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January 2015 www.SecurityInfoWatch.com / Security Dealer & Integrator 21 C onversations about moving to IP and cloud surveillance networks inevitably deliver varying opin- ions on when and how to transition. While the benefts of leaving analog behind are clear — greater interop- erability and simplifed management among them — for most end-users, it comes down to identifying the best and most cost-efective path to digital for their situations. Tere is no question that network convergence is here today, but plenty of questions remain about what to replace and how to get there — partic- ularly when it comes to the cloud. And while there is no perfect answer for end-users, security systems integrators, dealers and technology manufacturers are making advances toward simplify- ing the transition. Brad Ehlert, president of Utah- based systems integrator Ehlert Solu- tions Group, is encouraged by recent maturity of IP and cloud technology. Ehlert's company is especially active in the education sector, and he points to the growing convergence of IP video and access control as a sign of prog- ress. He sees more access control sup- pliers incorporating live video, while IP video suppliers are building in access control functionality. While Ehlert says developments like these are substantial, it is not enough for his customers. "Tere's defnitely progression happening, and in the security industry, this is visible through a variety of diferent solutions crossing the surveillance architecture," Ehlert explains. "From a big-picture perspective, our customers are asking for more integration. Tere needs to be a lot more progression to achieve that integrated environment that people have been talking about for years." Te barrier as Ehlert sees it has much to do with simplifying integra- tion through multiple vendor solu- tions. "Our customers want the ability to easily integrate a panic button in the classroom with their video and access control systems," Ehlert says. "Tis way, access to the building is locked and video feeds are rolling when a panic button is triggered. Tey want to make sure that transitioning to IP and the cloud eliminates having to manage these processes across diferent sys- tems. Tat is where the value lies." While the benefts are clear, acceler- ating the transition will come down to creating solutions for all budgets that also address IP camera costs, band- width challenges, reliable network con- nections, total cost of ownership and other operational considerations. And it appears that this will be far more challenging for integrators tasked with building out cloud-based systems. Analog Sun Has Not Set "Based on the conversations I have with our customers, a large majority are still buying analog cameras," says Johannes G. Rietschel, chairman of Barix, an IP audio and control special- ist. Barix audio surveillance solutions are ofen deployed with VMS systems from companies like Milestone Sys- tems, which support both analog and IP cameras to ease transitions. "It is astonishing, but recent esti- mates I have seen put analog cam- era purchases signifcantly higher than IP cameras," Rietschel says. "A lot of businesses aren't ready to make that investment — one, because it is a much higher upfront expense, and two, there is still a reliability question, especially when it comes to cloud- based services." Ehlert stresses that the challenges of cloud surveillance multiply as camera counts rise. He believes there are serious pain points to the cloud environment that cannot be fxed by current solutions on the market. "It's a question of how an enterprise with 200 cameras on site, all record- ing high-defnition video, can stream that to the cloud," Ehlert explains. "It means dedicating an enormous amount of network bandwidth just for a security application, which requires a large monetary investment. I don't see this as a huge value proposition for a large corporation or an edu- cational institution. Tere are more cost-efective ways to monitor multi- ple locations over IP through direct connections." A lot of businesses aren't ready to invest (in IP-based video surveillance) — one, because it is a much higher upfront expense, and two, there is still a reliability question, especially when it comes to cloud-based services," says Johannes Rietschel of Barix.