“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you...... If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two imposter just the same....” (Rudyard Kipling)
The words from the poem “IF”, by Rudyard Kipling, probably written while he lived in Cape Town. And so much of it fits in with the CCTV environment that we find ourselves in. It was not too long ago that we debated how video tape storage would be replaced with something digital. And then what is the best compression format? Embedded technology or PC based. Big decisions, often involving big money.
And then the differing technologies matured and prices dropped. We had products with differences in the replay results, and a slowing down of the marketing drive. We had a clear upper end and lower end of the market and we forgot about tapes. Who would have expected that those IT chaps would enter the CCTV industry? They arrived with a whole pack of new terms that the traditional CCTV experts had not met before. Again, there was a massive rate of change as the IP age arrived. Every magazine and marketing story refers to IP CCTV as if the analogue age has long gone.
Clients are calling for CCTV (that must be IP). But speak to the manufacturers and the greatest part of the market is still analogue. Why? Well, mostly due to cost. The IP solution is still, in most cases, more expensive. And we all have to admit the extra money is not providing anything extra that most clients require. Unless of course the need to mention in passing, that “we have just installed an IP CCTV system”.
So, once again a difficult environment with fast moving product changes, marketing strategy pushing for IP and a new bunch of people in the industry. The IT companies. So how do we make the correct decision on a purchase? Who should do the installation, the traditional who understands CCTV or the IT man who understands networking? Or maybe you are lucky to have a hybrid service provider that understands the “new picture”.
Well, the most important fact to understand is that the new IP CCTV age is still in that volatile development phase. Maturity of this age has not yet arrived. When it does, there will be a slow down in change, lower prices and some understood and respected standards. There will also unfortunately be a lot of people with expensive systems that could have been simpler and cheaper and achieved the same desired results.
So rule one, in the run up to maturity, don’t make rash decisions on product and technology. Decide on the payback period and actual needs, and expect to have outdated technology soon after purchase. Sometimes the old technology at cheaper prices to see you through to the point that maturity arrives, and then make the next move, is more appropriate.
We still have very good quality analogue systems, video over CAT5 technology and storage systems that provide solutions which solve most clients’ problems. They can still provide the best solution for Rands spent. And never forget the age old rule in CCTV – good pictures start with good lenses. All the latest technology and IT expertise will never correct the results of a badly manufactured lens.
So, “IF” you can offer an honest solution to your client, when all around you are following the latest advert, and still keep your head, and your honour, “you’ll be a Man my Son!” (apologies to Rudyard Kipling).