Simplifying camera selection and implementation

Video calculators aid installers, end-users in designing an end-to-end video solution

The company's tools include a storage calculator (calculate storage based on camera resolution, settings and recording options), pixels-per-foot calculator, (determines resolution and type of camera needed based on pixels-per-foot specifications), frames-per-second calculator, (allows installers and consultants to configure frames-per-second requirements based on a list of questions answered by the end-user), green calculator (analyses the power consumption and carbon emissions of cameras), and image capture calculator (determines how resolution and frames-per-second can produce the desired number of images for an event).

"We try not to get into technical minutia that does not really matter for the purposes of calculation and (the calculators) are not really geared towards pushing a technology, but listening to the customers' requirements and using these calculators based on some simple questions that the integrator can ask the end-users," Bodell said.

Bodell added that they have about 500 integrators who have registered and are using the calculators with great success. He also said that IQinVision is planning on introducing more calculators in the future, such as an enhanced lens calculator.

"This is part of our overall effort to really step up our design tools, as well as our architectural and engineering programs to... raise the bar on the type of calculators customers have to use and take away the techno babble out there that generally confuses end-users, architects and even integrators," he said.

The calculators are available anytime online at no charge.

Video calculators are available from other leading camera manufacturers as well, including Pelco.

Similar to some of the aforementioned tools, Pelco offers several calculators including a digital storage estimator, resistor calculator, field-of-view calculator, voltage calculator, wire gauge calculator, and the Pelco Camera Tool (allows dealers and integrators to identify a camera's field-of-view, how video analytics functions will operate at a location and how far a camera or analytical tool can view objects in a scene).

One company that is working on a revolutionary type of video calculator is IP solutions provider Infinova. According to Mark S. Wilson, the company's vice president of marketing, rather than using a general rule-of-thumb approach to predict storage requirements, Infinova's Bandwidth and Storage Estimator (I-BASE), uses an advanced statistical analysis to determine those needs over a period of time.

"What I think is needed for integrators today is to try and get an estimate of what the bandwidth would be over a period of time," he said.

Using a Monte Carlo analysis, Infinova's calculator will enable users to account for variations in the level of activity that will take place in a camera's field-of-view. I-BASE will also allow customers to look at different groups of cameras using various compression formats and compare their frame rates and bandwidth requirements.

"I think it will give (integrators) a better estimate of how cameras will perform in more realistic motion scenarios," Wilson said of the tool. "I think it will just give the security manager more information to pass on to the IT manager to make that teamwork a little bit more effective,"

I-BASE is currently undergoing beta testing and Wilson hopes to have the calculator available for use by the fourth quarter of 2010.