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Grow Your Business Security

Alibi Review - Best Hybrid Surveillance System for Business

Alibi Review - Best Hybrid Surveillance System for Business
Credit: Vasin Lee/Shutterstock

After conducting considerable research and analysis of video surveillance systems, we recommend Alibi as the best hybrid video surveillance system. A hybrid system is the perfect solution for upgrading an existing system.

Ready to choose a video surveillance system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

As video surveillance technology has evolved, older, analog surveillance systems have become virtually obsolete. With newer, better technology available you might want to consider upgrading your old system. Do do you really want to start from scratch? If you're happy with your current cameras and only want to add a couple of IP cameras to enhance your system, there's a more cost-effective way to do it. It's called a hybrid video recorder, and Business News Daily recommends the solution offered by Alibi, a brand name of Observint Technologies.

Editor's Note: Trying to find the video surveillance system that's right for you? Fill in the questionnaire below, and you will be contacted by our partner vendors to help find the right system for your business.

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Some hybrid video recorders can be quite expensive, but Alibi offers a reasonably priced product that can integrate your existing analog closed-circuit television cameras with the high-tech IP cameras that are now dominating the market. For $150, Alibi offers a nine-channel hybrid video recorder that includes eight BNC connections for any analog or HD-TVI cameras and one IP channel. Need more connections than that? You can purchase an 18-channel hybrid video recorder by Alibi, which features 16 BNC connections for any analog or HD-TVI cameras and two IP channels for Alibi IP cameras, for $500. Although the number of IP channels are limited, you'll save a great deal on cameras by migrating your analog cameras to the new system.

Alibi's hybrid video recorders support hard drives of up to 6 terabytes in size and record video in up to 1080p resolution. The video recorder comes with access to Alibi's Central Management Software, which allows you to manage the entire system. It can record 720p HD video in real time, or 1080p HD video at 12 frames per second. The IP functionality that this kind of system adds to a previously analog-only system includes the ability to search and log events, receive email and mobile alert notifications, and detect motion within an IP cameras field of view.

While you can use any company's analog and HD-TVI cameras with the Alibi hybrid video recorder, the IP channels require Alibi-made cameras. Luckily, Alibi has a variety of models available, ranging from about $150 to $700 per camera. Including the cost of the nine-channel recorder, you can add an IP camera to your system for as little as $300 total. To bring two IP cameras into your system, you can spend as little as $800 on the 18-channel video recorder and two IP cameras. This makes a hybrid video recorder a good way to add some functionality to your system without a sky-high expense.

Alibi's IP camera offerings include dome cameras, bullet cameras and pan-tilt-zoom cameras. One of Alibi's dome cameras, priced at $166.58, films in 4-megapixel resolution at 20 frames per second, is able to shoot up to 65 feet in night vision, and compresses video in H.264, which maintains a high-quality image. Of course, you also get the added benefits of IP functionality with a camera like this, which means you can set it to detect motion after-hours or send you mobile notifications when something triggers the alerts, and can be powered by a PoE connection.

Exactly which IP cameras you choose depends on your budget and your needs, but it is possible to upgrade your system for just a few hundred dollars, while adding significant functionality to your video surveillance network, rather than spending thousands on a new system.

Alibi boasts a mobile application that is easy to use and extremely helpful. When you purchase its hybrid video recorders and cameras, you get free access to the application, which is called "Alibi Witness." Witness, as the name suggests, allows you to monitor your system on the go.

What sets Alibi Witness apart from other apps is that it offers nearly the same level of functionality as the computer-based software used to manage your system on-site. Through your smartphone or tablet, you can access multiple systems, view the feeds from cameras at different locations, watch live or archived videos, control your PTZ cameras, and download footage to your mobile device.

There are some significant drawbacks to consider before committing to the hybrid video recorder route. If you eventually plan to upgrade to a fully IP system, then purchasing a hybrid system is an unnecessary intermediate step. A network video recorder system, complete with IP cameras, will run you several hundred dollars more, but it's worth it if you want more than just two IP cameras on your system. You really need to be sure of your future intentions for your system before making a decision. A hybrid video recorder like the one offered by Alibi is likely only useful for a business that is content with its analog system but is looking to improve the quality of cameras it is using. Anyone looking to overhaul their system should just do it all in one fell swoop; otherwise, the money spent on a hybrid recorder is wasted.

Of course, another major limitation is that Alibi's hybrid recorder only offers up to two IP channels. While two IP cameras offer much more functionality than an entirely analog system, you're stuck without a scalable option when choosing the hybrid video recorder. That's fine for the business that doesn't really need many bells and whistles on its security system, but if you plan on expanding the size, scale and capabilities of your video surveillance apparatus, this solution might not be for you.

Editor's Note: Trying to find the video surveillance system that's right for you? Fill in the questionnaire below, and you will be contacted by our partner vendors to help find the right system for your business.

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We chose Alibi from a pool of the dozens of video surveillance systems we considered. To read our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of video surveillance systems, visit Business News Daily's best picks for video surveillance systems.

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.