Decentralized at the Core
Innovations in storage, camera technology bring high-res solutions to a broader market
- By Steve Gorski
- Apr 01, 2011
IP-based surveillance signals growth and
opportunity for the integrator who
knows how to determine the best deployment
and camera configuration
for specific infrastructures. At the same time, end customers
ranging from municipalities, schools and large
corporations to small retailers are taking advantage
of price reductions and the enhanced capabilities of
networked-based cameras to build large video surveillance
networks. According to the report Research
and Markets: Global Video Surveillance Market, Applications
and Management Services Forecasts (2010-
2015), the video surveillance market is expected to
grow from $11.5 billion in 2008 to $37.7 billion in
2015 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of
20.4 percent. Video surveillance cameras accounted
for almost 47 percent of the total video surveillance
market in 2008 and are expected to grow at a CAGR
of 21.1 percent from 2010 to 2015.
The High-Resolution Approach
In today’s market, discussion focuses on the benefits
and feature sets of high-resolution cameras, but talk
inevitably turns to costs. There is an assumption that
megapixel cameras are costly to acquire and deploy.
Mostly, users conclude that the hardware is expensive
but that the ongoing storage costs are often the most
expensive piece of the puzzle. With advances in technology,
this assumption is no longer a reality.
Centralized storage -- at a computer, server, DVR
or NVR -- can be a bottleneck due to the way surveillance
systems are traditionally deployed. With numerous
high-resolution cameras, the system is similar to a
highway traffic jam: the more cameras, the greater the
bottleneck. With high-resolution cameras, the data
is often stored not in the recorded format but rather
is compressed and manipulated so it doesn’t tax the
network. The result is overly compressed video, which
may not yield the high-resolution images captured
from the megapixel camera.
Storage affects so many different parts of the overall
solution. Users are faced with adding equipment
to their own server and data rooms, outsourcing the
service or even moving to cloud-based storage. While
selectively storing images based on risk and using various
algorithms and compression can help, the type of
camera used and the kind of technologies it enables
can make a big difference. Video recorded at a high
frame rate takes up more network space and available
server capacity. Even with advanced compression
techniques, multiple cameras can quickly tax storage
and necessitate additional servers at the data center.
A decentralized approach to video surveillance is
far more efficient than traditional methods because
it enables more processing power and larger memory
cards to be placed in the camera. For the end user and
the integrator, the decentralized approach opens up a
world of possibilities and puts the true value of the
device at their fingertips.
A decentralized approach to video surveillance can
solve the storage bottleneck in different applications.
With this method, video is saved locally on SD cards,
CF cards or USB memory. With this method, the
camera is self-managing and includes video management
software. It uses little computing power and
does not require additional licensing fees.
This approach brings enhanced capabilities and
cost savings to both end users and integrators. For
the end user, it relieves network traffic and storage
requirements without compromising video quality.
A decentralized solution also relieves the pressure of
constantly storing images on and accessing the network
or even a DVR or NVR. It fosters the use of
high-resolution cameras in more applications because
it allows cameras to perform multiple functions, including
the viewing, recording and storing of images.
Cameras that leverage a decentralized approach also
are more cost-effective and easier to scale than traditional
systems, giving the systems integrator a possible
competitive advantage in the marketplace.
In these instances, the camera takes on a life of
its own and becomes self-managing, independent and
highly flexible. Furthermore, high-resolution cameras
can be integrated with IT storage devices for longer
storage capacity and are Windows-, Linux- and Maccompatible,
which provides additional flexibility for
the user. As more cameras are added, only more storage
is needed, because no recording software licenses
are required. Overall, a decentralized approach can
save the end user thousands of dollars in a single installation.
Hemispheric Technology Adds an Edge
Integrators can deliver even more value when they
add hemispheric technology to a network of highresolution
cameras that incorporates a decentralized
approach. Hemispheric technology provides more
view and range, and the ability to cover the same area
as multiple traditional CCTV cameras. It also allows
users to pan and zoom smoothly within the recorded
images on the camera. Analysis can be done quickly,
enabling users to inspect every section of the scene,
panning and zooming into each detail. It avoids blind
spots and puts the entire scene in view -- with a single
unit in most cases.
Hemispheric technology enables users to capture
a complete panorama, from wall to wall and ceiling
to floor, but is not a panoramic (wide angle) lens.
Wide-angle lenses often distort images, and images
are stitched together to become one. This does not
happen with hemispheric technology, which provides
a single view without distortion. These cameras do
not require any lens or positioning motors as PTZ
devices do. Without any moving parts, maintenance
is minimal. Because no PC hard disk is required for
recording, there is less wear and tear, and therefore
less maintenance necessary.
This virtual PTZ allows users to enlarge or move
image sections within the hemisphere, just like a PTZ
camera yet without moving parts. One or more image
sections can be corrected for perspective in the hemispheric
view, allowing users to monitor and record
several different areas of a room at the same time,
something a mechanical PTZ camera is not capable
Furthermore, hemispheric cameras are discreet,
because they manage their task with only one lens. In
addition, they are silent when panning and focusing
on a specific image area. The wide-angle lens technology
also results in the need for fewer cameras overall.
The perspective of the hemispheric image can be
transformed into an ultra-wide-angle panoramic view
spanning 180 degrees if the camera is mounted on a
wall, providing a wall-to-wall view of the room without
any blind spots. When the device is mounted on
the ceiling, the 360-degree all-around view captures
an entire room, and the panorama function and quad
view shows images from four different angles simultaneously.
Paired together, hemispheric cameras built on a
decentralized approach provide these advantages to
the user: Users need fewer cameras due to the more
accurate detail of wide-angle images with megapixel
technology, and storage costs and network bandwidth
consumption are reduced. Overall, a decentralized
approach coupled with hemispheric technology
and megapixel definition enables both integrators
and end users to be in complete control over their
protected premises and maximize cost savings over
the long term.
This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of Security Today.