ON one hand we
have HD – think Dallmeier’s lovely new end-to-end HD range. And there was also the
world’s first HD PTZ camera courtesy of Sony. We were familiar with Axis’ HD
camera already and it was there, too. Then there was megapixel from Mobotix, Avigilon,
Arecont and Pelco too, with its impressive new Sarix platform. Each of these
manufacturers approaches the challenges of megapixel video in different ways
and each has its strengths and its adherents.

Finally, there
was analogue. You’d have thought analogue would be long gone by now, blown into
the weeds by the convenience and power of digital. But digital comes at a
price. Whether that be juggling compression levels and types, storage location
and size, frame rates, latency or plain old dollars.You can do
digital properly – no doubt about that – but it will cost you to do so. As we
all know, senior management wants to go digital primarily to save money. If
they can save money by not going digital – well – that’s fine, too. Given the
issues with pennies right now, part of the continued attraction of analogue is
the size of the existing coaxial infrastructure. It’s vast.

So how long can
analogue last? Some wag at the show deliciously suggested that using coax to transmit
hdCCTV images (see our August editorial) was like bolting wheels to a horse. But
that didn’t stop Pacific Communications from showing Panasonic’s powerful new
SD5 analogue technology. Nor was Sony going to be outdone. The company’s brand
new 650-line SMCG923 fixed analogue camera was there for all to see. So far as
I understand, this isn’t a production model but will be in a month’s time.Just to add fuel
to the fire, there are strong rumours Bosch will release its shiny new high end
analogue camera in the next couple of months. The idea that in the midst of a
major technology shift all 3 of the CCTV industry’s leading manufacturers will
release key analogue cameras at the same time is a fascinating one.

A singular
reference for the multiplicity of video surveillance technology is evident once
you start poking through management systems from companies like Genetec,
Milestone, DVTel, Avigilon and Geutebruck. These pieces of software are
becoming increasingly transparent. Milestone XProtect 7.0 is particularly
flexible and appears to be open to just about anything a developer or end user
might suggest to it.

It’s worth
pointing out that there were some signs of standardisation at Security 2009,
with ONVIF appearing the dominant standard and being supported by a significant
number of key players. But the industry remains schizophrenic and that’s going
to continue to make things tough for buyers.

Where this
technological diversity will lead and along what timelines it will travel is
anybody’s guess but CCTV’s split personality is probably not such a surprise
given the challenges kicked up by the application of real world video solutions. It occurred to me
as I listened to the video sales boffins flexing their cerebellums at the show,
that all the while we’ve been certain the IT industry’s networking technology was
the pinnacle of our surveillance technology, our video was the pinnacle of
theirs.