Multi-sensor cameras prove the right medicine for healthcare surveillance
- By Jennifer Hackenburg
- Oct 01, 2017
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.
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.
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
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.