You know the old saying: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” In the physical security industry that adage equates to using targeted migration strategies with existing equipment — and it’s possible more than ever today. 

Many customers have equipment that has naturally become outmoded. Every security system and device has an end of life and with technological changes happening beyond Moore’s Law original premise there’s only so much you can do to prepare for the future. But as specs become open and standards are created, products become more conducive to integration, making migrating to newer technologies a bit easier for integrators and the end-user customer. 

Video surveillance specifications continue to grow as cameras become intelligent with active detection and automated deterrence devices. They’ve moved beyond the category of passive surveillance to real-time data gathering and analysis that’s proactive, rather than reactive — detecting and stopping crime in seconds before it occurs. Users are leveraging new intelligent 4K high-resolution cameras with sophisticated analytics to significantly enhance security, safety and business intelligence. 

As reported in SDM, demand for network video recorders (NVRs) is set to increase, due to the rising infrastructure and increased deployment of integrated network-video surveillance systems over the coming years. The report, from research firm Fact.MR, stated that continual developments in NVRs are driving market expansion. 

Long-term, the outlook for the physical security market is certainly Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) which offers complete functionality via smart video cameras connected to robust edge- and cloud-based applications. But it’s hard to get the industry and end users to adopt VSaaS systems, as most already have a substantial investment in legacy cameras and support equipment. 

Leverage the Current Infrastructure 

There is still value to leveraging existing NVRs and video management software (VMS) even as one migrates toward VSaaS offerings and the benefits they bring to overall security performance. In fact, NVRs and VMS are critical components in the industry’s long-term migration strategy and ongoing evolution. Hybrid solutions consisting of existing NVRs in combination with new VSaaS, smart deterrence cameras are creating a clear pathway and becoming the norm as users upgrade cameras on their own terms and as their budget allows. 

These hybrid offerings or modular upgrades to an existing video surveillance system are accomplished by delivering live video streams to the existing NVR or VMS via Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), which is also contained within ONVIF specifications. Whether it’s an existing installation and customers want to retain their NVRs or VMS, or an installation with cloud video and VMS/NVR storage — integrators and their customers have migration options to achieve greater system visibility and camera-by-camera upgrades to newer technology. 

RTSP controls access to remote video and audio streams, to view and record live streams on existing security systems in real time. Using RTSP, an NVR or VMS requests a live video stream from an intelligent 4K camera. RTSP uses the same concepts as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), making it compatible with current network infrastructure.

Support for RTSP is an easy way to take advantage of newer VSaaS automated deterrence cameras and integrate them with existing cameras and NVRs already onsite. RTSP output allows for seamless integration of video streams into multi-vendor NVRs and VMS; the ONVIF Streaming Specification is also based on RTSP.

RTSP in intelligent cameras lets facility managers replace existing, passive IP cameras by reusing Ethernet cable and integrating video to a current NVR or VMS. In addition, cameras may be connected via PoE, another installation and cost savings for the end user using in-place infrastructure to power cameras in a retrofit installation.

NVRs and VMS may always have a place in a surveillance solution, depending on the user and their vertical market. While cloud and VSaaS is the path forward for the physical security industry, migrating in that direction can be accomplished today with equipment at hand.