Why do I need software with my IP camera? All I need is a web browser to view IP network cameras on my PC. I can even control a pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) camera. Well yes, but surveillance usually requires more than just real-time viewing, you also need to store the video, view multiple cameras, be notified about alarms, etc.
IP video software is the glue that holds a surveillance system together. It displays all your cameras, stores the video and provides real surveillance functions. It makes it easy to view a specific camera, to find the stored video by camera, data and time, and does many other things. There are many choices of IP software available. The one that is best depends not only on what you need to do, but also reliability (it doesnít crash), usability (itís easy to use) and efficiency (it doesnít require many computers to work). Features to consider The number of cameras supported.
If you have a small number of cameras to watch, then any software will work, but as the number of cameras increases, you need software that can handle the video load. Software that uses a dedicated video database is better than products that use a standard database. A standard database is too slow to handle the demands of high speed video processing. You will also require a more powerful computer as the number of cameras increase. Many of the more powerful software products support up to 64 cameras per computer. How you view the cameras depends on how you control your security.
You may have a central location where you view all the cameras, or you may have multiple locations where you want various cameras to be viewed. Client software or web browser access to the cameras allows you to view the cameras anywhere on the network or Internet. You can also have video pop up on a personís PC screen when an alarm is detected. A Police Officer can even use a laptop or PDA to view video before having to go to the site. Viewing the cameras over the Internet
Some software products make it easy to view the live video and the stored video over the Internet. You can use a web browser to access the computer that is controlling the cameras. Sending video requires a high bandwidth, but in many cases the Internet connection can be limited to 256Kb/s. Software that provides additional video compression will work better. Better compression allows you to see the video using your web browser in real time. Automatic PTZ control
Do you plan to use Pan, Tilt Zoom (PTZ) cameras? PTZ cameras allow you to patrol over a wide area. Many IP cameras have patrol or touring capability built-in. If you want to receive an alarm when motion is detected and to store video only when motion is detected, then you will require software that can differentiate between camera motion and object motion. The software also allows you to move the camera to a predetermined position if an alarm is detected. For example, if someone comes through a door, a contact closure can cause the PTZ camera to look at the doorway. Compression Supported
There are two compression standards used by cameras, MPEG4 and MJPEG. MPEG4 is better if you have a low data rate or bandwidth connection between the camera and the computer. MJPEG supports higher resolution cameras. If you want to take advantage of the better compression provided by MPEG4, you need to select software that supports this compression standard. Take a look at the article
that reviews the different compression schemes available. Integrated System
Instead of purchasing your own computer, you can use a system that includes the computer, software and storage. The IP-NVR
is an example of an integrated solution. It includes a PC that runs IP camera software and includes hard drive storage for the video. Each system supports up to 64 cameras and you can add many systems together to support thousands of cameras. Itís a very modular solution. Intelligent Video Applications
Would you like to automatically detect a suitcase or other object left behind by a person? New software products are available that provide complex video analysis. These new systems can detect if there has been intrusion in a certain area, count people in a specific area, detect if an object has been left or removed from an area. This intelligent software is now available as an option to the standard IP surveillance software Determine What You Need
Now that you know about some of the features available, you can answer the following questions and then select the software or system that meets your needs. All the products we suggest are reliable and easy to use.
Select the software:
- Do you have more than 25 cameras?
If you have over 25 cameras, you need a product that has an efficient video database, so it can handle more cameras per computer.
- Are the cameras at more than one location?
If you have many locations, you need a product that allows you to easily integrate all these locations at a single PC.
- Do you need more than 500GB of video storage?
The more video you store, the more storage youíll need. If you need over 500GB of storage, you want a product that allows you to distribute and transfer video to secondary storage volumes on the network.
- Do you want to view the video over the Internet?
Select a product that not only provides a web browser interface, but also controls bandwidth by compressing video that is displayed on a web browser.
- Do you want to use cameras that use both MJPEG and MPEG4 compression?
MPEG4 compression provides better compression than MJPEG, but MJPEG provides higher resolution.
- Would you like to automatically pan, tilt and zoom to a set of predefined positions and have the camera stop and record only if it sees motion?
Many cameras have built-in patrolling, but software adds the ability to test for motion only when the camera is not moving.
- Is ease-of-use very important?
If you have to train people to use the product, or you require the user interface to be simple and obvious, then the products ease-of-use is important.
- Do want an integrated solution?
A complete system that includes the PC, software and storage all in one box
- Do you want to add intelligent video processing?
Intelligent video processing can be used to notify you if someone leaves a package, or even control a pan tilt zoom camera to follow a person.
Now that you have answered the questions letís see what the best software is for your application.
If you answered no to question 1 and have less than 25 cameras (fixed cameras) and can store all the video in one computer, and answered yes to 4, 5 and 7 then ProSightSMB
is right for your application.
If you have answered yes to questions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, and have less than 64 cameras, then NetDVR
If you have answered yes to questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and have over 64 cameras, then NetDVMS
is best for you..
If you said yes to question 8 then select the IP-NVR
If you said yes to question 9, and require Intelligent Video, this functionality can be added to NetDVMS software.
Ther is other software available, but in our experience, the software from ONSSI and the complete IP-NVR system have proven to be the most reliable and easiest to use. Do you need help selecting the right software, please contact us and we will be happy to help. Call 1-800-431-1658, reply to this newsletter or use the contact form and we will provide our professional assistance.