Video can be distributed from its source of origin to the devices that display it in multiple ways. For years, RF (radio frequency) has been the tried-and-true technology. The most common application of RF technology has been in the transmission of the signals used in radio broadcasting. A specific segment of the RF spectrum is also designated for RF video distribution, which is still widely used in industries such as healthcare, government and military, education, and hospitality.
With the advent of the Internet, new options for distributing video are now available — and the technology continues to evolve at an amazing rate. Internet protocol (IP) systems have become common in most of the same industries where RF video has been a staple for decades. The technology for simultaneous distribution of RF and IP over the same Ethernet cable (typically Category 5e or 6) is now in existence, which opens up a wide range of video distribution possibilities.
The Basics of IP-Based Video
The “IP” in IP video stands for “Internet protocol.” This term is used to describe the methods (protocols) in which data is distributed from one device to another within computer networks that are connected to the Internet. These protocols specify the format for units and addresses of the data that is distributed through the network. The IP video term can be a bit misleading, as the Internet doesn’t necessarily have to be the source of the video. The term can also encompass stored video, such as the on-demand videos you might find in a hotel room.
IP Video: A Brief History
The roots of modern IP systems can be traced to the 1990s where the technology was first developed for closed-circuit televisions systems used for surveillance purposes. The early IP cameras offered a significant upgrade over the analog CCTV cameras in use at the time, as they provided the ability to send and receive data over the Internet and a computer network. As the technology evolved, IP cameras with on-board video content analytics became available. They enabled organizations to bolster their security capabilities.
It has only been in the last decade that video over IP has gained more widespread use. These days, IP video consists of two basic types:
- Internet video — “Internet” refers to the streaming video that originates from an Internet source. If you’ve ever downloaded a YouTube video, you’ve had firsthand experience with this type of IP video technology. You’ve probably also experienced the frustration while waiting for the video to begin. Interruptions during streaming are also a common issue, especially with low-speed Internet connections. This makes Internet video an impractical option for organizational use.
- IPTV — A relatively recent innovation has been the development of IPTV. Unlike Internet video, IPTV is a standardized service that is available for organizations to purchase for their facilities. The biggest advantage that IPTV has over Internet video is that it has the capability to reorder the video and packets that are distributed over the network. The built-in buffering process also eliminates the issue of constant stopping and starting.
Industrial Applications of IP Distribution Video Systems
The rapid development of IP video technology, particularly IPTV, has led to its use in a wide variety of applications in industries including:
- Hospitality — If you enter a gaming facility such as a casino or horseracing track, you’ll probably be able to see IP video systems at work. Typical hospitality applications include the distribution of satellite signals to televisions within the facility, offline betting, and in digital signage displays.
- Healthcare — Hospitals and other healthcare facilities now use IPTV for providing patient education and entertainment. They’re also used for signage and announcements in hospital common areas. They can even serve as a source of informational and training videos for staff members.
- Government and Military — IP-based video systems can be found in common areas of government facilities, executive offices, and conference rooms. Military installations also use them to provide entertainment for troops in barracks and distribute information, as well as for training purposes. Military hospitals also contain IP video systems for many of the same purposes as civilian hospitals.
- Education — College campuses distribute video over IP for multiple purposes. News and information can be delivered via IP video to dorm rooms and common areas. Lectures can be distributed to other areas of a campus or remote locations. Students who don’t want to attend an on-campus sporting event can choose to watch a video feed at a student center or other campus location. IP video can also be an invaluable educational tool for facilitating distance learning.
- Corporations/Businesses — The corporate world uses IP-based video as a source of news and entertainment in break rooms and other common areas within a work facility, as well as to provide staff training. Stock markets now use video extensively on trading floors to provide timely market information to traders. Examples of businesses that use IP systems include retail stores and fitness centers.
- International — IP video is playing an increasingly important role on an international level, helping organizations gain a competitive advantage in the global marketplace. IP systems can facilitate communication between global business partners, and they can be extremely beneficial for cross-cultural training purposes. Companies attempting to establish headquarters in a foreign country can also benefit from this video technology.
Z-Band Offers State-of-the-Art IP Video Solutions
Z-Band can provide an advanced IP video system that can be customized to meet the needs of organizations in any of these industries. Our products feature the most technologically advanced hardware currently on the market. We have the expertise to design an end-to-end enterprise-level video system that is easy to use and maintain. You can also rely on us for expert on-site installation and training, as well as complete support for the life of the product.
Contact Us to Schedule an IP Video Demo
To see an IP video system in action, contact us to schedule an on-site demo today. We also provide complete video consulting services to help you choose the right system for your organization.