Video surveillance is one of those huge markets where standards aren't used enough. Though I am not an expert in video surveillance, I have been on the edges of this market and its requirements in the past several years.
During this time, I have seen only two types of surveillance systems:
- The closed proprietary ones, where everything is done with some obscure protocol.
- The hybrid ones, where camera links use proprietary protocols, but some gateway along the way is capable of converting it to a standard protocol.
The standard protocol of choice in this industry is RTSP - Real Time Streaming Protocol. It is basically a protocol defining a kind of a set-top box remote control, where you can "select a channel", "play" it and do some other tricks.
There are some who regard SIP as a better solution for RTSP (and I am among them). Grandstream just announced a set of SIP based H.264 IP video surveillance products.
In a nutshell, the Grandstream solution has surveillance cameras that use SIP signaling to stream video from the camera to a monitoring system somewhere. They also use bi-directional audio, so the security guys can shout at perpetrators, if and when they see them.
As our lives get more digitized (and more complex), I believe everything needs to become interactive and multi-directional. RTSP, as a single direction media protocol just isn't the right choice anymore for surveillance. It's good to see that the industry is heading towards SIP on this one.