Hybrid DVR Technology: Address the present, leave an open road to the future.Q&A with Stephen Russell, Founder of 3VR SecurityAs the world of video surveillance continues to evolve, new technologies emerge and IP-enabledsystems get more attention from end users, we need to take a closer look at the DVR. Withgrowing interest in software-only IP systems, hybrid DVR devices have come under quite a bitof scrutiny. We spoke with Stephen Russell, founder and chairman of 3VR Security, Inc. acompany that brings integrators its SmartRecorder line of hybrid, intelligent surveillance andsearch solutions including the robust P-Series solution and the more compact, economical S-Series, to get his thoughts on the evolution of the DVR.What role will the DVR play as more enterprises are looking to networked security solutions?Traditional analog DVRs are certainly on their way out, but the transition is likely to take sometime as most organizations arent quite ready to take on todays IP-only software-centricalternatives either. In effect, these new solutions require both the customer and the integrator tobecome IT experts overnight. Instead, whats emerging to fill the gap is a new class of devicewith IP features, intelligence, and central management, but installs as a turnkey appliance, anddoesnt require the wholesale transition of existing surveillance infrastructure.3VR puts a lot of weight behind the merits of the hybrid DVR solution. Why?Place all your bets on the tried and true analog system and youre sure to alienate a growingnumber of forward-thinking customers who are aiming for a fully networked implementation,but choose a software-only solution and you may well be sending your customer into a costlyand complicated system overhaul. Smart integrators are offering a bridge between the two – ahybrid system that can leverage an existing analog system, fully implement an IP-enabled systemand easily manage anything in between. The ability to support both analog, IP, megapixel, andsmart cameras is frankly just a requirement in the market today.For example, in the retail industry, newly-built stores are often IP-only, but previously existingstores function off of existing camera infrastructures, with some requirements for IP expansion.Rather than requiring a complete technology overhaul, hybrid technology is the way to go, actingas a flexible bridge between the present and the future.What is the critical difference between the approaches in terms of implementation?
The complexity of setting up a software-only solution is quite significant and the cost inhardware, software, and configurations services can be extremely high. Many integrators donthave the range of expertise needed to design, configure and support a software-only solution,leaving themselves to lose money on implementation and support. With a hybrid solution such as3VR SmartRecorder, the set-up, including networking the system and necessary cameraadjustments, can be completed in a day or less.What about post-set up concerns?Supportability is also a major concern, particularly with a software based system. When theresan issue with a hardware-based system, the integrators has one neck to ring – the manufacturers.Certainly, the integrator answers for the interaction between the security hardware and thenetwork, but the interaction of the hardware components, operating system, and software is theresponsibility of the manufacturer to test, certify, and support. It’s very clear-cut, and if theproblem is within the realm of the hardware system installed, it can be identified and addressed.However, with a software-only system, the situation is quite different. The integrator bearsresponsibility for supporting the interaction between the chosen hardware (or server) and thesoftware. Is an integrators time and expertise really best spent calling Dell and IBM to figureout where things went wrong in this complex mix? The type of support a hybrid hardware-based solution most often is also significantly simpler.For example, primary issues with DVRs tend to be drive failures. But really, taking care of thedrive can simply be a regular part of your maintenance. Aim for a highly supportable device – inour P-Series SmartRecorder, 3VR offers a hot swappable hard drive that allows you to pull oneout and put another back in all in one go.What are some other concerns of taking on the DVR approach?The primary concern with a straight DVR, is that it doesnt give a customer the features,management, accessibility and expandability that are really required today. Its just a dead-endapproach. Why invest in a dumb record-only video recorder when smart, networked,searchable, and IP expandable devices can be purchases for essentially the same cost in the shortrun, and with far fewer headaches in the long run.Overall, with the unmistakable benefits of lower TCO for the customer, smootherimplementation and lower cost of support from the integrator standpoint, as well as the criticalability to leverage existing infrastructure, integrators who arent offering hybrid DVR technologyas the go-to solution for their forward thinking customers are missing the boat.
Stephen Russell is the co-founder and chairman of 3VR Security, Inc., the global leader in IntelligentSurveillance and Search (ISS). 3VRs breakthrough technologies in intelligent video search, video analysisand video management have been deployed at some of the world’s largest banking, retail and governmentinstitutions to reduce crime, increase efficiency and protect privacy. Learn more at 3vr.com or Stephens securityblog, inhardfocus.com.