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Freeze frame: Is your video surveillance system up to par?

By Spike Anderson

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Jewellery stores face unique security challenges, largely because merchandise is both small and very valuable. Effective video security solutions are available, but it is not uncommon to find a store in which the cameras do not provide sufficient coverage and image quality to combat theft.

Retailers looking to install a new system or improve an existing one must first choose between analog and Internet protocol (IP) video. The differences between the two technologies are similar to any analog versus digital comparison. Analog systems use a signal from an analog camera transmitted over a coaxial cable (like those used for television cable signals), while IP video is a digital signal transmitted as data over a computer network cable or even wirelessly.


The most critical difference between analog closed circuit TV (CCTV) and IP video is image quality; since jewellery can be extremely small, this is of paramount concern to your business. Analog systems max out at the tube-TV quality of the past, while IP video provides the same HDTV-quality video we now watch on our flat screens at home. Additionally, since an IP camera is essentially a computer that can see, IP video offers many more applications, such as intelligent video, easy remote monitoring, use of mobile devices, and even integrated connections with other technology like alarm panels, store lighting, and motion sensors.

Also, IP is more scalable (i.e. expandable) than analog. As many jewellery retailers have discovered too late, the number of ports on an analog digital video recorder (DVR) determines the maximum number of cameras that can be employed. This is commonly referred to as the ’17th-camera scenario.’ Often, a DVR has 16 ports for analog camera connections. If you need to add a 17th camera to cover a different part of your store, you must purchase both the camera and a new DVR. In comparison, network video can scale from one camera to thousands, and connecting a new IP camera to the system is not difficult.

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