Convergence of voice, video and data networks are a growing reality, yet organisations still struggle to fully leverage the benefits of this architecture, especially with regard to CCTV and surveillance systems.

A particular challenge is accessing key components that are designed to exploit the technological advantages converged systems offer, and integrating with legacy solutions.
The new partnership between KSS, a converged network integrator focusing on integrated data, voice and video solutions, and ADI International, a leading distributor of security systems, promises to resolve these issues.
Says Andre Maree, MD of KSS: "ADI's range of Axis Communications IP cameras and Milestone software, a sophisticated IP video surveillance management tool, is ideal for converged environments. Milestone acts as the core of the surveillance system, connecting all standard video and computer hardware for an optimal, integrated solution, while the Axis IP cameras bring greater intelligence, remote access capabilities and the ability to function even when there is a power failure.
"This combination of benefits allows us to introduce a flexible and scalable solution to this burgeoning market – a solution that will not only reduce the workload associated with traditional analogue systems but introduce greater intelligence and broader functionality to enhance security in office, retail, manufacturing and mining environments."
Graham Goldridge, IP product manager of ADI national for Sub-Sahara Africa, adds: "IP systems have many advantages. With old VCR systems (analogue), surveillance staff would have to change tapes frequently, and over time, the VCR heads got dirty and distorted the images. With an IP solution, digital search and retrieval functions are much faster and the images are clearer, making it easier to review the recordings.
"Milestone software supplies the basis for highly efficient video monitoring and analysis, also opening up a wide spectrum of opportunities for integrating with other business applications in any IT environment. It's a proven technology with more than 25 000 installations worldwide. The Axis IP camera's, which represent the latest technology and intelligent functionality for converged environments, fit well with this solution."
All Milestone software products for controlling video surveillance are based on the TCP/IP network protocol, which enables organisations to build their own video surveillance system using standard video (including analogue) and computer hardware. In fact, Milestone software supports more than 300 different camera models and video decoders from over 35 manufacturers. This gives organisations the widest choice available to select exactly the right device for each situation. This reduces maintenance costs, lowers workloads, enhances protection of business environments and future-proofs systems for coming value-added integrations.
However, KSS is upping the ante by introducing ADI's range of Axis Communications IP cameras.
Roy Alves, country manager of Axis Communications in Johannesburg, explains: "In contrast to analogue CCTV cameras having to use the intelligence from a DVR "Digital Video Recorder", a network camera (or IP camera) can be escribed as a camera and computer combined in one intelligent unit. It aptures and sends live video directly over an IP network such as a LAN, ntranet or the Internet and enables users to view and/or manage the camera sing a standard Web browser or video management software on any local or emote computer on a network. It also allows authorised viewers from ifferent locations to simultaneously access images from the same network camera.
"Axis offers a wide range of high quality network cameras for securing people and property, remotely monitoring equipment and facilities, and for sending live images and sounds for remote learning, troubleshooting or Web broadcasting."
The Axis' range of IP cameras that KSS will make available to its customers include the entry level AXIS 207 and professional AXIS 210A models for indoor applications; the AXIS 211 and AXIS 211M for outdoor and large environments such as retail stores, and the AXIS 233 PTZ which has advanced Pan, Tilt and Zoom functionality ideal for monitoring, remote learning and troubleshooting. All, except the AXIS 207, have built-in Power over Ethernet, which allows the camera to receive both data and power over a single Ethernet cable. This makes installation easier and cheaper, and means that the camera can operate even when there is a power failure.
Concludes Maree: "This combination of products ensures our customers will not only have a surveillance system that can fully leverage the power of convergence, but a sophisticated management tool that gives relevant personnel access to operations at all times from office or remote locations via PC, Web browser or mobile phone."