The demand for security video camera systems is looking up, due in part to their usefulness in investigating last year's terrorist attacks in London's subways. And this demand is expected to continue, especially in places like New York City, where the subway system has less than 20% of the coverage it needs, according to Frank Murawski, president of FTM Consulting. In fact, a recent report released by FTM revealed that the cabling alone for these video security systems is projected to grow from $548.3 million in 2005 to $1.4 billion by 2010.

While coax cable continues to be the most affordable cabling option for security video systems with the highest quality video imaging, Murawski says that as video camera technology evolves from analog to digital, a gradual shift will take place from coax to UTP and fiber cabling. That's because, with a digital video data stream, the video security system becomes another sub-network on the Ethernet network, which can allow for functions such as a computer database matching employee names with the faces that pass by the camera.

Murawski says that for electrical contractors already familiar with wiring local area networks, there is definitely an opportunity to benefit from this market shift. He advises that contractors interested in this market do plenty of research on the cameras and camera manufacturers and become knowledgeable about new technical offerings such as Power over Ethernet (PoE) solutions. “If they do data networking, they can do this,” Murawski says.

Here are some of the uses and projections for each of the three major cabling types used for security video camera systems:

Coax. Fits well for smaller firms that have maybe 10 to 20 cameras in their system. FTM projects that coax cabling sales will remain relatively flat over the next five years, with only a 0.7% decline.

UTP. Copper or UTP cabling is well suited for larger firms with IT departments and 20 to 500 cameras, according to Murawski. This cabling is expected to have the highest growth rate over the next five years — 34.1%.

Fiber. While fiber is expected to grow at a rate of 20.1%, it will still far surpass the UTP cabling market, reaching $1.2 billion by 2010. This is because fiber cabling is primarily used for very large systems that incorporate thousands of cameras, like subways or railroads.