In my house I have a number of IP cameras set up from various vendors. A few of the cameras are set to send video streams to an NVR connected to my LAN. We recently had a power outage that lasted about six hours, after which the power was restored. I checked my cameras and all of their “happy” LEDs were blinking, so I thought everything was OK.

It was a couple of weeks later when I was traveling and tried to access the NVR from over the Internet and the NVR would not communicate with my laptop. When I returned home I found that although the NVR had powered up after the AC power was restored, the NVR did not turn itself back on to record the camera feeds. It required me to push the start button to get the NVR back to recording the cameras.

This sequence of events clearly illustrated a potential problem for dealers and end-users who are using local recording DVRs or NVRs. It’s common knowledge that only a small percentage of recorded surveillance video is ever looked at; usually clients only check their recorded video streams after an event has happened the day or night before.

After an initial installation, clients tend to review the video fairly often. But soon the novelty wears away and the client only looks at the video after something bad happens. It is very important that local recording devices such as NVRs and DVRs are regularly checked to verify that they are recording, particularly after power outages, network reconfiguration, or other events that might affect the ability of the recording device to function.

In a perfect world clients would check the functionality of their video recorders on a daily basis, but outside of high-value locations that have dedicated security personnel it’s not likely that these daily checks will be performed by end-users. As it is not practical for electronic security companies to periodically check each and every DVR/NVR at their clients’ locations, security dealers should emphasize to clients that they need to check the functionality of their video recorder on a regular basis.

Another possible approach is a belt and suspenders method of video recording. Many of the major IP camera vendors such as Bosch, Vivotek, and Axis Communications are providing SD and mini-SD memory card slots in some of their cameras which can be easily programmed to record full-time and motion video. With the camera recording duplicated on a SD/mini-SD card and transmitting the video stream to an NVR, the odds of both recording methods failing simultaneously are greatly reduced. With the low cost of SD memory cards, the addition of this redundant recording method is a wise move when installing IP cameras and NVRs.

ADI offers a number of training opportunities throughout the year that provide tips for easier installations. Keep an eye on this page for upcoming training events taking place at your local ADI branch.