Smart codec is a collection of encoding techniques which aim to reduce bandwidth consumption without losing image quality by utilizing advanced compression algorithms. Smart codecs can effectively enhance video encoding efficiency according to the characteristics of different surveillance environments; furthermore, it can greatly reduce transmission bit rate, storage capacity to improve the overall system performance.
Many companies market the smart codec functions under various catchy names such as Smart Coding, H.264+, H.265+, Smart H.265+, Zipstream, Smart Stream II etc. All of these buzzwords mean that the security system is able to deploy certain algorithmic compression techniques that will save bandwidth and storage capacity.
These smart algorithms take a picture of a stable environment, use it as a background frame and focus only on the moving objects. When there is a disruption in the surveillance area, the smart codecs take a picture of the moving object and use it as a reference frame. If the object keeps moving , the system only adds moving objects data. This way the bandwidth and the bitrate will be optimized.
For example Dahua and Hikvision’s Smart H.265+ codec can save up to 80% on network bandwidth and subsequent storage costs by reducing transmission, bit rates, and storage capacity. The multi-pronged approach works by making reductions of useless or unimportant data wherever possible.
As a result, high quality video is maintained without straining the network. Below is a comparison diagram to give a general idea of the Smart Codec’s performance (in this case Hikvision’s H265+). As you can see, the H.265+ compression will generate up to 80% less data.
By default smart codecs are disabled in most of the IP security cameras. Before enabling, you have to make sure that the connected services such a NVR, a computer-based camera management software or cloud services support this feature. If not, the system may run in numerous performance-related issue. Always make sure that all your security devices are compatible with each other.