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Video surveillance needs a different drive

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This year, the African surveillance market is expected to exceed R2-billion, which is largely driven by the move from analogue to digital equipment. But as more cameras start recording in HD, the demand for hard drives geared to surveillance are becoming a necessity, says KALVIN SUBBADU.

In 2014, the total market in Africa for video surveillance equipment is expected to exceed R2-billion. This surging growth is largely driven by the continuing transition from analogue to digital equipment, and the emergence of new users in the form of private homeowners, SOHO and SMEs, and medium-sized enterprises. No longer is video surveillance the domain of corporates, venue owners and other big enterprises.

As concepts like connected homes (or, smart-homes) and ‚ÄòThe Internet of Everything’ start moving from the realm of fanciful thinking, to practical on-the-ground realities, home surveillance kit becomes a part of the mainstream technology landscape. Users are demanding greater numbers of connected cameras, always-on reliability, better recording and playback performance, and lower power consumption. As high-definition cameras continue to permeate the industry, users’ processing and storage demands start increasing exponentially.

Consider that four HD cameras require at least 16.5 Terabytes (TB) of capacity on order to save footage for approximately 30 days. This is more than six times greater than the requirements of four standard-definition cameras. But despite these heightened requirements, too many resellers and installers are still using normal desktop hard drives in their customers’ surveillance set-ups – which brings with it a host of problems.

Fortunately, recent breakthroughs from major hard drive manufacturers have resulted in the enhancement of tailor-made, fit-for-purpose surveillance system hard drives that are optimised for video surveillance applications. These drives – built for the purpose of recording multiple surveillance feeds – deliver consistent processing 24 hours a day, without losing valuable footage, or being affected by temperature changes or equipment vibrations. They also tend to last for a longer period of time than desktop drives that have been retrofitted into a surveillance system.

Some of the very latest innovations in this field feature capabilities that temporarily ‚Äòcache’ video feeds – to further ensure excellent dataflow and playback performance. No more lost frames or jittery performance issues. What this ultimately means, is that the DVR unit can consistently and reliably record the surveillance footage from multiple cameras, without even a second of the video being lost. This is absolutely critical when considering that frame losses and jitters can mean the difference between finding and convicting perpetrators in the case of theft, and them walking free.

Specially-designed surveillance hard drives of course make it possible to process and record high-definition video feeds. Again, in cases where one needs the right forensic evidence to secure a conviction against a perpetrator, having a higher resolution video becomes an invaluable tool.

Finally, there are other advantages inherent in some surveillance drives such as reduced power and cooling requirements, acoustics (quietness), and portability. Choosing the right video surveillance hardware and systems means investing in the protection of one’s home, one’s family, or one’s business. As users tend to add more cameras, and higher-quality resolution feeds, it becomes important to choose the drive that will last for a number of years.

* Kalvin Subbadu, Components Sales Manager at WD South Africa

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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