IP Camera Solution - Video Surveillance

Hi IP Camera Experts,

I am looking for suggestions on a quality IP Camera solution with NVR or similar capabilities.  I am looking for a person who is experienced with video surveillance systems and particularly IP camera solutions.

I have a budget of $10,000 per store.  I need to setup two small book stores with an IP camera solution.

Each store will have 4 cameras.  I would like someone to suggest:

Brand Names
IP Cameras

I have an electrician who can do the wiring.  As a systems administrator I feel pretty comfortable doing the software installation if someone can recommend me a good solution and the reason they suggest this solution, that would be great.
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convergintConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Axis, Avigilon and Bosch cameras we have found to be the best quality to price ratio.  I would stay away from those Amazon cameras with your budget, they are low-mid grade.  A good enterprise IP camera should cost you at least $400.  For example an Axis P3364-V which is a 1MP H264 camera is $800 on B&H.

Two great fixed cameras for retail situations are the Axis M3007-P and M3014.  A discreet PTZ would be the M5014.

For software - Axis Camera Station, Avigilon Core or Standard software, Genetec SV-16 Hardware NVR (comes preloaded with the Omnicast software).

The NVR will vary greatly depending on what resolution cameras you pick, the frame rates you want to record, amount of compression, amount of motion expected and the number of days retention.  If you decide to build your own NVR, make sure you utilize the dedicated surveillance hard drives by Western Digital and Seagate for storage.  They are meant to be running 24/7 unlike cheaper consumer hard drives.

The Genetec SV-16 is a great little (emphasis on little!) appliance that can support up to 16 cameras.  http://www.genetec.com/solutions/all-products/omnicast/sv-16-for-video-surveillance

Our company has installed thousands of these systems along with Axis cameras.  We have had great experiences with the Axis brand along with Genetec and Avigilon.  Almost all the software solutions made by Genetec, Avigilon, Milestone and Pelco are ONVIF compliant which is getting to be more of a open standard.  Unlike Fredbear, we have had terrible experiences working with ONSSI video systems.  Our techs have encountered lots of technical issues and support is lacking.

If you want to go higher scale, Pelco is another alternative but it might be too much for your needs.  Their systems are designed more for huge sites like casinos and airports but it doesn't mean they can't scale down to 4 cameras.

Feel free to ask us any questions you have, we do lots of work with smaller projects such as yours, all the way up to enterprise national clients.
Mike RoeCommented:
ONSSI with Axis camera's

I have put this system in many locations and the quality is great.  

I have them in jails, apartment complexes, etc

ONSSI has been very reliable and works with windows 7 pro with big drives

The computer is the storage.  You can set it up and view from other area with admin clients
Wow,   I wished i had video jobs with that budget.   Sky is the limit.

Foscam makes great cameras,

I've insatlled a few of these and have been very happy with the results,

I've only setup 1 of these but was very please with the quality of the picture and features,

I've also setup iSpy in numerous jobs and my clients have been very happy with it,
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Gerald ConnollyCommented:
Have a look at AirVision from UBNT, Camera's are adequate and low cost, NVR software is free.

activematxAuthor Commented:
Hello Convergint,

This is the answer I was looking for.  Thank you for the detailed response.  I am going to research today about the brands you mentioned and post any follow up questions.  But for now, that was the answer I was looking for.  Thanks a lot.
activematxAuthor Commented:
Is it okay to have two NVR's such as the SV-16 on the same LAN?

We have two stores which are on the same lan but are far apart.  To minimize the bandwidth over the fiber connecting the two stores I would like to put a SV-16 at each store location.

Is this an okay scenario?

Can you also suggest another NVR besides the SV-16, so I can compare features?  Thanks.
Yup, each NVR is standalone.  You can have multiple SV-16s on the same LAN.  When you set them up, you choose which cameras get recorded to which SV-16.  The only thing they can't do is work in a failover situation.  If one NVR dies, the cameras being recorded to it will stop recording.  But you could in theory manually add those cameras to the working NVR while you get the broken one fixed.  With only four cameras and H264 compression, the bandwidth is very low and you probably won't have any issues sending the data over the fiber.

If you want another NVR suggestion, I would use a dedicated computer system and install the NVR software from Axis or Avigilon.  We use the SV-16s for smaller projects but anything larger we always use a dedicated computer/server system.  We find that if you buy a NVR solution from other manufacturers, all they really do is use a Dell or HP system and install their software on it anyways.

A slightly different alternative does exist, many Axis cameras support an onboard SD memory card.  So in theory you could have each camera record to itself saving you having an NVR at all.  You would obviously still need a computer to view the live and recorded video on those cameras.
activematxAuthor Commented:
I was looking at dell rack servers and those are too pricey.  It looks like the SV-16 doesn't have enough hard drive space for our needs (we would like to be able to go back 30 days, and our stores are pretty busy 8 hours of the day).

So I guess, I would have to purchase a standard desktop PC, and hopefully be able to RAID it within my budget.  Do you think using the axis software with a standard pc at both stores would be advisable?  

If I have the two PC's at each store, would I be able to tell the cameras "which" computer to record to?
If you have a rack available at each store, go with the Dell R210 servers.  We use a lot of them for security and video.  Use Server 2008 Foundation to save yourself a lot of money on the software.

We have also used desktop PCs to function as both the NVR and viewing station very successfully.  The Dell Optiplex 7010s mini towers are great for this as you can build a mirrored raid with them.

After you install the NVR software on a PC, you control the cameras from the software.  Basically you first program the cameras with a static IP, then in the software you add the camera ip to it's database and then the software tells the camera where it should record to.
activematxAuthor Commented:
Your personal opinion.  Axis Software vs the Gentec software?  I am thinking Axis only because i plan to use Axis Cameras......

I am also now learning towards using a small form factor tower vs a SV-16 with external RAID.

Do you suggest I go with a computer with external drives or a SV-16 with external drives.  Thanks again.
getzjdConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Stay away from Foscam.....

For the money, Acti makes decent cameras http://www.acti.com/home/index.asp    While Axis is considered to be a great camera, Acti seems to offer more for your money.   You can find several reviews here http://www.cctvforum.com/viewforum.php?f=19&sid=ed5dbfe10a2c65f85b0b678ea1df9219  Also, check out youtube for video reviews.  ( no I do not work for acti and have used both Acti and Axis)

 Regardless of the camera, Do not skimp on the resolution.   Remember, you don't just want to see the activity occur, you want to be able to identify the individual, car, etc.  

With only 4 cameras, I would not be too concerned with the IOPS needed to support the cameras, instead focus on the feature set.  Blue Iris is a decent budget friendly sotware solution and for something like 4 cameras, can easily be installed on a workstation with a new i7 processor and some AV hard drives http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=150
What is the reason why you are wanting to use external drives?  Drives are so large nowadays that you could easily get more than enough storage for only 4 cameras.  You'd be very surprised how many days can be stored with H264 encoding, recording on motion nad only four cameras.

I would personally not go with either a computer or SV16 with external drives.  If you want a computer, get one that is just big enough to house 2 or 3 drives, you'll get better overall performance.

As for Axis vs Genetec, I would go with Genetec software.  Axis does not do anything special to make them work better with Axis software vs any other software.  That is the main reason why we prefer them over all others.  We've had great success with Axis cameras and Lenel, Genetec, Avigilon, Milestone, Exacq, Pelco and some others.
Gerald ConnollyCommented:
i agree with @convergint re server. You will obviously want to use RAID for the disks, Either RAID-1 or RAID-5 (RAID10 or RAID-6 would be better but obviously have a lot of overhead and a minimum of 4 disks).

Go for a server with a real RAID controller not a 2cent fake-RAID one, or use RAID-1 built into the OS, both Windows and Linux can do this.
activematxAuthor Commented:
Thanks covergint, for the detailed responses.

Thanks getzjd for the cctv source.  That site had more information than I could have ever wished for.

I ended up going with a Avigilon solution which I am happy with the features.
Glad to hear you found a solution.  We've had nothing but great feedback with Avigilon, especially with the price to features ratio.
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