Video Surveillance Made Easy


The shift from closed-circuit television (CCTV) security systems to network video solutions is nearly complete. Network video surveillance systems offer many benefits over traditional closed-circuit systems, and Axis Communications has been there since the beginning. Axis offers every type of network surveillance equipment imaginable, and B&H carries the full line, with prices much lower than the competition. 

It is unfortunate for trespassers and criminals in general that video security has become so widespread and popular. You just can’t get away with anything these days without being caught on surveillance video. Surveillance cameras are now installed in schools, retail shops, on buses and trains, and throughout the streets of all major cities. Consumers, too, can now set up video-surveillance systems throughout their homes to keep an eye on the kids, pets, nannies, house cleaners, contractors, valuable collections, and unguarded entryways.

The reasons for the surge in video surveillance are many, not to mention the increase in general paranoia in the new Millenium. One reason is that the equipment is now so affordable that any business, small or large, can afford it. Another reason is that all of the latest equipment is IP-based, meaning that it can be piggy-backed right onto an existing IP network. Anywhere there’s a computer network, video surveillance can be added to it for a very small investment.

And this is the truly significant part—whether live or archived, this type of video surveillance footage can be accessed remotely from any computer on the Internet. Just as a casino boss can keep an eye on his dealers while vacationing in Monaco, a short-order cook can check in on his goldfish while relaxing at the Mohegan Sun. Remote access also allows a third-party security firm to monitor the video, which would be difficult and costly using a traditional analog CCTV system.

IP-based equipment with built-in intelligence can also reduce the amount of recordings that don’t contain anything of interest. The cameras can be set to record in response to motion detection, audio detection and tampering. The same responses can turn on lights and alarms, lock doors and send messages to specific people. Let’s take a closer look at some of the Axis Communications products available at B&H.

The M3113-R Network Camera is intended for use in buses, trains and emergency vehicles. The rugged camera is dust and water resistant and can withstand vibrations, shocks, bumps and temperature fluctuations. Its low-profile design minimizes physical interference with passengers, and an integrated dehumidifying membrane prevents fogging in high humidity. The camera can activate an alarm when it senses the lens being tampered with. Powered by PoE, or Power over Ethernet, the camera does not require a separate power cable.

The P5534 Network Camera with outdoor housing is a PTZ, or Pan Tilt Zoom camera, with superior weather protection. A 1.3-megapixel progressive scan CCD captures HD-quality video with simultaneous H.264/MJPEG streaming. The camera has an 18x optical zoom lens and supports 360-degree panning and 180-degree tilting. A Gatekeeper function will move the camera to a preset position following motion detection and then return it to its home position after a set time. A built-in SD/SDHC card slot allows the recording of images right in the camera. The rugged aluminum housing has a built-in heater and blower to maintain proper internal operating temperature. With its rugged housing, the camera is ideal for use at airports, train stations and warehouses.

The Q1910 Thermal Network Camera uses thermal imaging to detect people, objects and incidents in smoke, haze, dust, fog or even complete darkness. Powered by PoE, the camera does not require a separate power cable. Two-way audio support lets the operator communicate with visitors and intruders. The Q1910 includes motion, audio and tampering detection.

The 207MW Network Camera is a compact 1.3-megapixel camera that can communicate wirelessly with a network router. This allows you to install the camera in an awkward location without running an Ethernet cable to it. A built-in microphone lets the operator hear as well as see any occurrence. A built-in network server allows the output to be viewed from a remote location via a web browser.

The 241Q Video Server bridges the gap between analog and digital technology. You can connect up to four analog fixed or dome cameras and turn them into virtual network cameras with remote viewing and recording, PTZ control and alarm I/O ports. If you need to connect more than four analog cameras (way more than four, in fact), the 241Q 4-Port Blade Video Server will allow it. Each blade allows only four cameras to be connected, but the 241Q blade has to be installed in the Q9700 Rack, which allows up to 14 blade cards to be installed. That should be enough to handle almost any situation.

Axis Communications makes hundreds more products than the few I’ve touched upon. If you are interested in setting up a network video surveillance system but aren’t sure how to go about it, feel free to contact the knowledgeable and helpful sales staff at B&H. They can help you put a custom system together, to keep an eye on things.