NVRs of the past may have been expensive & complicated to use, but today NVRs have user-friendly functionality How much do you know – or think you know – about network video recorder (NVR) appliances? Manufacturers in the sector say there is a lot of misinformation in the market about these workhorse system components. We asked several manufacturers to help us set the record straight. A common misconception among end users is that NVRs lack features and reliability, and are proprietary in nature, says Ahmed Elsayed, sales engineer, Hikvision USA. In actuality, NVRs offer a broad set of features, such as video content analysis, smart search, POS integration, and redundancy. Poor reliability is also a misconception, he adds. Hikvision NVRs have a 99.6 percent reliability rate, for example. Additionally, Hikvision NVRs operate on an embedded Linux platform, providing a full range of features and a great deal of flexibility, Elsayed says. Offering Intelligence And Functionality Contrary to widely held beliefs, NVRs are not static hardware that can only record streams of video, says Charles McCready, senior product specialist and technical resource for Panasonic System Communications Company’s partners and customers. Today, NVRs are intelligent network devices that incorporate advanced features and functionality, such as video analytics, motion detection and other advanced system processing that bring new uses and functionality to the end user and new potential streams of recurring monthly revenue to the installer. They can adapt readily to the camera’s video streams and the user’s bandwidth constraints and specific recording parameters – offering different and varied compression algorithms. Flexible recording capabilities and embedded analytics provide the end user the ability to fine-tune and customise the installation specifically to their needs and the nuances of the facility, McCready notes. Compatible With Larger, Server-Based Solutions There is also a misconception that you have to choose between an NVR solution and a more comprehensive server-based solution. This is not true, says Lars Nordenlund Friis, vice president of incubation and ventures, Milestone Systems. You can easily incorporate a Milestone Husky NVR, for example, in a much larger deployment and save costs at local sites on the edge. Milestone Husky NVRs were designed to simplify the work for the reseller and integrator and to help bring down the total cost of ownership for end users. Even end users with existing installations can use Milestone Husky NVRs to meet business growth needs in expanded locations, says Friis. NVRs are intelligent network devices that incorporate advanced features and functionality, such as video analytics, motion detection and other advanced system processing that bring new uses and functionality to the end user Manageable Prices And Easy Setup Some people still think NVRs are complicated to set up and use, says Dahua, another NVR manufacturer. It was true at one time, but today, more user-friendly functions such as plug-and-play and intuitive user interfaces make it easy to configure systems within sections – Dahua calls it “zero configuration.” There is also a misconception that IP solutions are expensive; the truth is, some home-use or other entry-level IP solutions (i.e., Dahua’s NVR+IPC) are even less expensive than other solutions. What Is A Network Video Recorder (NVR)? Genetec contends the biggest misconception related to NVRs is in the definition itself. While it is technically true that IP security appliances are usually called network video recorders, many of those are proprietary to a specific vendor, with limited or constrained applications, and limited choice in edge device options, says Muhanad Jamjum, product manager of appliances at Genetec. The term unified or hybrid appliance is often misleading as it is subject to multiple interpretations, Jamjum adds. System integrators and end users are advised to look into what the term entails specifically in relation to the degree of interoperability and integration of video and access control along with other third party systems. Customers should also be cautioned against free support and upgrades, says Jamjum. In an industry where price plays a big role, it is understandable that customers can easily be lured by the initial savings that free support claims have to offer. Without access to a highly responsive and quality support infrastructure (which is always negotiated as an additional operating expense) customers risk encountering unforeseen commissioning and maintenance costs, with little to no recourse, he says.
NVR appliances are increasingly importantfor businesses incorporating a well-roundedphysical security plan A major, oft-mentioned advantage of network video recorder (NVR) appliances is their ease of installation and use. These machines come pre-installed with software and are as close to plug-and-play as you can get in the IP video surveillance world. NVRs are also being designed to support 4K technology as well withstand a variety of applications and uses. We invited several manufacturers that offer NVR appliances to expound on the ease-of-use benefits of the machines for integrators and end users. Easily Scalable And Expandable Panasonic’s appliances have become easier to use and, as a result, can be deployed in a wide range of applications and specifications, says Charles McCready, senior product specialist and technical resource for Panasonic System Communications Company’s partners and customers. Still, they offer leading capabilities, such as intelligent video motion detection (VMD), while metadata associated with VMD provides, fast, effective search. They are easily scalable and expandable, meeting the varied needs of the market and the user. For the dealer/installer, NVR appliances should be a bridge to all the advantages of IP connectivity, not an additional hardware hindrance, says McCready. They should allow an integrator to add services, such as analytics for businesses intelligence, or storage at the edge, or easily integrate with other products, such as access control – because in the end recurring monthly revenue is a critical component for the installing company. If possible, they should be able to promote and foster remote accessibility, such as connectivity to internet devices, tablets and smart phones. NVRs make it easy to benefit from HD solutions and integrations to access control, alarm systems, intercoms and other technologies, according to Dahua, another manufacturer of NVRs. Customers should also pay attention to convenience and intelligence. In Dahua’s home-use NVR portfolio, PoE or Wi Fi versions can make configuration super easy, says the company. Dahua’s NVRs for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB) have additional intelligent functions that are helpful for analytics. An Integrated ‘Building Block’ Solution A video appliance alleviates the needto completely design certain aspectsof a video management system,instead providing a fully integratedsolution building block Dealers and integrators face a daily challenge to keep up with customer quotes, requests, and implementations, says Lars Nordenlund Friis, vice president of incubation and ventures, Milestone Systems. A video appliance alleviates the need to completely design certain aspects of a video management system, instead providing a fully integrated solution building block, says Friis. These NVR building blocks can be deployed at smaller offices, bank branches, retail chain stores, remote locations, or in the central location. This allows the integrator to focus on critical aspects of the physical security system while deploying a fully integrated and optimized solution elsewhere. NVRs or video appliances are easy to deploy with pre-installed video management software, device licenses included, and configuration wizards. There is no concern about support because the full solution, hardware and software, is supported by Milestone, says Friis. Common Client Manages Multiple Devices Hikvision offers the benefit of a common user interface throughout its line, whether it’s a 4-channel plug-and-play or a 256-channel Super NVR. With the common client to manage all devices, Hikvision NVRs are easy to install and manage. “We also fully support field installation and replacement of HDDs [hard disk drives] without voiding the warranty,” says Bob Germain, director of product management, Hikvision USA. NVRs are easy to install, says Germain. There is no need to worry about a Windows operating system, maintaining updates, or compatibility with new hardware. Plug-and-play NVRs and auto-searching units have eliminated much of the setup required as well, reducing the complexity of the system. It is easy to add additional storage or even just field-replace a hard drive. A major trend in the market is standardization and continuity among systems, says Germain. Because the Hikvision interface is simple and standard, any investment in training is leveraged across all future installations. The benefits of the company’s embedded Linux NVRs include minimal maintenance, high performance, cost effectiveness, and high scalability. In addition, Hikvision NVRs keep up with the demands of new technology, such as supporting 4K resolutions. Most systems still require a back-end storage system with cloud and edge storage usually being an enhancement to the total solution. Probably the biggest missed opportunity is plug-and-play. “If an integrator has not tried these units, they have not seen how easy IP can be,” says Germain. “They are great for small systems or multi-site systems and can be easily managed with Hikvision’s remote client software and DDNS [Dynamic Domain Name System] service, which are provided free of charge.” Video appliances have gained in importance because of the increasing need for businesses to incorporate a well-rounded physical security plan while remaining within budget, says Ahmed Elsayed, sales engineer, Hikvision USA. Hikvision offers distributed and scalable architecture and lower-cost redundancy. The appliances are “plug and play:” They are operational from the moment you turn them on. Furthermore, auto-searching units make installations easier and quicker. Regardless of the type, number, or geographic location of the appliances, operation is seamless to the user, says Elsayed. Video appliances have gained inimportance because of the increasingneed for businesses to incorporate awell-rounded physical security planwhile remaining within budget Wizards Quickly Configure NVR Appliances Exclusive to Genetec NVR appliances is the software company’s newly developed Control Panel application. The application runs a series of wizards and tools to quickly configure the appliance, starting with network configuration, access credentials, and license activation, with automatic camera discovery, enrollment and configuration. The Genetec Control Panel is designed to reduce the time needed to configure and commission the system, to reduce the cost of deployment, says Muhanad Jamjum, product manager of appliances at Genetec. The automatic update tool within the Control Panel allows the end user to check for the latest Security Center software version and can fully automate system updates to stay current with the latest release available. These features not only reduce the costs of initial setup, but also reduce the cost of maintaining the Genetec appliance with the most up-to-date software releases as they become available, says Jamjum. Pre-installed and verified Network Security Appliances relieve the system integrator’s pre-sales team of the burden of specifying an off-the-shelf server to match the system requirements of the video management software. Though dependent on the choice of vendor, ideally the time it takes to design the system is greatly reduced with minimal risks involved. The selected hardware platform is already tested, fine-tuned, and pre-configured to maximize the performance of the software. In complex solutions that span multiple remote sites or locations and possibly involve more than one system integrator, the ability to standardize hardware becomes crucial. Capitalizing on a preconfigured Network Security Appliance across different sites ensures the consistency and stability of the entire system, which ultimately reduces the total cost of maintaining that system. The time needed to commission the system is also reduced, especially with the use of wizards and initial setup applications. Easy Implementation Requires Less Expertise Ease of installation is a major concern for integrators, says Ken LaMarca, OnSSI Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Integrators have made it clear that they want plug-and-play solutions to address this need. That’s why NVR appliances powered by OnSSI are designed to meet this demand with a variety of robust solutions that offer extreme ease of implementation to reduce the required time and technical expertise – which lowers costs for installers and end users. A main benefit of NVR appliances powered by OnSSI is their ease of installation, says LaMarca. Dealers and integrators who are not implementing these devices are losing out on the time and cost savings they provide, he adds. These appliances are purpose-built to significantly reduce the time and specialized technical skills and training necessary for installation. Time is money, and this combination of benefits can add up to significant savings for end users and increased profits for dealers and integrators.
Hikvision volunteers provided hands-on classroom opportunities for middle school students at Chase Elementary Hikvision USA, North America’s leading provider of innovative, award-winning video surveillance products and solutions, has teamed up with Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Hikvision volunteers provided hands-on classroom opportunities for middle school students at Chase Elementary in Chicago, where the students learned about engineering design and built alternative energy vehicles. The ten-week semester culminated in a “WOW! Event”, this month where students taught back what they learned to teachers, parents, and community members. As a technology leader, Hikvision is dedicated to supporting opportunities for STEM-based education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) across North America. STEM-based Education Citizen Schools, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, has a rich history of enabling public middle schools in low-income communities to provide a longer learning day with enrichment opportunities for students. Volunteers called “Citizen Teachers” visit the classroom in the extended day each week to engage the students in activities they would not otherwise be able to participate in during the school day. Students gain knowledge in topics ranging from journalism to astronomy, leading toward what Citizen Schools CEO Steven Rothstein refers to as a “moment of discovery.” “Igniting a moment of discovery means that the students feel empowered,” Mr. Rothstein said. “They build something: the rocket flies, they’ve cooked something for the first time, their financial plan shows how they could potentially afford to go to college. These opportunities are crucial for students in many urban areas around the country. By the time they have reached 6th grade, they typically receive 6000 fewer hours of academic and personal enrichment opportunities than students in higher-income communities.” Engineering Design Course Citizen Teachers from Hikvision taught an engineering design course at Chase Elementary where the students built structures and vehicles, tested their load-bearing capacity, and then transferred that knowledge into an understanding of how alternative energy vehicles operate and how they will affect our society in the future. “Coming into the classroom every week and seeing how excited the students got about what they were learning was an incredible experience,” remarked Ahmed Elsayed, a sales engineer for Hikvision USA who volunteered at Chase. “Their desire for knowledge was palpable and I’m proud to be part of a program that fostered that.” In addition to volunteer hours spent in the classroom, Hikvision also made a financial donation to provide classroom supplies. “As a forward-thinking technology leader, Hikvision understands that the next generation of scientists and engineers are sitting in our middle school classrooms today,” stated Jeffrey He, president of Hikvision USA and Hikvision Canada. “Educating these students so they can realize their full potential will lead to a more robust workforce and a broader landscape for the STEM-based industries of the future. Hikvision is honored to play a part in facilitating this fundamental conveyance of knowledge.”
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