Linksys Cameras Help VARs Unify Voice, Data And Security Networks

Video surveillance isn't just for security any more.

With Monday's release of its latest IP surveillance cameras, Linksys, a division of Cisco, hopes to help small businesses keep an eye in the sky on assets, lest they slip out the door and be lost forever.

Linksys, based in Irvine, Calif., announced the Wireless-G Business Internet Video Camera with Audio (WVC2300). The camera, coupled with the recently released Business Internet Video Camera with Audio and PoE (PVC2300), round out Linksys portfolio of small business products for the companies that deploy them and the channel that serves them.

Releasing both a wireless and Power over Ethernet camera, according to Linksys, gives smaller organizations the ability to integrate them regardless of their network architecture. The PCV2300 draws its power supply from a PoE switch or power injector via Ethernet cable, an option for networks that rely on PoE for connectivity. The WVC2300 works on the WLAN and gets its juice form a standard AC power outlet.

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Ivor Diedrichs, product manager for the Linksys Connected Office Business Organization, said adding the cameras to the Linksys One portfolio allows VARs to customize their offering to different industries and verticals, while also customizing them for different applications. For retail, they can offer them as a means to reduce shrinkage and loss and other small businesses can leverage the tools for security and surveillance.

"Depending on the market they're going to be using them for, they can do different things," Diedrichs said. "It's really focusing on flexibility, for VARs in particular, which can focus on different ways the solutions can be customized."

Jamal Thompson, CEO and chief engineer of Reality Works, a Houston, Texas-based VAR, said the addition of wireless and PoE cameras to the Linksys portfolio and their integration with the Linksys One platform give his clients one unified voice, data and security network at a much cheaper cost than using a piecemeal approach from several vendors or service providers.

"The ultimate goal is to have a unified solution on one platform," he said. "They want one base and one vendor that can meet all of their needs."

Thompson said many smaller businesses are focused strongly on cost containment, and implementing surveillance cameras helps track and manage assets to slash loss.

In medical environments, Thompson said, it's common for surveillance to be used to ensure employees show up on time, while also making sure expensive medical equipment doesn't just up and vanish. On the retail side, he said, surveillance systems can thwart employee theft.

Additionally, Thompson said, captured video is preserved and cannot be erased or corrupted, and smaller companies don't have to pay someone to sit in a room and watch live feeds or scan through hours of endless videotape.

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The PVC2300 and WVC2300 cameras use removable CS-mount lenses, customizable for zoom or wide-angle imaging, vari-focal, auto-iris and other lens types for specific applications or settings. The cameras can mount on any industry standard Pen-Tilt (PT) based and can be controlled remotely through a password-protected Web interface that users can access from any Internet connection.

Both cameras feature two input and two output ports that can connect them to an alarm panel, siren, Passive InfraRed (PIR) sensors, smoke detectors, lighting switch, door sensors or other detectors. They also use motion detection functionality, capable of sending event notifications, updates and video via email to up to three email address to notebooks and smartphones.

Both camera models rely on a progressive scan charge-couple device (CCD) sensor for delivering high quality video images. The sensor has low-light sensitivity, offering image capture in low light or "near dark" environments. The cameras also include an IR Cut Filter, which can capture video in total darkness with coupled with a separate infra-red lamp.

The cameras feature WPA2 security and QoS, four times Digital Zoom, a built-in Web server for remote access over IP, secure control over HTTPS and software for monitoring and recording up to 16 cameras at once.

Each camera supports multiple compression formats, such as MPEG-4 and MJPEG. Video images can be accessed form various endpoints and clients like 3G phones, PCs or Wi-Fi phones through IP Multicast, RTSP, RTP and 3GPP. On the audio side, the cameras feature an embedded microphone, external speaker, microphone ports and video compression.

Both cameras are Linksys One Ready and can be deployed in existing or new Linksys One data or converged data and voice networks. The PVC2300 has an expected street price of just under $350, while the WVC2300 is expected to sell for just less than $400.

Thompson said running a camera over PoE eliminates the need for an additional power supply, while the wireless camera option reduces the need for running cable in large areas.

"It saves customers money on implementing, deploying and servicing voice, data and security," Thompson said. "You have a one-stop source for all three. It cuts the costs to IT because everything is unified and integrated. That's our biggest selling point."