Installing an IP surveillance system can mean wrestling with different bandwidth requirements, frame rate needs, storage capacities and surveillance software options for pretty much every installation, but Communications Supply Corporation (CSC), Carol Stream, Ill., a subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based WESCO International Inc., has developed a solution to change that, the FTL Portal.

CSC developed the FTL Portal, which users access at, to quickly and seamlessly configure IP video surveillance systems to ensure 100 percent efficiency right out of the box, taking the guesswork out of the increasingly complicated process of setting up and configuring a multi-camera IP video surveillance system, described Frank LaPlante, vice president, marketing and business development, CSC. "By using the FTL Portal, a customer will know that their FTL server and storage solution purchase has been 100 percent optimized and customized for their specific surveillance needs, before anything is purchased,” said LaPlante.

“At its core, the integrated FTL platform leverages complex algorithms which, when analyzed collectively, make up the surveillance performance index (SPI) to analyze and assess software and hardware configurations, camera load, storage requirements, system resources, subsystem computing technology and more, explained LaPlante. “This means that by using the FTL Portal, the time, money and effort required to configure and install an IP surveillance system is significantly reduced,” said LaPlante.

While customers complete the optimization in three easy steps and a matter of minutes, it is the processes occurring behind the scenes that really make it work, and CSC put in the time, four years to be exact, to make sure they were perfect.

"The SPI, as the core technology powering the FTL Portal, has been designed to analyze and assess the unique requirements of your surveillance system. It does this by capturing information you already know about your surveillance system to build a configuration, providing you with an optimized server and storage recommendation," explains Alan Davis, Iomnis, CSC’s partner, which participated in the four years of development on the SPI.

According to Davis, “the SPI is the culmination of thousands upon thousands of engineering hours spent evaluating all aspects of a video surveillance system---the server platform, network cards, camera configuration, surveillance software, storage, even physical infrastructure---to determine how the performance of 'x' component not only interacts with components 'y' and 'z,' but how they all work together to form the ultimate end-to-end IP surveillance system. SPI is a software algorithm system that takes into account and analyzes all these different elements, and generates an online configuration recommendation that guarantees the best possible performance out of the assembled components. If additional server storage or processor requirements are needed as a result of the number of cameras chosen, for example, the appropriate server configuration will be generated to not only handle the immediate requirements, but to also build in 'headroom' to allow for future additions or modifications.”

The FTL Portal is at the core of CSC’s goal to assist the industry in the transition from analog to IP.

“The security industry is in a stage of flux right now due to the shift from analog to IP. The easier we can make this transition for quality security integrators, the better it is for all of us. CSC obviously wants to participate in this growth market, but we also realize that the bigger benefit is to help drive industry standardization, and ease of deployment for IP systems that will become the norm for generations to come,” said LaPlante.

“We want integrators to know that an IP surveillance solution is currently available that will, today, make you even more invaluable to your end-user customers. Your job is difficult enough as it is. You should be aware that there are tools like the FTL Portal that were designed specifically with your needs in mind, which in turn allows you to quickly, easily and consistently provide your customer base with the best possible IP surveillance solutions. That’s good for them. That’s good for dealers. That’s good for the entire industry,” concluded LaPlante.