"There are many benefits of adding IP technology to an existing analogue solution"

In this interview Simon Shawley, General Manager UK and Ireland at Samsung Techwin Europe Limited, explains the significance and the advantages of cameras offering a hybrid solution by way of providing both IP and analogue outputs.
Why would an end user need both analogue and network outputs?
"The reality is, there are many thousands of existing analogue CCTV systems which are working perfectly. There are also many situations where the end-user requirements have changed since the original system was installed. There may now be a need to capture higher quality images at certain locations, which they cannot do with their existing analogue cameras. In this scenario it is possible to get the best of both worlds; protect your existing investment by utilising the current recording system, which provides the desired results, whilst at the same time adding special cameras to benefit from simultaneous analogue and digital HD video streams."

But when these situations occur, why would the end-user not just ask their preferred installation company to replace the existing cameras with the latest generation of analogue cameras that are able to capture higher resolution images?
"That is certainly one option, but with full HD cameras now being affordable for virtually any application or project, why would anyone not want to take advantage of the superb evidence grade images that can be captured by them, as well as a long list of technically advanced features that can offer real-life benefits which cannot be offered by traditional analogue cameras? In many cases the long-term vision to move to an IP based solution has been made, but budgetary restrictions mean a phased approach is necessary. In this scenario end-users can start the upgrade process of moving towards a future proof solution by adding for example a Samsung WisenetIII camera, whilst continuing to use existing recording equipment that is still fit for purpose. Increasingly we are working with end-users who see this as a viable strategy, especially as there is no need for additional cables; the install is quick and more importantly - there is no disruption to the business."

In simple terms, what does the hybrid nature of the WisenetIII camera range mean and what benefits does it deliver?
"It allows the cameras to be installed and work as part of an existing analogue CCTV system that uses conventional coaxial cable. The images captured by a camera in this range can be transmitted over the coaxial cable and remotely viewed alongside the images captured by existing analogue cameras, or transmitted over the network for remote viewing and transmitted over the coaxial cable for local viewing."

Can you give some examples of what kind of business would benefit from this?
"The retail sector is an obvious example. In a tough economic environment, it may be difficult for a retailer to consider totally replacing an existing CCTV system, but at entrances/exits where there are quite highly visible front of house monitors to deter would be thieves, or at check-outs where you are trying to reduce shrinkage, there may be a desire to replace a small number of cameras with full HD models. Banks, casinos, indeed any environment where the availability of the highest possible resolution images can help combat criminal activity, ensure compliance with health & safety policies or introduce efficiencies, are likely to benefit from this option."

So how is it possible and how does it work?
"It is possible because the cameras uniquely have an analogue output that constantly provides a one volt peak to peak signal. It is true that there are high definition cameras available from other manufacturers which have an analogue output signal, but this signal is intended to only be used for test purposes when a camera is being installed."

Which of these options is likely to attract the most interest?
"They are all easy to implement and it will depend on the individual user requirements. All options offer the ability to have constant streaming from the cameras over an analogue infrastructure and all therefore offer the potential to upgrade and extend the life of an existing CCTV system. Clearly, the most cost-effective way of converting an analogue system to an IP system is to replace all the elements - camera, coax and DVR - all-in-one-go but this is often not viable for budgetary reasons."

How about encoders?
"Encoders can be used to convert analogue to IP but this is an additional cost and NVRs or network storage is then a further additional cost requirement. A hybrid camera allows the user to immediately upgrade those cameras that need it and plan the migration of the rest of the system as budget and needs dictate. By introducing a planned replacement of analogue cameras with hybrid cameras, perhaps under a maintenance contract with a current service provider, end users can get immediate access to HD recorded images whilst making their system ready for switch over to a network solution - "HD ready" as we call it."

How did this product range emerge?
"Customers wanted to see further improvements in image quality, particularly in analogue systems. Also high up on the wish list was the need for cameras to be more installer friendly, especially to those new to working with IP cameras. Samsung Techwin's response to the feedback from its existing and potential customers has been to pack the new models, with a long list of new technically advanced features, many of which ensure that superb quality images can be captured and recorded regardless of the system type; network or analogue."

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