The higher resolution provided by megapixel cameras also allows system designers to use fewer cameras to cover larger areas without losing detail. Using fewer cameras translates to reduced infrastructure and cabling costs. In addition to reducing the initial installation costs of a system, these benefits translate directly into greater return-on-investment (ROI) and lower total cost of ownership.
Resolution performance versatility is just one of the advantages of IP megapixel video. Another contributing factor to the rapid rise of IP megapixel imaging is the ease of network system connectivity. In the old days, every single camera had to have a "home run" coaxial cable running to the recorder, which increases cabling costs exponentially. However, networking infrastructure enables connection of multiple cameras with fewer cables, and the use of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) even allows power to be supplied to cameras on the same CAT-5 cables as video and control signals, rather than needing localized power or a distributed power supply. It's a very efficient and simple installation solution.
Additionally, the superior resolution provided by megapixel cameras enables highly detailed and accurate digital PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) of live and recorded images. As a result, megapixel cameras virtually eliminate the need for mechanical PTZ cameras, which are often costly and feature mechanical parts prone to failure.
Many integrators (and users) have a false perception that IP megapixel systems are too complicated to deploy. It's true these systems are not plug-and-play in the traditional sense, but partnerships between camera suppliers and DVR/NVR and VMS suppliers have paved the way for simplified integration of systems that meet the definition of plug-and-play on an IP network. Standards initiatives such as PSIA and ONVIF are making plug-and-play with little or no programming more of a possibility. Additionally, there's a wide range of megapixel cameras available today with selectable resolution and frame rates that are ideal for general surveillance applications. These options provide system designers with a high degree of flexibility and confidence in their designs.
The move to megapixel
The developments related to H.264 video compression make bandwidth and storage requirements of megapixel images in IP-based systems comparable to those of standard resolution images. Megapixel cameras are also comparable in price to standard resolution cameras. When you consider the ability to use fewer megapixel cameras to cover larger areas than analog cameras, the result is a related savings on infrastructure and labor costs. These are all reasons why IMS Research predicts a significant increase in the installation of networked video surveillance systems, and that more than half the network cameras shipped by 2014 will be high-definition or megapixel resolution.
In conclusion, whether you prefer megapixel cameras or the HD subset based on your specific installation needs, the wide range of high resolution cameras today provides a powerful palette of imaging tools for industry professionals. Now, in the middle of 2011, it's crystal clear that better video security systems are a direct result of the superior imaging possible with these high-resolution camera technologies.
About the author: Raul Calderon is the senior vice president of marketing for IP video surveillance camera manufacturer Arecont Vision.