IP Cameras are available in two variants and they are centralized and decentralized surveillance cameras. In the centralized camera arrangement, the network camera requires a central video server where all the recording takes place on the platform via Internet Protocol. Since, the camera is connected to a network, the recording can take place locally or remotely making it very useful for applications that need the recording device to be hidden or located off site from the cameras.
In Decentralized camera arrangement, the IP camera has its own recording or functioning intelligence and doesn’t require any kind of server level intelligence. It actually means distributed intelligence and this means that the intelligence, events & actions are all decentralized. So, for those who want to go green, can avail this decentralized IP cameras availability and can achieve the best. Moreover, a decentralized IP camera has the ability to record to many different types of digital storage media such as NAS, SAN, Hard disk drive or the most commonly used Flash drives. The flash drive is small and thus makes the decentralized IP cameras very versatile for low maintenance applications.
And moreover, most IP cameras on the market require a central server with licensed video management software installed. These cameras are based on what is known as the centralized platform which has been the traditional system topology, based on legacy CCTV system design.
While, in a decentralized camera system, the recording and video management functionalities are built-in—as said in the earlier paragraphs. So, this negates the need for licensing VMS software and dedicated recording servers.
In a decentralized camera arrangement, the camera bears the entire load and so the system can scale in high resolution very easily. With a centralized system the central server has to carry the entire load, which means more investment is required on server side.
In order to avoid single point of failure, never opt for a centralized architecture and go for decentralized approach. But the point is that the high price factor of decentralized cameras and the quality delivered by them is hindering their market growth.
The disadvantages of a decentralized camera are that it has limited storage time, if it has a SD card support. To avoid such issues, integrating the camera with a NAS storage will be smart choice. The other negative issue in this camera arrangement is that a full decentralized system do makes administration a bit harder as you have to set-up port forwarding to every camera, as opposed to just one IP address of a server.