3 Questions to Ask When Considering P/T/Z Security Cameras

There are a few basic-yet-critical criteria that campus safety officials need to consider when comparing network pan/tilt/zoom cameras.

There are numerous suppliers of video surveillance cameras to visit at industry events, such as ISC West or the annual ASIS conference. While competition is generally a good thing, driving the pace of technology development up and prices down, having too many suppliers also poses problems related to commoditizing products. In this case, it helps to propagate the mindset that all video surveillance cameras are essentially the same. The fact is this perception couldn’t be further from the truth.

Case in point is the availability of network pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) cameras that are available in many form factors and at extreme price points. Yet network p/t/z cameras are more frequently being categorized as commodities. Aside from making purchase decisions based on brand preference and reputation, there are a few basic-yet-critical criteria to consider when comparing network p/t/z cameras (beyond the other typical considerations such as performance and feature specs). Here are three to consider adding to your checklist:

1. How is the PTZ mechanism engineered? It’s important to understand what drives the p/t/z cameras you’re evaluating. Are there motors with belts that can snap or stretch, and are there a lot of plastic components that can compromise durability? As a point of reference, camera robotics systems used in broadcast applications are predominantly engineered with direct-drive motors and die-cast parts. As a result, they are inherently accurate and reliable, with precise positioning capabilities. The same holds true for p/t/z surveillance cameras engineered with direct-drive mechanisms. In fact, there are high performance p/t/z surveillance cam-eras that deliver positioning tolerances of .03° to precisely maintain preset positions even after years of operation.

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