Does IP Video have a cost advantage? Are the costs of an IP system more or less than typical analog systems of Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) and analog cameras?
The total component costs of IP video can be higher than a DVR solution with analog cameras. The component costs for IP video usually include network cameras, video management software, servers and storage.
The higher cost of hardware can be offset by the reduced labor and cabling costs when using Power over Ethernet. The cost of analog cabling can average 3 times the cost of cabling for network cameras. Analog cameras require a separate power cable while fixed network cameras can use Power-over-Ethernet to deliver power over the CAT-5 network cable. Analog cameras also require separate cabling for PTZ control.
Network and Storage
Leveraging existing network and storage systems can also reduce costs. It is very common for enterprise sites to use existing network and storage capacity for a new or expanded video system.
As a general rule the cost of an IP system becomes more favorable to analog as the number of cameras increases. Once the server, storage and switches are in place, the incremental cost of adding IP cameras is less than adding analog cameras (requiring additional DVR ports).
Intangible factors can influence the cost of ownership over the life of the system. For example:
- Brand-name Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) servers and storage may have superior warranty and service plans compared to DVRs
- Storage capacity is easily added to commercial storage systems
- Flexibility – moving network cameras to new positions involves only moving a network drop when PoE is used