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Partner perspective: Axis Communications

With video surveillance, you can never have enough quality or too much storage

They say you can never be too rich or too thin. In the video surveillance world, the equivalent might be: you can never have too much quality or too much storage.  But unlike your wealth and your waistline - which tend to operate relatively independently of each other-a typical security installation forces you to make a choice to reach the optimal level of either image quality or storage capacity...or pay dearly to try and get both.

Sure, today's video surveillance solutions offer high video quality from network cameras along with powerful searching capabilities from video management system software.  However, high video quality requires more storage space and consumes more network bandwidth. With this in mind, you have to ask yourself - do you purchase more storage space or reduce the amount of video or quality of video to fit your storage capacity? The first option is a question of budget while with the others you either 1) reduce your video footage retention time (this is risky since evidence could be already overwritten by the time you try to retrieve it) or 2) you lower your video quality to a point where important details such as faces or license plate numbers can no longer be clearly identified. So while the Genetec video management system does a great job helping you find the video footage, will it be usable if video quality has been reduced too much? Or worse yet, you may not have any video to search because of your storage limitations.

The good news is that there is another option. New compression technology can help deliver the best of both worlds. With standards-based methods for compressing video, you can improve storage capacity by up to 50% without having to spring for more hardware. Genetec partner, Axis Communications, has a neat technology called Zipstream that works with video management system solutions from Genetec. It's based on a video standard called H.264, which is a bit like the way USB is an industry standard in consumer electronics.

The trick with Zipstream is it analyzes and optimizes the network camera's video stream in real time. Important forensic details like faces, tattoos or license plates are isolated and preserved while irrelevant areas such as white walls, lawns and vegetation are sacrificed by smoothing in order to achieve bandwidth and storage savings. Check out this whitepaper to see how this works in detail.

If you know a little about H.264 video compression, then you might ask, "What about H.265?" It's a fair question. H.265 video compression is currently under development by many manufacturers in the physical security industry and some of these companies have already released products. But while H.265 will also deliver lower file sizes and better image quality than standard H.264 video, it will also require completely new integration on the side of VMS manufacturers whereas Axis Zipstream and Genetec deliver this now...without the need to change your software or existing installation.

Zipstream is not a feature add-on or something you purchase separately. It's already on many cameras from Axis Communications-including PTZ-and the list is growing. More importantly, it works on your Genetec solution today. The bottom line and what really matters to most of you is that you get to keep high resolution, video with high image detail and that your Genetec VMS will be able to quickly and seamlessly find it for you.