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Multi-sensor cameras prove the right medicine for healthcare surveillance

According to a number of studies, hospital crime and violence have been growing at an alarming rate in recent years. The wide variety of security threats that healthcare facilities face include theft by employees or visitors, violence or threats from visitors or patients, and other crimes of opportunity.

As a result, administrators face significant challenges to ensure they have the right solutions in place to meet the growing video surveillance needs required to address these threats. Multi-sensor panoramic cameras provide a number of key benefits to help healthcare organizations address their unique challenges.

A Better Solution: Multi-sensor Panoramic Cameras

PTZ and fisheye cameras have traditionally been deployed for wide angle surveillance, but both of these camera types fall short of delivering on the need. Typical PTZ cameras have a narrow focus that is not wellsuited for wide area surveillance, requiring multiple cameras to be deployed for full coverage—an expensive proposition that does not guarantee that they will be pointed in the right direction at the right time.

While fisheye cameras provide a full 360-degree field of view, the combination of a round lens, rectangular image sensors and the need for de-warping technologies to allow the human eye to make sense of their circular images can result in anywhere from 25 to 50 percent pixel loss.

Once considered simply a specialty imaging solution based on their costs and bandwidth demands, multi-sensor panoramic cameras have evolved to the point where they have emerged as a more effective alternative to both PTZ and fisheye cameras for wide area surveillance. These cameras incorporate multiple image sensors in a single housing to provide 180- or 360-degree panoramic views to overcome the narrow focus of PTZs while applying advanced imaging algorithms to stitch multiple images together, providing a seamless panoramic image without the degradation and distortion common with fisheye cameras.

Given the quality, performance and cost-efficiency these cameras deliver, it should come as no surprise that new multi-sensor panoramic cameras are quickly becoming the choice for a range of mainstream solutions including healthcare.

Greater ROI

With its streamlined look and feel, a single multi-sensor panoramic camera can eliminate the need to install multiple single-sensor cameras on the corners of a building or on parking lot poles. In addition to their aesthetic appeal and the reduced cost of deploying one rather than multiple cameras, multi-sensor panoramic cameras typically offer even greater Return on Investment (ROI) by reducing the number of VMS licenses an organization requires.

Another specific location where multi-sensor panoramic cameras can provide value is at the corner of an intersecting hallway or corridor. Since the images captured by multiple camera sensors are stitched together, blind spots are minimized and critical details are retained so that the entire flow of events is captured at once. Investigators will have less video to comb through, saving time, minimizing risks and providing quicker remediation.

Additionally, multi-sensor panoramic cameras deployed and mounted above waiting rooms, cafeterias and other areas provide excellent situational awareness with extreme image detail. These versatile imaging solutions are even more valuable when installed in conjunction with emergency call boxes, ATMs, visitor registration desks and other mission critical systems to capture and record valuable data for both security and business intelligence purposes.

Access Control

Because hospitals and other healthcare facilities have several open access areas for patients and visitors, they struggle with access control. To supplement their access control processes, healthcare facilities can deploy multi-sensor panoramic cameras at emergency room entrances, visitor and employee entrance/egress points, and in sensitive areas such as nurseries and drug repositories. Images captured from these locations offer excellent opportunities to expand wide area surveillance to better monitor facilities. Multi-sensor panoramic cameras also help track and record individuals as they enter and exit the facility or a specific area, allowing security personnel to closely monitor these locations and help ensure that individuals are authorized to be in specific areas.

In the case of an incident, high-resolution, multi-image technology provides responding personnel with a wider field of view than standard IP cameras, providing critical situational intelligence in real time. The bottom line is that applications for multi-sensor panoramic cameras are no longer reserved for areas such as parking lots or stadiums, as they provide significant benefits for a large variety of mainstream applications.

Multi-sensor panoramic cameras have not only earned their place in today’s sophisticated surveillance systems, but they are quickly becoming the core system component that advanced surveillance systems are being built around. Surveillance professionals have certainly taken notice of the benefits these cameras provide, as reported by IHS research, which forecasts multi-sensor panoramic cameras will outsell PTZ cameras in 2017 for the first time in history. Greater coverage, higher image quality, lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increased ROI are just a few of the drivers that make multi-sensor panoramic cameras an ideal solution for maximizing safety and security in healthcare and many other mainstream applications.

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Security Today.

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