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Exclusive: Trusted tech for tough times


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Jamie Barnfield, Senior Sales Director, IDIS Europe outlines the winning features and benefits that come with today’s NVRs.

NVR-based video recording is still the most popular option for storage and the advantages of NVRs will become more compelling as budgets tighten and buyers opt for trusted security solutions that give best value.

Economic pressures are rising significantly as the twin perils of slowing growth and high inflation – stagflation – threaten the global economy. Slipping output and sagging confidence will affect most countries this year, according to the latest Brookings-FT tracking index and the IMF has also just downgraded its global growth forecasts. Inflation could reach as high as 10% in the UK and the cost-of-living crisis is only just starting to bite, while analysts are predicting that an overheating US economy could trigger a global recession.

Few sectors will be immune due to wage inflation, increased taxation, soaring fuel and energy prices and the cost of basic supplies, components and raw materials as well as continued supply chain disruption. All this means is that for most organisations, in most sectors, the requirement for good budget management and less wasteful purchasing will grow.

And, we’re already seeing that on the ground. Over the last few months, we’ve seen customers spend significant time and resources evaluating cloud and hybrid options for video storage, yet many are coming full circle to NVR-based systems.

This is particularly the case in sectors that are likely to feel the pinch first such as high street fashion, high end and luxury retail, supermarkets and a raft of commercial businesses that are already downgrading growth forecasts. These businesses realise that NVR-based, end-to-end surveillance solutions still meet their security, safety, loss prevention and operational needs as well upfront and ongoing budgets, while still giving them a futureproofed video infrastructure.

So, for anyone designing, buying or working with CCTV systems, it’s vital to understand the full costs and value of competing options for recording and managing video. To be meaningful, any comparison needs to take into account not just the upfront price of recording infrastructure, but all the costs associated with it including installation, ongoing operation and maintenance. This calculation of the total cost of ownership of any solution – not just upfront CAPEX, but also ongoing OPEX across its full lifetime – is essential for budgets to be managed credibly and for business cases to stand up to scrutiny.


For any new solution there is a cost advantage wherever NVRs connect simply and seamlessly to cameras: when they come pre-loaded with high performance VMS software; when they are supported with all the accessories required to guarantee rapid installation in all settings with instant operability and no unexpected glitches.

Most obviously, systems which are faster to set-up – with rapid true plug-and-play connection between cameras and recorders – will deliver significant time and cost savings during installation. These savings become very significant for mid-size and larger projects. Further installation savings come with PoE as it enables a more efficient and less wasteful method of cabling, with a hierarchical connection structure between cameras and NVRs.

At the installation stage there is also a major advantage to secure access and data transmission systems that can automatically link NVRs to the user’s central monitoring facility with one click. This easy connectivity significantly speeds up installation and eliminates the need for engineers to have specialist knowledge of routers or NAT devices. Again, this will deliver even bigger savings on larger-scale applications involving thousands of devices or on multi-site deployments requiring hundreds of engineers with varying network skills.

With this in mind, it’s worth considering that a reliable and predictable single source model for any video solution, where a systems integrator can get every element of the solution from a single, responsive vendor, will avoid the risk of unexpected costs, complexity, project over-runs and compatibility disputes.

These are problems that all too frequently arise with mix-and-match solutions that rely on cameras, software and network accessories from multiple sources. Moreover, the tougher economic conditions become, the more likely one or other party is to haggle over small additional costs or the risk of project delays due to supply chain disruption on an integral piece of hardware.

The best of today’s NVRs also supports ONVIF and let you reduce costs further at installation stage with their ability to connect and therefore retain, existing third party cameras including analogue. This prevents the needless waste of equipment with ‘rip-and-replace’ practices. It means that users only need to upgrade their cameras when they are ready, subject to their own individual needs and site-by-site requirements.

Achieving full potential

In operation, the best NVRs have the benefit of advanced compression technology which overcomes the pitfalls of traditional compression, including jerky images and difficult footage review. For example, specialist compression technologies typically save users 60%-70% on their data storage and bandwidth, reducing costs and enabling faster and more effective image searches. High-quality NVRs provide Pentaplex for simultaneous live, record, playback, backup and remote operation and the most robust and cost-effective foundation for any scale of surveillance operation, from small four- to eight-channel systems up to enterprise solutions encompassing a limitless number of devices.

For best value with low maintenance and service costs and long system life, users should look for: low hard-drive failure rates and extended warranties against equipment failure; high performance throughput (Mbps) ensuring no latency during live monitoring and seamless operation with cameras and VMS; support for the latest UHD class cameras; support for RAID 1 data storage for assurance against drive failure; rack-mount chassis options and hot-swappable functionality for efficient system maintenance.

The wisdom of any investment will be questioned if the technology performs poorly, or worse, if it results in new problems. Cybersecurity risks are a point of potential failure that should not be ignored in calculations of value. Users need to have confidence that their NVRs are hardened against hacking, not just because they are NDAA compliant, but because they have cybersecurity designed in.

Protection should be multi-layered, for example, with inherently resistant proprietary software protocols and with integration of TLS (transport layer security) into software that minimises performance impact on data transmission while preventing malicious attacks, data snooping, alteration and destruction.

For example, iBank is a database system, independently developed by IDIS, specifically for video recording. This system maximises storage efficiency and enables fast data processing. In addition, storage devices that implement the iBank solution cannot be read by external devices such as PCs, keeping the data safe from forgery and alterations.

Users should also ask whether their investment in CCTV could be undermined in legal proceedings if defendants challenge the integrity of video evidence, something that may become more of a problem in the future with the rise of deepfakes and video tampering techniques. This potential pitfall can be prevented now with NVRs that include ‘fingerprinting’ techniques which link each frame to the next in a way that reveals any attempt at editing and proves footage authenticity beyond doubt.

Today’s NVRs also offer better value if they allow wider security and building management systems to be leveraged more effectively to deliver greater operational benefits. The best NVRs make it easy to directly integrate video with a choice of widely used systems, including best-in-class access control, intruder and fire systems and IoT devices such as personal alarms, panic buttons and sensors.

Against today’s challenging economic background, the need for security is likely to increase, along with pressures to improve operational efficiency and standards of service and to find competitive advantage in settings ranging from retail and logistics to banking and hospitality. End-to-end video surveillance has proved to be a powerful tool in each of these areas.

Improvements in camera technology mean that demand for video data storage will continue to rise too. Only a couple of years ago customers wanted to upgrade to full-HD; today, 5MP cameras are starting to become the norm. And, we are seeing more cameras transmitting richer content such as the high-resolution 4K and 8K footage needed for perimeters and wide area monitoring and playback.

The best of today’s NVRs provide the best and most popular solution to realising video’s full potential.

For more information, visit: www.idisglobal.com

This article was originally published in the May edition of ISJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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