IP Video Management – Input / Output Ports

January 10, 2011 by Nathan Miloszewski

To provide more insight into the event management features of an IP video management system a post was dedicated to video motion detection and this one will detail an integrated feature that completes the circuit of responding to triggered events.

Input and output ports (I/O ports) that are built into IP cameras and video servers are used to connect to other devices in an IP surveillance system

These devices can be programmed to the users specifications to provide a response when, for example, motion is detected or the camera has been tampered with.

In the picture to the right you’ll notice that the Sony SNC-P1 Fixed IP Camera, for example, has a bank of (4) I/O ports.

Input / Output Port Features

Compared to analog cameras integrated input/output ports (I/O ports) are unique to IP cameras and video servers.  This provides the option of external devices to be connected to these ports and managed over your network.

The main purpose of these ports is to trigger external devices automatically or remotely by a user or, the IP camera software.

Just about any device that you can think of can be connected.  In other words, any device capable of toggling between an open and closed circuit can be connected to the I/O ports of an IP camera or video server.

Input Ports

Input ports are for devices that will detect unusual activity and then alert the video management system to begin recording video and/or send an alert (email, text, pop-up window).

Some examples are:

Door Contact

Magnetic switch that detects windows/doors opening and video recording and event notification is activated.

Infrared Detector

Motion detector based on heat emission.

Glass Break Detector

Measures air pressure.  A sudden drop in pressure breaks the circuit and an event is triggered.

Output Ports

Ouput ports trigger external devices.  These are the devices that are activated in response to an event that has occured.

Some examples are:

Door Relay

Solenoid that controls opening/closing of door locks that can be automatically or remote controlled.


A siren can be sounded when events are detected.

Alarm/ Intrusion System

Security system that continuously monitors a normally closed or open alarm circuit.

Event Log

Lastly, IP camera software is able to keep an event log of I/O port activity or when motion is detected.  A list based on date, time, source, and type of event will be recorded and search enabled.

Integrated Systems

In the next installment of this video management series I’ll talk about Integrated Systems.  IP video management can be integrated into other IP based systems such as:

  • Point of Sale (POS)
  • Access Control
  • Building Management (e.g. HVAC)
  • Industrial Control Systems


  • rich

    do you know of anyone who sells things for input/output ports for cameras like sirens, bells, chimes, lights, etc?

  • Video Verification is about to take a massive leap forward in 2012 and the I/O feature on cameras is very important.

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