The Evolution of IP Surveillance

by Sonal Desai    Apr 03, 2009

Traditionally, surveillance has been used to detect human threats but we can now also react to environmental threats, fire hazards and chemical contamination with the right blend of technology. Also, with the advent of intelligent video, surveillance is now not just restricted to the sphere of security, but is also emerging as a tool for gathering business intelligence and other applications, Prakash Prabhu, country manager, Axis Communications India, tells Sonal Desai

How ready is India, in terms of accepting IP network based security vis- -vis physical security?

IP surveillance is becoming an imperative measure to complement physical security measures. Video surveillance has the potential to become a key tool in allowing agencies to intercept and stop terrorist threats.

In the wake of the terror attacks, the demand for integrated surveillance and security solutions has increased from both the public and private sectors. The current security climate will force these sectors to rethink existing security infrastructure; this will boost technical spend on holistic security systems.

Please elaborate

Security is a key concern for sectors like infrastructure, retail and transportation.  According to, ASSOCHAM, a significant industry body, corporates are likely to increase their security budgets by 35-40%. They are likely to chart out new plans to tackle emergency situations and deploying new initiatives in disaster management. According to the recent news reports, demand for security equipment has increased by 10-15% and the private security industry in India is expected to touch Rs 50,000 crore by 2012 (that is a 125% growth against 25% over the past 5-7 years).

Government organizations are likely to invest in network video solutions (IP-based video surveillance) as both overt and covert surveillance help in deterrence and crisis mitigation. Concepts like analytics for intelligent surveillance have came into play. City surveillance systems will be a key focus area.

With threats both physical and cyber increasing each passing day, what kind of role does video surveillance technology play?

The last couple of years have witnessed the heightening of the security climate in India in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai and other Indian cities. At a global level, public security and safety assumed top priority post the 9/11 attacks in the US. As a result the demand for integrated security solutions, especially high-end security solutions has increased from the public and private sectors, worldwide.

A key, if not primary, aspect of the overall physical security infrastructure is surveillance and the current security climate is driving adoption of surveillance solutions today. 

Monitoring and surveillance applications have existed for the past 25 years. Surveillance technology was represented primarily by analogue technology, better known as CCTVs (Closed-circuit television).

What would be the rough India estimate?

The Indian market comprises primarily of analog installations. But IP based surveillance is fast gaining ground and is expected to be more than 20% of the total surveillance installations in India. The IP based surveillance market in India is approximately valued at $50-60 million.

Also, is there not a shift away from the analogue based surveillance?

The analogue based, closed circuit systems of the past are giving way to IP-based (digital), open source and fully integrated systems. IP-based surveillance cameras are gaining popularity for superior technology features and affordability, and are therefore preferred over the legacy analogue systems.

Another advantage - with network surveillance cameras, authorized users can access and monitor surveillance footage, over the Internet, in real time. Location or where one is based therefore becomes irrelevant - it’s just a matter of logging onto the internet by entering the IP address and the authorized password, from anywhere in the world.

Is this trend global?

Across the globe, surveillance has been used to gather intelligence on criminal and terrorist activity and help deter untoward incidents. But with the advent embedded applications in security products, the role of a camera has moved on from passive to intelligent surveillance. As a result intelligent video is emerging as a tool for gathering business intelligence and other applications. The image quality is also easily retained in a digital setup and can be used to clearly capture incidents or identify the faces or figures in the video data.

Certain countries have shown apprehension for the 2010 games to be held in Delhi. Even in the immediate future, with LS elections round the corner, there are apparent threats to the lives of VVIPs. In such scenarios, how can this technology help?

Network video surveillance gives remote access to the responders in crisis situations and that would be the key in reacting to such events preventing heavy collateral damage. At a later stage, high image quality footage would also aid further investigations.

Video analytics is an emerging trend that has great market potential in the surveillance industry. The city of Stockholm, Sweden, uses video analytics on its train platforms to protect passengers. If someone accidentally falls onto the tracks, the system automatically alerts operators to stop the train. As a result, intelligent video is gradually replacing reactive video systems in which human video operators constantly scan screens to determine if intervention is needed.

IP surveillance can complement physical security measures for high profile events like the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Is Axis enabling any of it?

Axis is not supporting any political outfits. For the Commonwealth games, Axis’ partners are working with the concerned authorities. We cannot share any details currently due to security reasons.