Bandwidth issues still provide challenges for network cameras

Friday, November 1, 2002

Whether network cameras are sending images to users via the Internet or a private, secure network, system bandwidth continues to be part of the debate.

Frank Abram, vice president at Panasonic, explained the conundrum this way: "Our problem with networking is that the industry and the technology are ready to go on the network, but the networks aren't ready for us."

Abram said this is especially true for anyone looking to use the Internet. "If you think you're going to do security via the Internet, that is one of the biggest misnomers," he said. "The bandwidth just isn't there."

On the positive side, he said, organizations installing new networks are providing greater bandwidth, realizing "more information has to go through it."

John Kaloukian, senior marketing manager-security for Sony, however, views bandwidth as less of a concern, noting cameras are scalable and have features, such as "region of interest" that will use less bandwidth.

"There are ways to get around that," he said of the bandwidth issue.

Rick Davitt, vice president-marketing for IQinvision, said some products, such as its own next generation IQeye4, "will flood the Ethernet pipe by itself." That's why, Davitt noted, the solution is to send data, rather than images, whenever possible.

Using what he called "image triage," cameras will be instructed to send the image that matters, such as a face, instead of a whole person or even a background. Or it will send numeric information, such as the number on a license plate, rather than a picture of it.

Videology's product manager, Greg Bressler, said the evolution of the camera, through image compression and other features, will also ease the space demands. "And as it (space usage) gets smaller," he noted, "IT people will be more willing to dedicate bandwidth" to security systems.