Setting New Benchmarks

Wide area surveillance delivers superior detail

High-definition, megapixel cameras can cover larger areas with fewer cameras while delivering superior detail and improving overall security operations. This translates into lower infrastructure costs and improved return on investment (ROI), enabling users to deploy less-expensive video systems with megapixel cameras while achieving better performance and functionality. However, these efficiencies become even more compelling when deploying panoramic-view, megapixel camera systems.

Securing large areas with adequate camera coverage can be challenging, and the use of PTZ cameras often does not suffice in these applications. PTZ cameras can only be pointed in one direction at a time and can miss important or securitythreatening events in another part of the coverage area.

Panoramic-view cameras, though, don’t miss anything. A single 180° or 360° panoramic-view camera can cover a large area that would require many conventional cameras or multiple PTZ cameras.

The following real-world examples demonstrate how panoramic-view cameras can simplify and lower the cost of a video surveillance system:

  • At a gasoline station in South Africa, three Arecont Vision 180° panoramicview cameras provide detailed images of the fueling islands while an Arecont Vision 360° panoramic-view camera keeps watch inside the store. The cameras are positioned strategically for wide-area coverage with the ability to digitally zoom in for a close-up of specific parts of a larger image—a person’s face or a license plate number—without losing detail.
  • At a supermarket distribution center in Colorado, a panoramic camera is installed outdoors, on the side of the building, to watch the guard shack, trucking lanes, parking area and shipping/receiving. The 20-megapixel, day/night panoramic camera provides a complete view of the property, replacing a PTZ camera that provided only a limited angle for live and recorded views. In contrast, the 180° panoramic camera captures the entire scene in high resolution with a much larger field-of-view. A heater and blower enable the camera to operate in extreme temperatures.
  • At a police department in New York State, a few 8-megapixel 180° panoramic cameras are installed at the front and back entrance for exterior video coverage. The wide panoramic field-of-view eliminates the cost of additional cameras and PTZ units. At night, the Arecont Vision cameras automatically switch from color to black and white.
  • At a waste center in Pennsylvania, an Arecont Vision 180° panoramic camera provides a comprehensive view to enable police to watch for illegal dumping. The system has made it possible for the police to identify and issue citations to people who discard unauthorized items. The system can clearly see what people are disposing and identify their faces and vehicle license plates.

These examples demonstrate how panoramic cameras enable the user to view and record an entire field-of-view while digitally zooming multiple regions of interest simultaneously, something a PTZ cannot do.

180° and 360° Camera Capabilities

Panoramic view cameras are currently available with 180° and 360° imaging capabilities and 8- or 20-megapixel resolutions with enhanced day/night functionality —which will continue to increase. This allows viewing of larger areas with the ability to capture precise details. For example, a panoramic camera with 20-megapixel resolution can replace many analog or standard definition IP cameras to provide comprehensive and continuous coverage of a large area. This includes PTZ cameras, which can be pointed in the wrong direction when events of interest occur.

Using one camera instead of many establishes a new benchmark for cost savings by requiring fewer software licenses, less network infrastructure and the elimination of additional poles, cabling and power supplies required for installation.

Firmly in the Mainstream

Once thought of for use exclusively in specialty applications, panoramic, megapixel cameras offer overall performance benefits and cost efficiencies that make them appropriate for a wide range of mainstream, video surveillance applications.

Complete and continuous coverage of an area is especially important to ensure that there is forensic-quality video of an event for investigation and/or prosecution. Resolution is a key aspect of video coverage regardless of location, size and area of coverage, or interior/exterior lighting. High-resolution, megapixel cameras can deliver usable video of an event, including minute details, to help improve overall safety and security.

This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Security Today.

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