IP camera, how to use it properly and its features

IP camera, how to use it properly and its features

An internet protocol camera, or IP camera, is a type of digital video camera that receives control data and sends the image data over an IP network. They are most commonly used for surveillance but unlike analog closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, they do not require a local recording device, only a local area network. Most IP cameras are web cameras, but the term IP camera or netcam usually only applies to those that can be accessed directly over a network connection, and are usually used for surveillance.

Some IP cameras require the support of a central network video recorder (NVR) to handle recording, video, and alarm management. Others can work in a decentralized manner without the need for an NVR, as the camera is able to record directly to any local or remote storage media. The first central IP camera was the Axis Neteye 200, which was released in 1996 by Axis Communications.

IP camera

The first central IP camera, the Axis Neteye 200, was released in 1996 by Axis Communications and was developed by the team of Martin Gren and Carl-Axel Alm.

Ideas were promoted based on being able to directly access them from anywhere with an internet connection, and the camera was unable to broadcast the action video in real time. He was limited to a snapshot image every time the camera was accessed. At the time of launch, it was deemed unable to function as a mobile camera due to the “enormous” bandwidth requirements at the time. Thus it was primarily aimed at the tourism industry.

The Axis Neteye 200 was not intended to replace traditional analog CCTV systems, since its capacity was limited to only 1 frame per second in Common Medium Format (CIF), or 1 frame every 17 seconds at 4CIF resolution, with a maximum resolution quality of 0.1 MP ( 352 x 288). Axis used a proprietary web server named OSYS, but by the summer of 1998, it started moving the camera software to Linux.

Axis has also released documentation for a low-level application programming interface (API) called VAPIX, which is based on open standards for HTTP and RTSP. This open architecture aims to encourage third-party software manufacturers to develop compatible management and recording programs.

The first decentralized IP camera was released in 1999 by Mobotix. The Linux camera system contained video management, alarm, and recording functions. In 2005 Intellio released the first IP camera with Video Content Analytics (VCA). This camera was able to detect a number of different events, such as if something was stolen, a human crossed a line, a person entered a pre-defined area, or if a car moved in the wrong direction.

Standards for IP camera

Previous generations of analog CCTV cameras use well-established television broadcast formats (such as CIF, NTSC, PAL, and SECAM). Since the year 2000, there has been a shift in the consumer television business towards high definition (HD) (eg 1080P (Full-HD), 4K (Ultra-HD), 16: 9 widescreen format).

IP cameras may differ from one another in resolutions, features, video encoding systems, available network protocols, and video management software APIs. IP cameras are available with resolutions ranging from 0.3 (VGA) to 29MP.

To address IP video surveillance standardization issues, two industry groups were formed in 2008: the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) and the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA). PSIA was founded by 20 member companies including Honeywell, GE Security, and Cisco. ONVIF was founded by Axis Communications, Bosch and Sony.

Each group now has many additional members, thus; Cameras and recorders that work at the same standard can work together.

Many consumer level IP cameras used for home security send a live video broadcast to a companion app on the user’s phone. IP cameras in the home generally connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, Broadband, or Ethernet cable.

IP cameras used to be more common in small businesses than at home, but this is no longer the case. A 2016 survey of 2,000 Americans revealed that 20% of them owned home security cameras.

This crossover between IP cameras for home use is partly due to the self-stabilization of the device. IP cameras do not require professional installation, which saves time for home and business owners. On the other hand, large companies and commercial spaces, such as malls, require high-definition (i.e. 4K) videos and many professional cameras and applications to accommodate the installation and management of the cameras.

One of the most popular capabilities of home Wi-Fi surveillance cameras is to display their camera footage via a mobile app or other application program. Many cameras offer features such as a wide-angle lens (approx 140 °, pan / tilt up to 350 ° horizontal, 90 ° vertical), low-light or night vision, and motion detection. When an event occurs, such as a detected movement, users can receive alerts and notifications through an application. Videos can be stored on a local device such as micro-SD or through a cloud service.

The market size for home security systems was $ 4.8 billion in 2018. The compound annual growth rate was 22.4% between 2011 and 2018. People in countries suffering from high crime rates, especially theft and robbery, are keen to adopt home surveillance cameras. Additionally, two countries, the United States and China, have a high implementation rate for residential security cameras.

The major players in the home security market are Nest (owned by Google, US), Ring (owned by Amazon, US), Arlo (owned by Netgear, US), and SimpliSafe (US). Hikvision Digital Technology (Ltd.) and Leshi Video Tech (China) are the two largest manufacturers of IP cameras. As for the alarm security industry, the main players are ADT, Security Services (US), Vivint (US), and Frontpoint Security Solutions (US).

IP camera

Types of IP cameras

Indoor cameras are widely used in both residential and commercial fields. Depending on their functionality, they are classified as a fixed camera or a tilt and zoom pan camera (PTZ camera). Still cameras are generally used to monitor a range of areas, while a PTZ camera can be used to either track movement or manually adjust the monitoring area.

Outdoor wired cameras, also known as AC cameras, are placed in outdoor environments. It is designed to withstand weather conditions, such as heat, cold, and rain, and is generally capable of capturing video in low-light conditions. It is often rated IP65 / IP67 to withstand the outdoor environment.

Wired (AC) or wire-free cameras for homes are IP cameras that have their own independent power source, such as a solar panel or battery.

Cloud and local storage

Source: Some camera manufacturers offer cloud subscriptions where users can view and download recent videos remotely by paying a recurring subscription fee. Cloud subscription plans usually come with several days of frequent storage, and videos will be overwritten after this period.

Some cameras include a micro SD card slot so that users can store videos locally. No loops as long as the memory card has enough space to store photos. However, locally stored video footage cannot be accessed remotely.