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One IP camera vs. Another IP camera

Posted on May 7th, 2008

IP cameras, are IP cameras right? I mean, you just plug them into a network, give them an IP address and stream digital video…easy!

Well in fact, not all IP cameras are the same, or created equal for that matter.

Firstly consider the typical IP camera hardware architecture. Every well branded IP camera on the market to date is built on the platform of relying on hardware (compression chips and digitizers), to create the video. Mobotix on the other hand uses software to deliver the key features, from the pixel of the image converter right up to the compressed image for viewing.

The software is also used to control all the exposure control, white balance and color correction. This allows the developers to implement major enhancements, through new software updates. This enables fast, dynamic improvements in the camera’s feature-set. For example as image and sound standards of web browsers improve, Mobotix can make these new features quickly available via a software upgrade.

Every Mobotix camera is weather proof, (IP65 rated if mounted correctly as per installation instructions). This saves time and money on a project as outdoor housings do not need to be purchased and installed. The cameras will withstand extreme temperatures (-30?C to +60?C) this saves the cost of having to run power cables to facilitate the
housings electronic climate control system. Installers can just run one ethernet cable and using PoE, it will provide data connectivity and power the camera.

Camera power consumption is an important factor for installations where available power is limited, such as remote installation using isolated power supplies such as local battery or solar. Mobotix cameras use less than half (2-3W) of what other IP cameras use.

What kind of codec an IP camera uses will have a determining factor on a number of things including image quality, bandwidth usage and storage required, and how much grunt your recording PC or Server will need. Most of the IP cameras out there now offer dual compression, being a choice to use MPEG-4 or M-JPEG. There are a couple of things you need to factor in. Of the two, MPEG-4 does a much better job of compressing the video (uses less bandwidth and hard disk space when recording), whilst M-JPEG delivers high image quality but uses ALOT more bandwidth and hard disk space when recording.

MPEG-4 is currently the most commonly used video codec, for IP surveillance applications. There is a tradeoff, with MPEG-4 however, this codec requires more computational power because of its high complexity. This means that when then MPEG-4 video stream leaves the camera, it needs to be decoded by the recording PC (most commonly XP Pro, Vista or 2003 Server).

Reconstructing the MPEG-4 requires enormous amounts of CPU power particularly when you have multiple cameras recording VGA resolution or higher. to reconstruct the video. In a recent case cited, a local site here in Australia had 70 ‘other branded’ IP cameras installed onsite recording in VGA resolution using MPEG-4 codec. The majority of the cameras were set to record on motion at 5fps and some of the cameras were set to record, on hardwired event triggering, at 15fps. To handle the video stream, a Windows 2003 server with a pair of quad core Xeon processor was commissioned. to handle the video decoding and the licensed video management software.

Had they installed Mobotix cameras they could have simply used couple of inexpensive rack mounted NAS devices which would have given them about fifty percent more storage capacity and they still would have spent literally thousands of dollars, (I didn’t have the heart to tell them!).

The reason why Mobotix cameras can record directly to attached storage is that the video stream is decoded within the camera and sent out as an MxPEG stream, therefore very little processing power or intelligence is required to record the image. Plus its the most efficient codec around over the network. So you can use a really cost effective, quality NAS device to do all your recording for so much less (see 200RL)!

And then there is the cost of ‘pay-per-camera’ licensing that you have to fork out with other IP cameras… MxControlCenter will provide all the functionality you will need from a small 4 camera site to a 1000 camera installation over hundred sites.


MOBOTIX Announce New Training Program

Posted on February 20th, 2008

Abstract:

MOBOTIX, the global leader in megapixel IP camera technologies has announced The IP Academy as it’s official co-ordinator of certified training to the MOBOTIX partners within Australia.

Press Release:

“Educating our reseller channel is a key part of the MOBOTIX growth strategy in Australia and we have appointed a training company to help us achieve this.” said Graham Wheeler, MOBOTIX Asia Pacific Regional Director. “The IP Academy will be responsible for co-ordinating all of our training and certification programs throughout the A/NZ region.” Wheeler explained the requirements for obtaining MOBOTIX certification, “The student must successfully complete four days of training, to obtain full certification. This includes theory, hands on labs and a final exam.” While the training is fairly rigorous he said, “After four days the student is competent in the key areas of an IP surveillance system and the installation process.”

“The IP Academy is excited to be awarded this opportunity and we look forward to continuing to deliver value to MOBOTIX and its partners throughout Australia” said Simon Hall, Director of The IP Academy. “This partnership provides MOBOTIX with the leverage to educate their channel partners even more effectively.”

About MOBOTIX:

MOBOTIX, founded in 1999, is the world’s leading manufacturer of IP based high definition video surveillance systems, with a 60% share of the worldwide megapixel security camera market. Designed and manufactured in Germany, the MOBOTIX product line has unprecedented points of differentiation including weatherproof design, license free video management software, dual lens systems and direct recording to attached storage.

About the IP Academy:

The IP Academy is an authorised training provider for Security and IT professionals, offering hands-on specialist training for IP device integration. All of our training courses are instructed and certified by the technology manufacturer.


Are You a Certified Security Installer?

Posted on February 3rd, 2008

In some regions, obtaining a security license is a legal requirement for installers of electronic security devices. But will a security license differentiate you from the herd of installers?

Differentiation Through Certification

Some of the world’s leading manufacturers are now offering certification for the security installer. Certification is a standard of excellence, and it’s the absolute best way to communicate your proficiency in installation. This not only promotes your expertise within the market, but it also enables you to command higher rates and win more prestigious clients.

Why should you obtain certification? For the same reasons why someone obtains an MCSE, CNE or a CPA - to demonstrate competency and set you apart from the competition. Vendor certification is a As a certified installer you can use the vendor certified logos to show off your “seal of approval”, on your business cards, website and proposals.

Certification is your exclusive identity that designates your expertise.

Choice of Certification

The IP Academy offer a range of vendor credential training that empowers the installer to plan, design, build, and maintain systems using different IP based technologies.

Mobotix

To obtain certification participants must participate in a 4 day course (2-day Basic & 2-day Advanced). A final exam must be passed to obtain certificate. Certified installers enjoy beneficial pricing and qualified leads from Mobotix.

Finally we are starting to see real traction with the convergence of IT and CCTV video technologies. Early 2006 saw the attention of major players in the security industry directed toward IP video solutions. Security companies are being forced to widen their choice of video technologies as customers demand ‘something more’ than a DVR system. This shift in demand has created the need for an educational system that benchmarks the core competencies of security companies installing IP-based surveillance technologies. To date, many installers lack the networking expertise required to successfully design and implement an IP-based video system.

This is not to say that the security industry doesn’t provide training sessions and workshops, it most certainly does, but the key themes of these training courses are based around outdated CCTV standards.

So far there has been little-to-no training that caters to IP surveillance systems.

A similar dilemma was seen over twenty years ago when the IT industry evolved from a fragmented tribal system to a structured industry. In those early days of transition, there were not the comprehensive training courses that IT installers enjoy today. Realising the need to benchmark industry standards and preserve quality assurance during the installation process, IT vendors (e.g. Novell, IBM, Microsoft) took it upon themselves to create vendor-certified training programs.

The Result…

Certification programs have protected the interests of the vendor, the installer and most importantly the end user - who ultimately foots the bill for the system installation. Today, an informed business manager will favour a vendor-certified installer rather than one who has ‘learned on the job’. Using certified installers demonstrates prudence in budgetary expenditure.

To cater to the growing demand for training in IP video, the giants in IP surveillance manufacturing – MOBOTIX are now providing a range of programs and courses for installers who wishing to obtain certification.

Because successful implementation of IP video requires expertise in networking and attached IP devices, this year we will see a wider range of vendor training from manufacturers of storage, networking and data security solutions. These training sessions will be specifically designed for the security installer.

Security system installers who wish to obtain certification in IP video surveillance should check out the full range of available courses.