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  • Nick Harris

Lifespan of Video Surveillance Systems (CCTV) IVPM

How long it takes for a surveillance system to be replaced has a huge impact on adopting new products or technologies. Like cars, security users do not buy a new surveillance system every month or even every year. Indeed, systems are clearly only purchased every few years - but is it every 3, 5, 7 years or more? The longer it is, the harder it is for new technologies - whether it is IP cameras, HD SDI cameras, VMS, video analytics - to break it as they typically need to wait for the big new replacement purchase. In this note, we provide the first end user survey results to answer that question.



Poll Question

In the chart below, here are the results from a survey of 60 end users:



This result indicates that surveillance end users overwhelmingly wait more than 5 years before upgrading with a median term of 7 years. Despite the impression that technology is volatile and pressures to stay current, these results clearly demonstrate that change only happens when several factors coincide. Very few responses provided only one criteria for updating, and several mentioned all the key takeaways listed below:


Key Takeaways

Three themes emerge as the common drivers describing when end users 'pull the trigger' and upgrade:

  • Money: Not surprisingly, available funding have a huge impact on upgrade frequency.

  • Functionality: Perception of 'technology improvements' over previous technology plays a huge role. In other words, if the 'latest and greatest' is not a significant improvement over current, end users delay upgrade.

  • Need: Otherwise stated, end users upgrade when it becomes too costly to maintain legacy systems, replacement equipment becomes unavailable, or end user surveillance demand exceeds what current system is able to provide.

Money

When it comes to upgrading surveillance equipment, available funding dictates when and where upgrades take place:

  • "Budget is the major decision factor in what can be replaced and when."

  • "Money has been the major driving factor in waiting so long for the current replacement, though poor long range planning factored into it. We were planning a complete replacement, cameras and all, in 2009 when the recession hit and we lost half our budget."

  • "Budget is the major decision factor in what can be replaced and when."

  • "Cost of new IP mega-pixel cameras are going down and advantages of have IT be part of supporting IP camera system instead of relying on contractors"

  • "Mostly cost."

  • "Cost and functionality."

  • "Budget. That is the one and only factor."

  • "I am currently considering changing my VMS to a more moderately priced platform that doesn't require me to attend training to get tech support."

  • "Cost. Need. Budget."

Even if compelling rationale and need exist for new surveillance equipment, unless that activity has been budgeted or planned for, nothing happens. Many of the responses indicated that lack of funding has prolonged existing equipment service life and that trend is expected to continue.



Harris Industries recommends budgeting to replace a CCTV system under normal wear and tear every 5-6 Years, By getting regular cleaning and Service done we can generally stretch the life expectancy of the system to around 8-10 years. The first failure you will generally see in a system is a Hard Drive or HDD- at roughly $200- $400 these are easily replaceable and don't require an entire system upgrade.


Cabling life expectancy should fall in the 15- 20 year range depending on factors including Installation, wear and tear, and exposure to weather.

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