The Digital Revolution

The future of security surveillance lies in digital technology advances

We now live in a digital world. Digital technology, just like the air we breathe, has penetrated our social life in every respect, including surveillance systems in the security industry.

Born in the 1980s, surveillance systems have experienced fast development, from simple, analog and discrete to complicated, digital and integrated. Thanks to greatly improved audio/visual compression technology, hard disk capacity and CPU performance, it is now possible to build fully digital surveillance systems. In fact, today there are many integrated digital surveillance systems from different manufacturers, running in different projects.

These systems have some common features, because they all are digital systems. Signals, as well as commands and statuses, are processed and transmitted in digital format. Next, they are all networked systems. Different devices from different subsystems are all connected through a LAN or WAN. The most commonly used protocols are TCP/IP.

All are integrated, large-scale systems with many different subsystems, including video surveillance, access control and alarm systems.

Surveillance systems grow according to customer requirements. From the customer’s point of view, at a minimum, surveillance systems need the following attributes.

Higher video resolution.Today, the highest resolution used in surveillance products is D1; CIF resolution is the most widely used. Although that is acceptable, it is not ideal. Customers always prefer higher resolution, just as the resolution of digital still cameras grew from 1 megapixel to more than 10 megapixels. One megapixel will become part of the mainstream in surveillance systems in the near future. As a side effect, higher hard disk capacity and higher network bandwidth also are required.

Intelligent video function support. This is the most important function customers request. In today’s surveillance systems, video signals are digitized and compressed for recording, transmission and remote monitoring after decompression. Because people lose attention after staring at multiple screens for 20 or 30 minutes, the monitoring function of a surveillance system is imperfect for customers. What can be done to make it more ideal? The answer is intelligent video, meaning customers are notified when there is anything abnormal in the video images. The abnormal situation is caught by a smart camera, smart digital video server or smart DVR.

There are many different scenarios intelligent video can track, including abandoned objects, theft, intruder detection, perimeter protection, running, loitering, incorrect directions, statistical counting, slips and falls, yellow safety line crossing, red light infringements, illegal parking and hypervelocity.

In fact, some low-level intelligent video functions are found in today’s surveillance systems, such as motion detection or video tampering detection.

Video quality diagnostic function support. In large-scale surveillance systems, the number of cameras can be so large that it is impossible for a failed camera to provide quality video images. In this case, video quality diagnostic functions become important to customers. A defective camera can be found by a smart camera, smart digital video server or smart DVR and reported to the customer. Also, there already are some existing video quality diagnostic functions, such as signal detection.

Mobile surveillance support. Mobile surveillance is an exciting function for customers. Imagine one customer using a mobile phone or PDA as a surveillance system terminal to control all the devices in the system and gain access to all the necessary information.

Also, for mobile object surveillance, or in places where wired networks are not available, mobile surveillance is the only choice. Although using high bandwidth is not popular in wireless networks now, with increasing bandwidth of wireless networks, especially the coming 3G network, mobile surveillance will play an important role in the future.

As a digital surveillance product manufacturer, Hikvision has completed in-depth studies on how security systems will evolve and concluded that future surveillance systems will be digitized, networked and intelligent. Since 2002, generations of such products have been developed by hundreds of company engineers, including A/V compression cards, networked DVRs, digital video servers, IP cameras and the IP speed dome.

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