Full Turnaround

New technologies make cameras part of the action once again

DIGITAL video surveillance has become the dominant, growing segment within the larger, multi-disciplined security industry in the past several years. Intelligent video capture software used to create the technology platform for DVRs has grown tremendously. Since the advent of the DVR/NVR, its sidekick and necessary partner, the CCTV camera has taken a relative back seat when it comes to garnering headlines and highlights. But camera manufacturers are still creating a host of refinements to fine-tune the technology.

IP Changes
For years now, users have speculated new technology would take the world of digital CCTV and plunge it into an IP-based product platform. While several IP cameras and NVRs have appeared, the overall percentage of camera sales within the security industry has remained overwhelmingly analog. Few IP cameras have really caught fire and created any measurable dent in overall CCTV camera sales. Most systems integrators will say the reason IP camera sales haven’t taken off generally comes down to a combination of performance and price.

The price of a high-quality IP camera generally will start around $500 dollars, and it quickly moves up from there. Manufacturers are hoping to spark the market with improvements such as dual IP or analog configuration.

“We definitely saw the need for quality, IP-based camera products. What we didn’t want to do was come out with an overpriced, knee-jerk response, just to say we now offered an IP camera solution,” said Sayeed Zaman, director of product development at American Sentry Guard. “Our IP camera has all of the high-performance features customers have come to love about the analog Rx cameras—things like digital noise reduction, mirror imaging, motion detection, privacy masking, super backlight compensation, OSD control, and low-light, day/night capability. The only difference is that it will now be available in either analog or IP format. We are hopeful that dealers who have been used to working with the analog version of ViZionCAM-Rx will feel comfortable choosing the IP version for the various IP applications they see develop in the future.”

A Complete View
IP is not the only buzzword in the world of camera technology today. The ability of a camera to see a panoramic, 360-degree field of view also has created quite a buzz among camera users. Historically, many of the 360 degree cameras have yielded mix results due to a slightly distorted fish-eyed field of view. Cameras that do not have the typical “fish-eye” distortional look are even more unique. Camera manufacturers seem to have noticed the problem.

“The ability to rotate 360 degrees within a live, or recorded, camera shot without the normal fish-eyed distortion is a major point of distinction within our industry,” said Steven Wilder, national distribution manager of the cameras. “The end user’s ability to zoom in at any point within the camera’s 360 degree field of view gives it PTZ-like enhancing performance. It’s like combining the performance of a PTZ and IP camera all in one.”

These types of technology applications are growing more prevalent with camera manufacturers. The IPIX camera developer has its own version of this high-performance camera technology found in the CommandView™ camera. The IPIX dome camera is designed to be used alone or securely managed over LANs or WANs. The camera’s technology enables digital PTZ in live-view and recorded-view archives.

The 360 degree camera technology allows multiple users to simultaneously access and control live or recorded feeds via a standard Web connection. Technological breakthroughs in camera development have made the CCTV camera a product with just as much sizzle as that of its DVR counterpart. Today, users can plug a camera in and not only view it from anywhere in the world, but also see a full 360-degree panoramic view.

Ahead of the Curve
With camera technology rapidly advancing, the day of cookie-cutter cameras is probably gone forever. The day has finally arrived when security professionals, as well as end users, now have much to consider when looking for the appropriate camera. In today’s IT environment, application and needs assessment become just as critical for selecting the right camera as it has been in the past for selecting the right DVR or NVR.

Knowledge of what technology will work with a particular DVR or NVR platform also is important for today’s sophisticated security consultant. Many high-end IP cameras require specialized software patches be written into the SDKs of the corresponding product in order for the total solution to work properly. For many in the security industry, keeping up with the latest cutting-edge product development also has become a significant challenge, and new technology in the camera field is no exception.

About the Author

Jeff Brummett is the president and COO of American Sentry Guard.

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