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Cisco rolls out IP cameras, access control system

Cisco has announced two IP cameras and an access control system as part of its Cisco Connected Physical Security product portfolio, intended to “ease the convergence of Information Technology and physical security by allowing customers to integrate with existing physical security systems and IT infrastructures.”




April 10, 2008
By Jennifer Brown

The cameras are the first of what the company says will be a larger line it plans to introduce over the next several years.

“We’re excited about the line and we will be adding to it over the next
year and a half,” says Pete Jankowski, Chief Technology Officer for
Cisco’s physical security business unit. “We support other cameras, but
we thought it would be nice to put some Cisco secret sauce inside the
camera and it’s more network friendly with a more secure endpoint. That
was really what we were driving for with our cameras.”

Cisco’s high-definition and standard-definition IP uses H.264 for
video compression and a high-speed imager that captures video up to
1920 x 1080 at 30 frames a second.  The Cisco HD IP camera has an
optional high-speed DSP completely dedicated for intelligent video
functions such as video analytics.

The Cisco Standard Definition (SD) IP Camera is available either as a
wired Power-over-Ethernet (POE) or DC power through an optional
external power supply, or as a wireless version supporting 802.11b, g,
n.  

The cameras feature a browser-based interface for easy installation
and management and provide excellent image quality in variable lighting
conditions.  The new standard definition cameras provide DVD-quality D1
video up to 30 fps and feature dual streaming so users can adjust frame
rate and/or resolution to control the quality of the video for
different purposes simultaneously. Both cameras feature event
notification so a camera can examine designated areas for activity and
notify users or other applications when it detects activity that
exceeds a predefined threshold.  

They also have on-board storage with flashcard or they can connect to
other USB devices to the camera. The cameras have been in development
for the last 18 months.

“The security industry is very important to Cisco, and we are here to
stay,” says Bill Stuntz, general manager of Cisco’s Physical Security
Business Unit.

Cisco’s IP-based Physical Access Control (PAC) system uses the IP
network as a platform for integrated security operations. The product
includes both hardware and software components, and offers a complete
solution for IP-based Electronic Access Control. The new system is
built to work with existing door readers, locks and biometric devices.
It targets campus environments and office buildings. 

As part of the
system, a hardware component called the Cisco Access Gateway provides
a modular and scalable platform to connect readers, inputs and outputs
to the system. The system scales from a single door to thousands of
doors.  The software component, called Cisco Physical Access Manager
(Cisco PAM), manages the hardware and provides a platform for
integration with other IT systems. Cisco PAM integrates with Cisco’s
Video Surveillance offering, delivering enhanced features while
lowering the total cost of ownership.

The new Cisco IP cameras are scheduled for availability in May 2008 and
will be available through dealers.  The access control (PAC) system is
scheduled for availability in June 2008, with pricing varying by the
number of doors deployed.