5 Video Surveillance Trends to Watch
Here are examples of IP cameras and surveillance technology from the recent IFSEC 2015, Europe’s leading fire and security expo
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Some of the emerging trends in video surveillance feature the same IP camera technologies popularized in consumer electronics and broadcast video to-day. These technologies, including HDR (high dynamic range) imaging and H.265 video compression schemes, were among the highlights at IFSEC 2015, Europe’s biggest fire and security expo, held in London in June.
HDR: While HDR currently is all the rage in the consumer and broadcast video markets – heck, even the iPhone has it – the technology is only just catching on in CCTV, in part because of its very high bandwidth requirements. HDR enables the capture of fine details in both the shadows and highlights of any given scene.
In a side-by-side comparison from Taiwanese firm Dynacolor at IFSEC, the HDR image of a bright light against a colorful cat sculpture and a patterned back-drop was far superior to the non-HDR image. The Dynacolor HDR products in the company’s Z-Series cameras include the 2M HDR and 4M HDR.
Beyond 4K: When it comes to high resolution, surveillance is still catching up to consumer entertainment. Surveillance manufacturers are still touting boring old 4K Ultra HD, while the broadcast TV hype is now moving to 8K.
There was at least one 7K camera at IFSEC from Avigilon, which claims to have showcased “the security industry’s first single-sensor 7K (30-megapixel) security camera” in April at the ISC West 2015 in Las Vegas. Avigilon also is now shipping its 6K (24MP) HD Pro camera.
Robotics: Another trend showcased throughout the show floor at London’s Excel was robotic cameras for every application from industrial disasters to consumer-oriented time-lapse recording.
At the same time, there was a wealth of multilens 360Â°/720Â° cameras to capture every angle at all times. So why the need for robotic cameras, which inevitably miss some of the action no matter how fast the motor and how effective the sensors?
“There’s no distortion,” says Marcus Yang, CEO of Amaryllo, which makes a variety of consumer-oriented IP cameras. The Amaryllo cameras feature “auto-tracking” via heat sensors that follow human activity. At IFSEC, the company introduced the iSensor HD Patio – a 180Â° robotic camera and intruder alarm for the outdoors.
High Frame Rates: Two years ago, Lilin launched what appeared to be the industry’s first 120fps surveillance camera. Apparently others have not followed.
Lilin’s Jason Hill says he hasn’t seen such frame rates from competitors. Lilin developed the solution for a couple of specialty applications including license-plate capture, but since then the demand has stretched to verticals such as banking.
At IFSEC, Lilin demonstrated how its 120fps camera could capture the details – down to the serial number – of bills flipping through a money counter. Hill notes that the most sophisticated money counters should be able to detect a stray denomination, but in the event that the money counters miss, Lilin’s time-stamped recordings can determine when a wrong bill went through, helping the bank to find any glitches in its system.
Analytics + Compression: Video manufacturers are layering their own compression algorithms on top of industry standards like H.265. The goal is to optimize storage and bandwidth by recording higher-resolution video only where certain activities are detected.
If nothing is happening except trees swaying or paint drying, data might be captured in low resolution. But if humans or cars are detected, those frames might be recorded in higher resolution.
While many makers of CCTV manufacturers offer their own flavors of such optimization technology, they all sound pretty much like this description of Vivotek’s Smart Stream: “Smart Stream is a technology developed to eliminate the need to choose between high quality video and efficient network usage, achieving this objective by providing higher video quality only in those areas in the camera’s field of view that are of interest to the user. . . . Background areas of no interest for surveillance are presented at a lower baseline video quality, thus saving on network bandwidth, as well as on storage capacity if the video is archived.”
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