Internet Protocol cameras (or IP cameras), as they are usually referred to, bring together all the power of video surveillance combined with the capabilities of the Internet.

In this article, we will specify what an IP camera is, how they work, and what it can bring to critical industries when it is combined with AI.

Table of contents


What Is an IP camera? 

An IP camera is a digital security recording device that collects and delivers video footage via an IP network. They are frequently employed in surveillance. Unlike conventional closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), IP cameras require a local network and no local recording hardware. IP cameras use the same technology as phones and computers to connect to a network.


How Does an IP Camera Work?

The way an IP camera works is simple and convenient.

An IP camera communicates with a network through WiFi or a Power over Ethernet connection (PoE). They are frequently used in conjunction with network video recorders (NVRs) and, on occasion, digital video recorders (DVRs), making them a popular business video surveillance option. Some camera companies even include their own video management software or video analytics solution for a specific use case, when selling their products.

If you want to learn more about how video analytics work with video surveillance systems, read our definitive guide to video analytics here.

IP cameras, like digital cameras, take pictures and compress them for transmission over a network. IP cameras can be utilized on a wired network through an ethernet cable linked to a broadband modem or router, wirelessly using a WiFi router, or through a cellular network.

One of its primary advantages is the ease with which it can be installed: all that is required is a network connection and to configure the camera. Today's IP cameras allow live viewing, continuous recording, run on a schedule, or be triggered by an event.


Security Measures for IP Cameras 

When installing IP cameras, we must take security measures to make the most of our investment.

Most security cameras come with a default username and password. But unsecured IP cameras are surprisingly easy to hack. And not only that, but if the networks are not secure either, our video surveillance system can be at risk.

Before starting to use your IP camera, take into account the following security measures:

  • Use a strong password.
  • Change your camera’s default login credentials.
  • Check that your Wi-Fi is private.
  • Use a data encryption system. (WPA3 is considered the safest).
  • Set different levels of access for different users.
  • Update your software constantly.


Industries That Use IP Cameras 

Multiple industries are benefiting from the commercial and security advantages that IP cameras offer over analog cameras, adapting their networking possibilities and adding features to specific purposes.

The principal industries that rely on this video surveillance innovation are:

Loss prevention is a business priority for any retailer, and for this reason, most of them use camera systems with permanent monitoring accessed from any device. The intention is not only to prevent theft and burglary but also to increase profits and internal logistics by tracking customer activity and providing managers with tools to control inventory and measure employee productivity. IP 360 cameras, capable of recording whole environments, are good allies in meeting these goals.

Business and Banks
Businesses are possibly the most common setting for video surveillance cameras, but that doesn't mean their technology remains in the past - quite the contrary. Nowadays, most of the cameras in use operate under the Internet Protocol and feature artificial intelligence systems that detect criminal behavior and employ facial recognition. Other must-have features include high-resolution video, night vision, and instant notifications, to name a few.

Law Enforcement
When it comes to protecting citizens and public areas, video surveillance becomes a police officer's best partner. One of the biggest challenges for public safety is to quickly access evidence that will help prevent or correct unsafe acts. In that sense, identifying specific scenes and analyzing them in-depth becomes more manageable with the high resolution and remote access through different devices of IP cameras.

Industrial Sites
Often, employees in industrial factories work with hazardous machinery and materials. An ideal resource for protecting personnel at industrial sites -and also measuring their productivity rates- are expandable IP cameras, that is, easy to move and suitable for both indoors and outdoors.





3 Network Options for IP Cameras   

As we saw, IP cameras use software that connects directly to a network.

Among the most popular network options for IP cameras we find:

Wireless network
The nexus is established via a WiFi router -in the same way, that computers, phones, and TVs do- and the captured images are transferred to cloud storage or to the camera's local repository. Wireless networks are more susceptible to interference but are a good option in areas where it is difficult to install cables.

Wired network
In this case, an Ethernet cable connects the IP camera to the network. This type of connection is the least susceptible to signal interference and unwanted viewers, so it is considered the safest in large areas. In addition, the transmitted images maintain their full quality over long distances.

Cellular network
This type of network is ideal in places without the Internet, such as boats and construction sites, as it broadcasts video over a mobile network, meaning 3G, 4G, or 5G networks. In terms of accessibility and installation, it is a very attractive choice, you just have to make sure that its transmission speed is fast enough.





Important Features for IP Cameras 

When installing IP cameras for your business, consider the following features:

Video Quality and Resolution
Although -due to their digital nature- IP cameras transmit video of better quality and resolution than analog cameras, the sharper the images, the greater the detail, and the easier it is to analyze them. Thanks to these qualities, it will be possible to integrate advances such as facial recognition.

PoE Capabilities
PoE switches (power-over-ethernet switches) allow Ethernet cables to transmit images and power cameras simultaneously through the same cable, eliminating the need for external power outlets and making installation much easier. IP cameras powered by a PoE connection are also more resistant to interference.

Cloud and Built-in Storage
This type of storage is much more secure for saving recorded video data than local storing, as everything remains on the Internet. Make sure that your IP cameras transfer their information directly to a cloud storage service, that this has enough capacity to hold files, and that it meets the required digital security. You can even find hybrid options that keep your data both in a cloud and locally.

Video Sharing
Sharing material through emails, links, or SMS texts speeds up decision-making and ensures more straightforward communication between teams.

Video Analytics
Today's video surveillance is not complete without Artificial Intelligence. Thus, IP cameras are able to integrate software programs with facial recognition, database matching, vehicle and crowd counting, and much more.

In case your cameras encrypt data via the Internet, their home page´s URL must start with the HTTPS protocol. This is the first step to making sure that third parties cannot see your data.

Easy Installation
Installing IP cameras should not be particularly difficult. Depending on the number of purchased cameras and the type of cable you'll use, evaluate whether you need professional help to install your equipment.

Contrary to what most people think, purchasing IP cameras should not be an overwhelming expense. Be sure to evaluate proposals from several vendors and consider options and features that are affordable, yet highly effective, such as PoE switches.





How Artificial Intelligence Enhances IP Cameras

The main strength of using AI with IP cameras is their capacity to learn from new situations and identify unseen issues or problems.

Private agencies, big companies, and governments have invested heavily in setting up a surveillance infrastructure. There are millions of cameras, but the problem is that this infrastructure cannot be leveraged to its maximum capacity because of avoidable situations, like fatigue or lack of attention.

However, artificial intelligence (AI) can process every frame and present real-time analysis to save millions of lives and make the most of current video surveillance systems.

Apart from its incredible self-learning capabilities, AI can also detect, decide and respond to a specific situation to achieve a particular goal. It is constantly learning and improving. Error is minimized with every iteration, leaving human flaws behind.

Pairing IP cameras with artificial intelligence will help further the goal of having a true autonomous colleague, that helps us elevate everything we do.

Learn everything about our Autonomous Artificial Intelligence in our full guide here.

And if you want to know how a video surveillance system works in detail, read our article here. 


You may also like

5 Machine Learning examples from your daily life you didn't know about
5 Machine Learning examples from your daily life you didn't know about
1 April, 2022

Several Machine Learning examples are already part of our daily lives. And in the coming years, our relationship with th...

What is a video surveillance system and how does it work?
What is a video surveillance system and how does it work?
16 May, 2022

Having a video surveillance system in place is one of the most reliable security measures nowadays. It provides valuable...

Intelligent Systems: What are they, how do they work and why are they so important
Intelligent Systems: What are they, how do they work and why are they so important
10 June, 2022

Intelligent systems solve complex problems automatically and more efficiently within specific environments. They are for...