I just came across an excellent article done by Security Sales & Integration magazine that I’ve briefly summarized for you. These are some of the video surveillance developments and products I believe will impact campus buying decisions in the upcoming year.
1. Megapixel Cameras: Although these have been around for a few years, they keep getting better. High definition (HD) video (defined as a minimum resolution of 720 to 1,080 pixels) now allows for better identification of subjects, requires fewer cameras to cover a given area and provides for specialized applications, such as license plate recognition. CMOS imager technology has experienced many advances recently, which has improved image quality.
Campuses considering these solutions should know that they require a careful balance of design elements, including network configuration, bandwidth compression and frame rates. In other words, if you want to install megapixel cameras on your campus, hire a top-notch integrator.
2. HDcctv: This option is built on technology pioneered for broadcast television. It transmits via TCP/IP uncompressed video that has not been encapsulated. It also promises many of the benefits touted by megapixel IP cameras while permitting the use of conventional analog equipment, which is prevalent on so many of today’s campuses.
Currently, HDcctv signals can only be transmitted 100 meters, which is a significant disadvantage. Using copper cables or fiber optics might address this issue. Also, right now there is limited product selection on the market, although this is certain to change.
3. Video Management Systems or Software (VMS): Because video is often integrated with other systems, such as access control and intrusion, campuses need a unified user interface. This has led to the development of VMS, which takes advantage of the open or nonproprietary platforms that facilitate interoperability.
VMS also offers operational efficiencies beyond tradition security. For example, video can help with process control, personnel management, inventory tracking, quality control and customer service in the healthcare and college campus environments.
4. “Edge” Devices: Intelligent surveillance cameras, in particular, now have built-in features like recording, storage and analytics. This means that less video (data) needs to be streamed to a central location for viewing, which reduces the chance of bandwidth constraints and an overburdened network. Also, in cases where the network has gone down, these edge devices can record locally.
Campuses should note, however, that integrators can find it difficult to integrate the devices so that all of their features can be fully realized. Thus, if you want to deploy this technology, hire a good integrator.
5. Data Storage: Over the years, the capacity of hard drives has expanded greatly while their prices have fallen dramatically. One key development has been the introduction of solutions specifically designed for video surveillance.
6. Analytics: As the number of cameras and surveillance systems continues to grow, campuses need to find ways to organize and analyze all of the data from these sources. Fortunately, programmers have created algorithms to make sense of all of this video. Now, analytics solutions can match faces, determine when a line has been crossed or classify an object. This functionality allows campus protection professionals to quickly assess a scene and determine if there is a threat.
Analytics can also reduce the amount of storage needed to keep relevant video since all of the unimportant information is filtered out. Also, campus public safety officials can direct only relevant video to individuals via their mobile devices or computers.
7. Video Alarm Verification: Cameras can also be used to verify intrusion alarms, which helps to minimize false dispatches. This solution combines a compact camera with a PIR motion sensor so when activity is detected, surveillance footage is captured. The clip is then sent to a campus police station or contract central station, which allows security personnel to determine the validity of the alarm.