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Digital video surveillance to monitor action at distance

By N. Ravi Kumar

CHENNAI, FEB. 19. Technology may not have made it possible for you to be present at different locations simultaneously, but it certainly can make your presence felt across cities.

Be it a group of industrial establishments, a chain of retail stores or the school where your child studies, remote monitoring of activities at places separated by distance is the latest in the series of offerings with broadband as the backbone.

Making it possible is the digital video surveillance solution that the broadband and telephone service wing of Airtel has unveiled recently in Tamil Nadu. "The custom-made solution enables the users to monitor activities remotely and offers them a choice of multi-location or single location surveillance," says Deepak Pande, chief operating officer of Airtel.

Using Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), the solution offers multiple benefits such as remote viewing, LAN (local area network) access, both audio-visual monitoring and multi-camera viewing — features promising greater advantages compared to the use of closed-circuit television.

The cost of such surveillance systems, with scalable speed of the connection, however, could be a major factor. The upfront investment on the equipment is around Rs. 25,000. Registration charges will be separate. The telecom service provider offers the DSL router on an upfront payment of around Rs. 6,000 or on rent.

The monthly recurring charges for an intra-city virtual private network varies between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 6,000 depending on the speed of the transmission — from 128 kilobyte per second to 768 kbps. The inter-city monthly charges for the same ranges from Rs. 7,200 to 28,440. Rental charges for the router are separate.

On the cost, Mr. Pande points out "the product need came from the market ... within a few days of the launch Airtel had five customers in Chennai and is targeting 100 users in the first month." While the solution over DSL is available in the six telecom circles where Airtel is present — namely Delhi, Haryana, Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu — customers seeking to use the solution in other areas could get access using the internet.

The worldover video surveillance over DSL finds applications in offices, factories, shopping malls, restaurants, vehicle parking lots and playschools. The police also use it to check at unmanned crossings.

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