A new closed circuit over twisted pair (CCTP) surveillance system developed by data communications distributor Anixter Inc., in conjunction with manufacturer partners Philips CSI, Belden Wire & Cable, and Middle Atlantic, effectively melds digital closed circuit (CCTV) technology with a local area network (LAN) infrastructure.

CCTP is the first end-to-end video surveillance solution that runs video, power and control signals over a single, unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable. CCTP addresses the escalating penchant in America to converge physical security into the IT domain.

Supporting that notion is a recent survey conducted by IndustryWeek, which reported that 40 percent of Fortune 1000 security departments now report to the IT department. CSO Magazine reported that the security budget falls under the IT umbrella for 80 percent of chief security officers (CSOs).

For decision-makers in both the IT and security departments, moves, adds and changes (MACs) can be a costly venture. MACs on traditional CCTV systems can cost up to six times more than MACs with a CCTP system, according to Anixter officials, because they require extra electrical work and labor-intensive cable pulls. On installation of a total system, labor savings can be as high as 30 percent.

According to Bill Miller, director of marketing for Belden Wire & Cable, one of the keys to the CCTP system is Belden’s bonded-pair cable technology, which enables power, video and control signals over a single UTP cable. “It can be significant,” he said. “Right now there’s no other means that allows you to totally integrate digital video and a premise wiring system.”

CCTP, which has been stringently tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), is also 100 percent standards-based and compliant with ANSI/TIA/EIA National Telecommunications Standards. It also exceeds Category 6 performance specifications. Isaac Papier, general manager of the Signaling and Security Systems Strategic Business Unit of UL, follows the security systems technology market very closely. He said this shift toward digital CCTV opens up many new ways for security professionals to maximize their resources through using the latest technology available.

Anixter entered this CCTP project with the goal of standardizing a market that lacked standardization. “There was no standard to make a successful move from existing technology to some type of IP (Internet Protocol) platform seamlessly,” said Frank LaPlante, Anixter’s vice president of marketing & advertising. “We think this is the one system that successfully bridges the gap between legacy systems and the digital age.”

Anixter, the exclusive provider of the CCTP solution, offers a three-year, end-to-end parts and labor warranty through an authorized installer program. At least one contracting company in each market with an Anixter branch earned a certification or CCTP-AI (authorized installer) designation.

Matt Doell, a CCTP-AI, said the certification program isn’t just a rubber stamp. Doell, who is vice president of systems at St. Louis, Mo.-based Sachs Electric, said multiple project managers earned certifications, but “not everyone passed it on the first try.”

Sachs project managers (all engineers) went through three multiple-day courses and two online tests to get certified. For a contracting company to be certified to install CCTP, several of its people must be certified.

“There are a lot of a certifications out there,” Doell said. “Some mean you had a coke and pizza over lunch with a rep. Some mean nothing more than that. But this CCTP certification is at the more meaningful end of the certification spectrum.”

One of the other appeals of CCTP to Sachs—the 12th largest electrical contractor in the nation—was Anixter’s history of leading the charge toward standardization. “Just as Anixter’s Levels Program brought standardization to the LAN cabling industry, which is now the basis for the Category system we are all familiar with, CCTP will do for digital surveillance,” Doell said. “CCTP helps bring structure to the video industry.”

And that industry is in need of some type of standardization, especially when security is at the top of the human consciousness.

“Immediately after 9/11 we had a lot of interest in beefing up security, but many didn’t have the budgets for it,” Sachs’ Doell said. “Then, they put that money into their next budgets. Now they are implementing those budgets. It took a one-year lag time.” Those additional dollars are being spread out on various types of security measures, but video surveillance may lead the brigade.

“There’s no question that closed-circuit television is the leading technology in securing America,” UL’s Papier said. “As there is an upswing in crime and a downswing in the amount of resources, CCTV could be viewed as a tool to deal with everyone’s problem.”

In addition to the trends toward adding surveillance equipment to keep people and businesses safe, there’s another motive to make the switch to CCTP. “People want to future-proof.” Belden’s Miller said. By operating on the existing IT infrastructure, CCTP does not limit users strictly to video surveillance. It can also be converted to a fully functional data network ready for PC integration.