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IP video cameras use Internet Protocol to transmit image data and control signals over a high bandwidth network via an ethernet link. Commonly referred to as network cameras, IP cameras work much like analog closed-circuit television. Typically, a number of IP cameras are deployed together with a digital video recorder (DVR) or a network video recorder (NVR) to create a video surveillance system, along with other video servers and security monitors – all creating a comprehensive network for capture and storage.

Although most cameras that send and receive data via a computer network and internet can be called “webcams”, the term “IP camera” or “netcam” is reserved and applied only to those used for surveillance. There are two kinds of IP cameras: Centralized IP cameras, require a central Network Video Recorder (NVR) to handle the recording, video, and alarm management. The other, Decentralized IP cameras, do not require an external recorder, as they have recording functionality built-in, allowing recording directly to digital storage media such as a flash drive, hard disk drive, or network attached storage. 

There are a lot of advantages to using this kind of system, where installing and adding new cameras is easy and cost efficient. Another great benefit of using VoIP security, is that as IP cameras stream live video via digital packets across an internet protocol network such as a LAN (Local Area Network) or the Internet, and as such, video streams can be accessed remotely, including via smartphones, and also stored remotely. IP Cameras are usually high-resolution, providing greater image detail than traditional analog CCTV, which is often grainy and difficult to distinguish for finer features. 

IP Cameras, more often than not, use Power over Ethernet (PoE), so running more cables than just the ethernet cord used to transport video and audio data isn't necessary. In other circumstances, no cables would be needed at all for wireless IP cameras, which makes the possibility for emplacement of a new camera incredibly simple. VoIP Security applications are a great (and at times the only) option in moving vehicles and transportation applications, where Wi-Fi could be installed in a bus/train that would be able to stream the data (video & audio) captured by the camera on board. 

Most VoIP cameras support the SIP protocol and enable the use of each camera to be programmed as an extension on a PBX. Users may pan, tilt, or zoom cameras and transmit commands in real-time through virtual control panels paired with the hardware, which may communicate wirelessly or through a network cable. Many of the top markets adopting IP Video as a surveillance option are in education, transportation, banking, government, and other settings. With even more capabilities than their analog predecessors, IP cameras also can have two way audio enabled, where the system user may broadcast announcements and also listen via the installed surveillance device.

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