While surveillance video keeps growing, it's a continuing source of amazement that so few standards exist. The biggest brands of turnkey surveillance systems benefit from proprietary standards that help lock out would-be competitors, partly explaining the predicament. There are many IP cameras available, but compatibility between brands is perennially problematic. Fortunately for companies looking to enter or expand in this market, help is on the way, in the form of two new open standards for the security video market. While these two new security video standards are not technically in conflict with each other, they do reflect very different visions of the future of security video.
On the one hand is the most recently introduced standard, HDcctv, which is designed to slip in seamlessly with existing coaxial cable infrastructure. The idea is to replace existing analog video cameras with high def digital surveillance cameras, while keeping all the cabling intact. This standard emphasizes the plug-in replacement advantage, and the argument that putting the "smarts" of video analytics at the central server can save money in the long term, because cameras can last ten years or more while improvements in analytics can be expected as frequently as Moore's Law allows. It's short-term thinking, this argument goes, to build analytics into the camera because it will require replacing the camera much more frequently to stay up to date.
PSIA (the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance), on the other hand, emphasizes the advantages of advanced IP video cameras with built-in analytics (though built-in analytics are by no means required by this standard.) Those advantages include inexpensive signal transport (assuming users are willing to risk using the public Internet) even over very long distances, easy delivery in multiple formats to multiple screens and receiving devices (such as a thumbnail image for portable viewing, a high def image for archiving), and with built-in analytics, the ability to vastly reduce bandwidth (and storage) requirements by only sending items of interest.
Yes it is possible to build a security camera that's compatible with both standards, but of course this would add a bit to the bill of materials, and it remains to be seen how many customers would have any need for a dual-standard camera.
One other way of sorting all this out is by distance from the central server or viewing station. The HDcctv standard is really focused on short distances, as an upgrade for existing security video infrastructure in banks, office buildings, factories, etc. where the coax cable is already in place. PSIA is more applicable for long-distance applications, such as a business owner or homeowner who wants to see what's going on while away, or for a campus with no already-installed coax cable but plenty of IP capability.
Either way, the good news for smaller security camera and video recorder and analytics manufacturers, as well as wannabes, is that thanks to these new standards, it should become easier to enter this ever-expanding market.