The Best Bet

The Best Bet

The gaming industry looks at HD over coax

The casino and hospitality industry includes hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues as well as gaming elements to entertain visitors and guests. The casino industry generates high revenues: in 2016, global land-based casinos had a gross win of around $450 billion from gamblers. The industry also possesses substantial amounts of cash and other high-ticket items and goods, in addition to large crowds and high-profile guests that must be safe and secure at all times.

The casino and gaming industry is governed by strict rules and regulations to preserve the integrity of gaming activities. For example, according to the Nevada Gaming Commission Regulation, remote viewing must be delivered in real time and at a minimum of 30 frames per second. The laws, which are established by state agencies, dictate stringent specifications for video surveillance of gambling businesses and the dependable and solid performance of a casino’s surveillance function.

Defending against security threats using video surveillance in casinos and gaming facilities can be expensive and complicated. Adopting the latest security video solutions such as IP video cameras usually comes at a high price. In addition to the cost of new video surveillance products, it often requires a new investment in casino infrastructure — such as running new cabling and purchasing back-end equipment — which can quickly erode a casino or gaming facility’s Return on Investment and increase Total Cost of Ownership.

Many casino surveillance systems that are in use today were built on coax infrastructure that remains in good condition, but were designed for lower resolution and functionality than current IP video camera systems.

When casino security is looking to upgrade its surveillance system, one option is to upgrade to an IP platform based on Ethernet cabling, but ripping and replacing the entire system infrastructure can be a disruptive and costly project. Gaming regulations require that all casino gaming activities be monitored at all times, so completely shutting down operations to overhaul a surveillance system is not a viable option.

One pragmatic solution for a casino security director is to leverage its legacy infrastructure by replacing older analog cameras with new devices that deliver the higher levels of resolution that a casino requires.

New HD Over Coax cameras offer higher resolutions than what was previously available for the original crop of analog cameras. High definition over coax technologies available are: Analog High Definition (AHD), Composite Video Interface (HDCVI), Serial Digital Interface (HD-SDI), and Transport Video Interface (HD-TVI). Most HD over Coax cameras offer video at 30 frames per second, the industry standard for casinos, and seamlessly integrates traditional analog surveillance systems with the latest High Definition cameras over a casino’s existing coax network by simultaneously transmitting video, power, audio and data signals over a single coaxial cable. These cameras are changing the landscape of video surveillance, allowing casino security to upgrade to higher resolution at a lower cost.

It is a true plug-and-play approach that enables HD video surveillance without the hassle and expense of ripping and replacing legacy coax cabling, without any sacrifice in performance, and without costly downtime.

In addition to leveraging existing investments in legacy system infrastructure, HD analog cameras allow for long-distance HD video transmission up to 1,200 meters without repeaters for strong cost and performance benefits. This is important in a casino environment, with large gaming spaces, parking lots, restaurants, and other entertainment areas.

Another benefit of HD analog cameras is the ability to deliver the resolution in real-time to capture the smallest details in a casino. Their higher number of pixels provides increased digital zoom performance without pixilation versus traditional HD cameras. This allows security operators to see further into the distance with greater definition. The added resolution is especially important for casinos that require higher levels of detail, such as playing card faces and chip and currency denominations, as well as jewelry, tattoos and other unique identifying factors that conventional security cameras typically can’t deliver.

The use of high-quality HD over Coax cameras coupled with a compatible DVR with advanced analytics can help detect irregular objects left behind that could pose a security risk. Facial recognition technology also can be used to identify high rollers or known cheaters, and heat mapping technology can identify popular areas and tables at different times of the day, allowing casinos to increase guard presence when needed.

Even more, while customer crime is a major concern for casino management, employee crime is equally concerning. This includes using POS devices for fraudulent recordings and theft from receiving docks and cash-handling positions. The use of HD over Coax cameras, with higher-resolution capabilities, can help pick up any irregular behavior to help mitigate the risk of employee and vendor theft.

Additionally, with higher definition HD over Coax cameras, multiple standard definition cameras can be replaced for a lower total cost of ownership. Thus, casinos require fewer cameras, saving time and money on installation, less overall maintenance, more accurate monitoring, and exceptional detail for later analysis. Another result of the higher-resolution surveillance is that it can help a casino meet the gaming industry’s rules and regulations for monitoring and identification in a casino environment.

Finally, since HD over Coax cameras are not connected to an IP network, they do not present the cybersecurity risks that are typically associated with IP cameras. Conventional physical connections between the cameras, DVRs, and other system components prevent possible hacking or other cyber-threats for analog systems. With the ever-increasing amount of sensitive and personal information stored on networked drives at businesses of all types, the value of removing one more potential network entry point cannot be understated. Casino security directors can focus on surveillance mitigating risk and crimes without needing to spend time and money on assessing and addressing cybersecurity risks or additional network protection measures, such as those that are associated with IP cameras.

Casinos and gaming facilities that are hindered by the costs or other challenges of new cabling and other equipment purchases associated with upgrading to IP networked cameras can reap the benefits of higher resolution over coax. High-definition over coax maximizes existing infrastructure, offers crisp, clear images in real-time, and provides greater cyber safety. In many casinos and gaming facilities, HD over Coax technology offers a simpler and more cost-effective way to achieve gaming regulation compliance, higher imaging performance, and reduced security risks.

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Security Today.

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