4K Resolution Plays Big Role in Super Bowl 50 Security Defense

Panasonic’s 4K cameras have been deployed at Levi’s Stadium to help safeguard Super Bowl 50. In this Q&A with Panasonic’s Charlie Hare, learn more about the technology and how to monetize it.

Much of the technology that’s being deployed to safeguard Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., home to Super Bowl 50, is being managed from a joint operations center at an undisclosed location in nearby Mountain View.

Nearly two dozen federal, state and local public safety agencies are working with private security experts at the center, gathering and sharing intelligence in real time. Helping to surveil the area around the stadium are some 600 4K cameras by Panasonic. In the following interview with Charlie Hare, the national category manager for Panasonic’s Security and Mobile Video Solutions, we discuss how installing security contractors can communicate benefits of the 4K standard to end customers, among other related topics. 

How does 4K technology differ from HD resolution?
The rise of 4K grew from increasing consumer demand for crisp, higher quality images. First unveiled in the consumer market in 2012, the Consumer Electronics Industry [CEA] named Ultra HD or UHD as the de facto industry term. However, similar to how it became common to refer to flat-screen resolutions as 720 or 1080, the term 4K quickly caught on in reference to the technology.

The 4K standard is defined and approved by the International Telecommunication Union [ITU] and offers a video resolution of 3840 X 2160 at 30 frames per second [fps]. Like HDTV, UHDTV adheres to specific entertainment industry standards via the Society of Motion Picture & Technology Engineers [SMPTE], as well as ITU-R [ITU Radiocommunication Sector] to ensure and deliver consistent image quality.

With its spectacular picture quality, 4K offers four times the pixel density of standard HD, as well as twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of 1080p HDTV. It also features resolution of at least 3840 X 2160, or 8.3 megapixels; frame rate up to 120 fps; aspect ratio of 16:9; and color fidelity coupled with a much larger color palette than HDTV.

What can dealers and integrators explain to their end customers about how the technology enhances total cost of ownership [TCO]?
While delivering the clearest images available today, 4K cameras inherently provide some of the widest coverage from a single camera, dramatically reducing overall system cost by reducing the total number of necessary surveillance units for the installation. For the integrator, that translates to fewer cameras to install, service and maintain, lowering labor costs.

Reducing the total number of cameras required for selected applications also effectively lowers the lifetime cost of the system solution. Fewer cameras covering the same or more area means less capital outlay for surveillance and more efficient security surveillance by control center personnel.

What are some examples of how 4K reduces the TCO in a specification?
In a large retail parking lot deployment, 4K enables a customer to effectively reduce the number of units, lowering installation, maintenance and server costs by as much as 50%. For specifications such as a large stadium or arena, fewer deployed cameras also enhance operational efficiency. For example, users can achieve a nine times efficiency in viewing, recording and storage using a four-channel video management system versus 36 channels and the need to toggle among the channels to find the right video.

What do dealers and integrators need to know about 4K to specify it properly?
The ability to realize the true benefits of 4K begins with the image. If the image is inferior, due to substandard lenses and optics, then every other part of the solution, from capture to storage, has less value. Some 4K cameras on the market only result in about half the resolution suggested because of inherent losses due to less capable optics, weak lens performance and other inefficient parts of the camera system. The next step for the evolution of the technology is the adaptation of the entire security infrastructure to the 4K standard – hardware, video management systems, displays and bandwidth utilization – and it’s headed solidly in that direction.

What about storage? Don’t those needs increase as well with the technology?
Of course, for local-based storage, the increased resolution means more bandwidth and greater storage capacities on servers. However, 4K cameras are generally not specified en masse, but rather deployed strategically in targeted areas and added to existing systems for specific applications. Fewer cameras deployed means the bandwidth impact can be negligible. In addition, edge recording via SD cards, as well as new, increasingly efficient bandwidth compression methods can also offset or moderate storage needs.

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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