots and surrounding areas, while still utilizing the existing analog cameras indoors where detail may be less important. Of course, once budgets open up, the company can opt for a complete upgrade.

The hybrid model storage friendly

IP Megapixel cameras use a lot of hard drive or storage bandwidth per camera while analog cameras do not. Even if an NVR is using newer compression schemas like H.264, a two Megapixel camera still records video at approximately four Megabytes per second (at 30 frames per second). In terms of what this means in dollars and cents is: A two Terabyte hard drive which can deliver about six weeks of storage for 8 analog cameras will provide only 3 days of storage for three Megapixel cameras. What a difference! For most pure IP implementations get out the check book and start buying hard drives in bulk!

The hybrid model Ethernet smart

Finally, and what a lot of companies never consider, is the burden Megapixel cameras can put on an Ethernet network. Unless you work in a fiber heaven with Gigabit routers, the IP cameras can burn up a lot of bandwidth and slow down your network. It actually can get worse. Those pesky network switches and cables— which for a lot of workplaces are already burdened with server traffic— will slow down even further. What is the solution? With some basic network planning, and a mixture of analog and IP cameras, the data load can be managed and you will not have to spend an arm and leg on a second parallel network or virtual network.

Are IP Megapixel cameras cool? You bet. Is high definition video useful and worth the money? Absolutely! However, moderation and hybrid technology can be the answer to an effective and powerful surveillance camera system.