Chris-UwajeToday, Institutions of all kinds – especially the Fortune Five Hundred Multi-Nationals, Financial Institutions, Mega Business outfits, Government entities, Electoral Processes and e-Voting, e-Government Operations, Banking and Finance, Sports complex Stadiums, Airports, Hospitality and Entertainment Centres, Shopping Malls, Organised Sports and leisure facilities, Mass Transport facilities and Train  Stations, such as  Hospital, Court Rooms, Server Rooms,  Automated systems  and Military bases, etc, – are being challenged to install video surveillance in areas that are too complex and remote, too costly or physically impossible to reach with traditional monitoring methods.

Resolving the Challenges: To resolve the above challenges, IP-centric wired/wireless security/surveillance solutions can be deployed to help leap over those barriers, as they allow a virtually unlimited number of video surveillance cameras to be deployed quickly, easily and cost-effectively in a new or expanded security system. This can be accomplished Location-wide: Nation-wide, State-wide, City-wide, LGA-wide and country wide. The organizational efficiency management capability of a State Government can be rapidly and greatly improved, enhanced and made more secured State-wide, by deploying IP Digital Surveillance Camera Solutions over their LAN/WAN Infrastructure. This way, more value will be added to the huge investments of the State at all infrastructural levels – I am informed that this is expertly what Lagos State CCTV Security Camera is all about. This is at the face value a very laudable project and Babatunde Fashola’s Government should be commended for applying his thinking cap to salvage the Lagos Mega city challenges.

Question is: Was Lagos State Government well advised on before embarking on this project – especially on the choice of CCTV Camera as against IP-Based Surveillance Camera Solutions? Fact is, CCTV Solutions are several decades aged and lag behind the technologies of the future. If the idea is to install CCTV now with a mirage lifespan of 30 years (?) as its predecessor, then we are grossly mistaken! It is not too late to swing and make the right correction/choice.

Due to the IP-based nature of IP surveillance technology systems, designated users can access, monitor, store, and archive video, audio and associated application data over the Internet or across private data networks using the set access codes.

Furthermore one can control, trouble-shoot, adjust, service and configure all cameras from any location that has Internet or private network connectivity. IP surveillance cameras can be linked to event-driven alert and alarm software for IP systems, which enables the functionality to raise an alarm based on certain detected movements/motions or if certain set conditions occur or pre-set thresholds are reached, which far exceed the capabilities of old CCTV systems

There are several benefits when using IP surveillance systems as opposed to traditional CCTV. The following list of benefits gives a good overview of the general benefits that come along when using IP surveillance systems.

–    IP surveillance systems are cost effective

–    IP surveillance systems have a vast amount of functionalities

–    Event-driven alerts

–    Superior image quality

–    Secure data transmission

–    One-way or two-way audio transmission

–    Backup and storage of Development Information & Data.

–    IP surveillance systems are highly flexible in their deployment

–    IP surveillance systems can easily be expanded

Effectiveness and Cost Advantage of IP Surveillance Solutions.

Networked IP camera systems have cost advantages, as the required wiring is less expensive. Especially the fact that IP networks can be used for purposes of other data transmission, such as email, file transfers etc. The vast amount of functionalities IP surveillance software gives to IP cameras make them more effective and less error prone.

As mentioned above IP surveillance systems are able to handle motion

detection, event triggers, and alert automation and have a multitude of options for changing frame rates, resolution and timed record cycles.

For more simplified and better understanding, the following explanations will further elaborate on the solution.

  • Special IP Cameras can be configured in a way that they only send data to the recording servers when a specific threshold of motion is detected.
  • Sensitivity settings can be adjusted so that insignificant movements will not trigger a recording.
  • The main benefit of this is that it saves recording space and human analysis time, as the system only keeps what is relevant to the particular security situation at hand.
  • It is then possible to automatically email such security alerts to any email address or group.
  • This email can then be retrieved with any IP-connected communication system containing an email client, such as PDAs, mobile phone and other IP connected devices
  • In Addition, it is possible to integrate digital images with third party applications for license plate recognition, people counting, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and face recognition.
  • And many more for monitoring Stock Exchange activities.

It is perhaps important to emphasize that with an analog camera system, none of these applications can be performed as easily as with an IP based system, as such functionalities would require intensive digital conversion, which is performed on multiple layers and leads to a reduction of the image quality.

ip camera.

IP Surveillance systems digitization process: As described above, with IP Surveillance systems, the digitization process occurs once at the camera and is carried across the digital IP network, thus any video data starts digital and stays digital throughout the infrastructure.

This leads us to the next benefit – the superior image quality. In analog systems the coax cables used can compromise image clarity, as signals can degrade over long cabling distances. Other than that analog cameras adhere to NTSC/PAL standards, which mean that they limit the resolution to 0.4 mega pixels.

IP network cameras, on the other hand, use progressive scan technology and high resolutions that depict moving objects more clearly and cover larger areas with sharper images. These technological advantages enable digital pan, tilt and zoom features that analog systems can only perform with additional, dedicated cabling.

All these benefits are great, but how is a secure connection guaranteed that can not be intercepted easily? A technology called encryption is used, which sends coded data across the network. Encrypted data being sent across the network has the advantage that only the cameras and servers know what kind of packets to expect across the system. With this secured technique, and authentication keys, it is not possible for outsiders to break into the network to steal video data or feed false video into the system.

With analog systems, these additional security features are not put in place. The cabling can be tapped and erroneous video material can be fed into the wire or recorded off of it at will without raising any intrusion alarms. Compared to analog systems, IP systems are much more difficult to compromise, as encryption requires two nodes that agree on exactly what is being sent and received, interruptions to this data stream will automatically trigger alarms and alerts.

Any type of additional data (sound, graphics, applications, event triggers, etc) can also be sent through the encrypted network. Thus, one-way or two-way audio requires only microphones and speakers at the end points when used with appropriate IP cameras that support audio capabilities. This means that it is very easy to deploy audio along side video data. Analog systems, on the other hand, can’t handle single channel audio or two-way sound channels without added cabling and expense.

Yet another benefit is the storage systems used within IP surveillance networks. They are much easier to configure and more reliable.

The IP surveillance Camera Back-up and storage systems are server based RAID disk systems that are connected to uninterrupted power supplies (UPS), just like in any other network – and capable of capturing and storing Terabytes off Data and images simultaneously.

Any network administrator can manage these servers without having any additional training. Another benefit of this server based technology used in IP surveillance networks, is that they the cameras are able to record during playback.

Analog systems, however, require proprietary recording and back-up systems that add significant component, maintenance, and training costs as the system grows. In addition analog tape based recording systems require ongoing replacement tapes. All these benefits show a high level of flexibility. Another aspect of this flexibility is the fact that IP surveillance data can be securely viewed anytime, anywhere from a standard Web browser like Internet Explorer. This simply cannot be done with analog systems that are relegated to the local redundant cabling infrastructure that has been established.

Yet another aspect of the above mentioned flexibility is that additional cameras can easily be added one at a time, whereas analog systems mostly require increments of 8, 16 or 24 additional cameras. The fact that several cameras can be supported on the same IP infrastructure makes adding additional cameras cost effective. Typical switches and routers available today simply segregate traffic for larger scale video applications. With proper network design, installations with 250,000-500,000 IP cameras are common to accomplish such tasks, and some organizations are easily using more than 1,000,000 IP cameras at a time.

It can deliver a solution eg: for simultaneous Surveillance of Stock Exchange Trading Halls – deploying IP Camera Technology. There are various models to accomplish this task applying Broadband solutions available in a wide range of capacities, which can span up to thousands of square miles, if need be. The WiMax last-mile solutions would also be ideal for providing surveillance coverage distribution. Today Stock Exchanges are critical domain of investment and Assets, which represent a significant part of national and global economies and to leave them without a secured channel monitoring and up-to-the-micro-second surveillance translates one of the highest risks that can befall the ICT infrastructure of a World Cup Competition.

Another typical example and global surveillance standard  is the Management of FIFA based competitions where Country organizers are compelled by FIFA Laws to protect the event and investment, life and property of the participants – including protecting the stadiums, dressing rooms, vehicular traffic, human movement, and indeed any sensitive object in and around the stadium from acts of mischief, vandalism and theft.

Mastering these complex challenges and finding lasting solutions to intruder and avoiding high cost litigations from net-worth customers requires the installation of IP surveillance and monitoring network solutions that may also proves useful for observing employee activities.

There are various target areas for security monitoring, including the entry and access doors, trading floors, parking lot, bag drop area, key areas on the gatehouse and restroom facilities.  The above described new and enhanced IP surveillance technology makes it possible to transmit image and sound data via a secured network.

As this IP surveillance network will mostly consist of cameras that are installed in common public areas – outdoors, it is important to make sure that all-weather wireless cameras, transmitter and receiver systems are put in place to send wireless video from different locations across the property back to the security office (where the server-room/monitoring station is).

In conclusion, the laudable Lagos State electronic surveillance project may become a living albatross of the future if the state of the Art of technologies and solutions are not deployed – especially in view of the massive data capture to be generated in the African front-runner Mega city called Lagos. Critical factors of success will include Domain experience and expertise of the chosen solutions provider/contractor for the project, technical maintenance agreement/SLA and indigenous IT resource/Software utility involvement. As I write, most of the above features are either in transit or completely missing.

Other than being able to endure the humid and hot weather, as well as the pouring showers we are often faced with, the IP cameras in question must be vandal proof as well. Monitoring stations provide multi-camera monitoring via either a hardware or software interface. Multiple monitors or a single screen split into multiple frames can be easily configured with IP camera management software. Management and monitoring software solutions sold with digital IP systems include automated snapshot, event, alarm and motion detection features as indicated above.

– For those who understand the popular Latin of our time, I salute you and say: – EKO O NI BAJE O!

Chris Uwaje
Chris Uwaje: Known as the Oracle of the Nigerian IT Industry, Pioneered the conceptualization Framework and content drafting strategy for the establishment of the National Information Technology Development Policy for Nigeria. He is the former Regional Director for D-link International - West Africa. In 2008 he was crowned the IT Personality of the year. He has presented many IT conference papers at home and abroad. He is a speaker of international repute. Uwaje, who is very passionate about youth empowerment through ICT, before now, was the Principal Consultant and Chief Executive Officer of Connect Technologies Limited, (Developers of E-Government Solutions, Enterprise Banker Enterprise, Enterprise Knowledge Intelligence Groupware & Enterprise Cooperative Financials Application). He is an expert in Software Design and Engineering Solutions; Research, Design and Development (RD&D). His special professional focus: National & Regional IT Strategy and Policy; Coordinating Chairman, Council for West Africa Information Technology Professionals (CWAITP). President Cybersecurity NGO Global Network for Cybersolution, Past President of Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and 1st Vice President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON). Member, National Inter-Ministerial Committee on Software Development, Council Member, Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria. (CPN). Foundation Member, National Software Development Initiative (NSDI), Member, National Outsourcing Initiative by the Federal Government of Nigeria, He is a distinguished Fellow of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Fellow: Institute of Analysts and Programmers. U.K. Fellow: Institute of Certified Professional of UK; Former Council Member: Nigeria Computer Society (NCS). Pioneer Past President Global Network for Cyber Solution (NGO on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Chris Uwaje is reputed for his numerous articles concerning national and International issues on ICT.He is the President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria(ISPON) Contact email:uwajenet@gmail.com

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