VARs Meet Growing Need For IP-Based Surveillance

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Solution providers are discovering that security means protecting not only customers' data but their safety as well.

By pairing video cameras with IP networks, channel players have begun to offer cost-effective surveillance systems in schools, retail stores, corporate offices and government facilities.

The network camera and video server market is expected to reach $791 million by 2005, up from $73 million in 2000, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

While solution providers were unable to estimate revenue from such solutions this year, they do expect significant growth.

"This is the next generation of services," said Tom Shaw, president of Wide Area Management Services (WAMS), a Santa Clara, Calif.-based networking solution provider.

When one of WAMS' customers, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District, wanted to boost its police force's security infrastructure, it employed the solution provider to add wireless networking capabilities to its legacy, closed-circuit video surveillance system.

WAMS equipped police cars with wireless notebooks and Hewlett-Packard iPaq handhelds that can receive images from BART's legacy system, Shaw said.

The BART station serving the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., was the first to receive the wireless setup. WAMS used Cisco Systems' Aironet 350 access points throughout the station to relay video wirelessly to the police cars and iPaqs, Shaw said.

Despite thick concrete walls in the stations, WAMS was able to achieve a range of about one-quarter of a mile from each access point, he said.

"BART officers now have access to video coming from 160 different cameras inside the station," Shaw said. "Using the iPaq, they can take an image with them into the station so they know exactly whom they're looking for."

The network camera and video server market is expected to reach 5791 million by 2005.

Meanwhile, the California Department of Transportation worked with Open Computing Platform (OCP), Moorpark, Calif., to deploy a wireless video surveillance system on San Francisco Bay bridges.

OCP chose Proxim's Tsunami point-to-multipoint and subscriber multipoint base stations to provide wireless coverage that spans the bridges, according to executives at OCP and Proxim.

Networked video security is also becoming more popular in the SMB space.

Tech Data plans to distribute Web-enabled network video cameras from Sony Electronics to help solution providers build remote-monitoring systems for small businesses.

Sony's SNCRZ30N and SNCVL10N cameras feature built-in Web servers for delivering live video over IP-based networks and can be combined with networked storage and security technologies to provide end-to-end solutions, said Wendy Rausch, director of imaging product marketing at Tech Data. "This is our application for monitoring companies with 10 to 200 employees," she said.

Automated Office Solutions, a solution provider in Evansville, Ind., installed monitoring solutions in a local library and a sheriff's office, and is currently working with a preschool, said Don Parsons, vice president of the company.

"The trick is to bundle [monitoring] as a solution. Then you can make margin not only on the products but also on the installation, updates and repairs," Parsons said. "Our margins were better than 25 percent in the sheriff's office solution. It cost them, say, $22,000, but the payback for them will be in less than two years [of the] deputies' time."

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