Physical Security: migrating from analog to IP

Concerns associated with migration

When I’ve spoken to users about migrating from analog to IP, I’ve found they often share the same view.  They are aware that new technologies and platforms can improve their systems’ security and efficiency and  they know that the possibilities offered by analytics  could  go far beyond video surveillance.  In addition, they also know their world is composed of several disparate systems, working via proprietary protocols –if they’d like to switch to new systems, the fear of change is bigger than the willingness to improve.

The main concerns shared when they evaluate the migration path are:

  • Costs, in an ideal world, the customer would replace the different elements of a system with brand new technology. Unfortunately, this is an optimistic prospect, as the available budget is usually limited to maintenance expenses – no budget to improve, but a recurrent investment in maintaining an outdated sub system.
  • How will the migration impact cabling, sensors, intrusion and fire detection, surveillance, access control and intercoms and audio? How can it all be integrated? Is it time to consider more bandwidth?
  • How long will the process take? What impact will it have on the business’ operations? Is it better to update during the day, interfering with the operativity, or at night, when it will be less disruptive but will also be more expensive?
  • Will the system be accepted by employees? What training employees will need to deal with the new system. Will they need to be trained?
  • Is an IP solution cyber-secure?

To simplify the migration, we explain the different hardware and software alternatives and encourage the end users to progress to a new level of performance and integration, enabling old and new systems to coexist efficiently, without service interruption. With a plan and the right tools, the process could be easy and smooth – not the headache people fear.

Ensuring a smooth transition to IP

One of the best options is to adopt a PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) approach, where software that is controlled through one comprehensive user interface allows a platform to integrate multiple unconnected security applications and devices . With the ability to collect and correlate events from different devices and information systems (video, audio, access control, alarm sensors, intrusion detectors, analytics…)  it is possible, to quickly and effectively  identify and  resolve situations, while looking for an alternative existing software platform.

PSIM enables  the use of open technologies, which are compatible with many manufacturers, to offer more opportunities for expansion and reduce implementation costs through an improved use of the existing equipment.

This approach positively impacts the physical and infrastructural aspects of the migration:

  • There’s no need to remove and replace existing cables as transceivers and media converter devices (Fiber to Ethernet, coax to Ethernet) – and video encoders – can be used to open the door for IP based products like cameras, speakers and door stations.
  • In terms of hours and costs, replacing a cable is much more expensive than using transceivers which, complying with SFP Multisource Agreement (MSA), are easy to install without interrupting the online operation.
  • Distributed intelligence simplifies the system: instead of needing a power cable, a video cable and yet another cable for PTZ cameras (as is the case with analog systems), a simple RJ45 cable is will connect everything. It is also possible to use an Ethernet cable and  a media converter  to enable a megapixel camera instead of an analog one.
  • Bandwidth is not a problem as existing compression technologies like H.264 and Axis Zipstream are only used when required. Personnel will have an easier life too: the user interface of PSIM is customizable, so it can be personalized for the company’s needs.

Eliminating security concerns about the migration

Providing the correct security measures such as firewalls, VPNs and password protection are in place, the internet is safe for secure applications like surveillance and security monitoring.

PSIM implementation is something that requires a high level of specialization.  Thanks to VAPIX and standard protocols, like ONVIF and SIP, it’s easier to deal with the high specialization level that this kind of migration asks. This architectural openness also enables future savings, so PSIMs are also a long-term investment.

Those who have implemented a PSIM approach to IP migration have highlighted the main benefits as increased controls, improved situation awareness and false alarm reductions. This improvement in e efficiency reduces costs and increases intelligence, which in turn improves security.