Raytec’s Vario IP w8, distributed locally by Pacific Communications, is one of those products that tells us just how clever the future is going to be. 

LIGHT. It’s the unsung hero of video surveillance applications. Without light you can forget about capturing useful images, your entire surveillance solution is worthless. Not for nothing do installers and end users say low light performance is the most important IP camera feature. 

When I first saw Vario IP what struck me first was its compact size, given that it’s capable of driving 150m in long range applications. What Vario IP w8 (white light) offers integrators and end users is an affordable luminary with low running costs that can be controlled remotely by browser, as well as being switched automatically by alarm inputs. 

According to Pacific Communications’ product development manager Lou Mavrelis, there’s an IR version as well as the cool white (5500-6000K) SMT LED version we are looking at. 

“The beauty of the Raytec illuminators is that they all come with diffusers out of the box so you get a 10-degree diffuser, a 30-degree diffuser and a 65-degree diffuser so you can spread the light beam,” Mavrelis tells me. “This means we don’t have to carry multiple units – there’s one unit and the diffusers allow that unit to offer 3 different light spreads.

“From the point of view of installers it means they can adjust the setup of a light depending on changing threats. With a 10-year life span (and a 5-year warranty), this flexibility makes a lot of sense.” 

In terms of outright performance, Vario IP w8 pushes out nearly 3000 lumens while drawing only 48 watts. It’s the diffusers that make this power work in the real world. The 10 x 10-degree diffuser gives a range of 150 metres at 10 degrees of spread, the 35 x 10 degree diffuser (fitted as standard) gives 80m at 35 degrees and the 65 x 25-degree diffuser offers 45m at 65 degrees. Optional diffusers include the 80 x 30-degree, which gives 30m at 80 degrees and the 120 x 50-degree diffuser, which gives 20m at 120-degrees.

Vario lenses use hot-spot reduction technology (HRT) to produce images far better than those possible with normal LED illuminators. The HRT system delivers a highly diffused elliptical beam shape to deliver light 
directly to where it is most needed, allowing greater illumination distances, reducing light and energy wastage and preventing the overexposure of foreground objects. 

The lighting performance is impressive of itself but things get much more fun when you bring the browser into the equation. Vario IP’s browser landing page is very simple. On the left is a stack of function buttons providing gateways to functions like Settings/Groups, Access, Network, System Information, Diagnostics, Advanced Diagnostics and Software Updates. 

“They all come with diffusers out of the box so you get a 10-degree diffuser, a 30-degree diffuser and a 60-degree diffuser so you can spread the light beam”


Advanced user-defined software features integrated into the interface include, timer functions, soft start turn-on, 3 x deterrent patterns, 3 x deterrent speeds, selectable external telemetry input: volt –free or TTL, photocell sensitivity trigger level, assign illuminator to group for collective control, create user and administrator passwords, assign name, group name and IP address, restore factory defaults, restart/reboot, software upgrade and standard and advanced diagnostics. 

The rest of the page displays status and control functions for the particular Vario IP unit the browser is associated with. There’s On, Group On, a slide button for power level displayed as a percentage, Boost and Group Boost function and the Deterrent pattern which can flash in patterns such as Morse SOS. This feature has its own power setting. 

“From this home page an authorised user can access the unit, switch it on and control the light level from wherever they are, Mavrelis explains. “You can create a group of Vario units by associating IP addresses and then switch that group together, and there is also an alarm condition where the lights will create a pattern, or they will flash as a deterrent. 

“In settings and groups you can control when switching will occur from day to night operation, as well as setting the type of input – relay contact or other – and you can change power setting. And Vario IP comes with an API so you can create your own interface with it so as to integrate lighting into your own VMS. 

“There’s also a remote control that security officers can use to switch lights on and off and change light settings and override timer functions. The unit has an LED status that can be seen from a distance so you can tell if the unit is functioning properly without climbing up a ladder or hiring a scissor lift.” 

Setup is easy. Connections are RJ-45 for control and 24V AC/DC for power. Once the unit is powered up and connected to a network discovery software means simple and fast connection directly to each lamp and its web interface. It goes without saying that maintenance of your lighting scheme is made much easier because it can be carried out wherever you happen to be. There’s no time consuming site visits. 

Optional software levels are also available for advanced control of your lighting within the overall security system. This includes dedicated Raytec software providing additional features and an API for easy integration into VMS and BMS environments. 

Other specifications include IP66 rating, 1.65kg weight, -50 to 50C operating temperature, 2840 lumens output, 48-watt maximum consumption, 24V AC/DC input power, a U-bracket is supplied and there are other bracket options available. Dimension are 135 x 180 x 68.2mm, network requirements are a PC running Windows 7 with IE8 and network access via Cat-5 cable. Vario IP w8 has password protection, individual or group control (groups up to 16 units) power control between 20-100 per cent and Boost function that gives 120 per cent power for 10 seconds as a deterrent.  

Raytec’s Vario IP is also now integrated with Milestone’s XProtect video management system, making Vario IP network illuminators the first range of CCTV illuminators in the world ever to be integrated into a VMS. The integration is made possible via Raytec Milestone plug-in software, available free of charge from the Raytec website via online request form.

Users can also take instant manual control of any single illuminator or group of illuminators using the Milestone Smart Client, to immediately respond to live events during day to day operation. Lighting levels can also be remotely fine-tuned to perfect image quality for the best CCTV footage at all times. Advanced settings allow for user defined lighting design to meet the requirements of any installation. 

Features of Vario IP w8 include:

• Quick access screen for adjustment and response to live events 
• Basic settings: Power on/off, boost and deterrent lighting 
• Advanced user defined settings: timer functions, deterrent function, photocell sensitivity adjustment, soft start and many more 
• Instant control of individual or group of lights 
• Diagnostics for instant feedback on the status of each light 
• Advanced diagnostics for remote support and troubleshooting 
• Easy upgrade of software versions 
• Password protected 
• Different access rights for user and administrator. 

By John Adams