Both H.264 megapixel cameras and video analytics were initially saddled with some myths and misimpressions that presented challenges for widespread adoption. In both cases the idea quickly grew that the technology was useful but too expensive. Even with the benefits of these advanced high-definition images, the demand was initially low due in part to the bandwidth and storage requirements.
Addressing the issues
Now, many in the industry are seeing beyond those initial impressions about both technologies. H.264 megapixel cameras have come down substantially in price. The issues of high bandwidth consumption and storage are being addressed largely through compression methods, control and recording at the edge and better algorithms that allow more control of video compression and transmission.
There are vendors who now build the video analytics directly into the software, saving the end-user a considerable amount of time and money compared to adding analytics after the fact. Other vendors offer video analytics at the edge, at no extra cost. The increased adoption of H.264 video compression and video analytics is also being helped by vendors who offer software with a truly open platform solution so installation and any consequent changes can be relatively seamless.
There is also more demand for intelligent video and along with that, a demand for cameras that are reliable, more agile and can provide sharper and more vibrant images, which is part of the need that H.264 compression fills. Related to intelligence, many end-users require a video system that can think as well as see and can provide an end solution to make decisions and react immediately, providing alerts when key events happen, when there is motion within a perimeter or when facial recognition analytics spots a suspect or exception.
The right capabilities
For such a system to be a true security partner and effective enough to prevent an incident (instead of providing after-the-fact forensic evidence), great accuracy and speed is required. Your analytics are only as smart as your algorithms. The goal is to be able to clearly recognize, in a matter of milliseconds, the particulars of a face that definitively identifies a suspect. Another important factor is the capability to distinguish between letters and numbers in the case of a license plate or container recognition and provide accurate images in all kinds of weather and lighting conditions.
Because a single high-definition H.264 camera can cover as much area as five cameras with standard definition and provide digital PTZ features for live (real time) or recorded information, it can more easily spot changes in a video frame that signals a key event that took place and then notify appropriate security personnel and other relevant contacts. This ability to cover more area and work in conjunction with video analytics offers practical benefits, i.e., less need for security personnel monitoring (or not watching) banks and banks of cameras.
With H.264 and highly intelligent video analytics, the whole security process can become more automated and accurate and at the same time, less expensive.
Alex F. Pazos is the project manager for Latin America for Samsung Techwin America; www.samsungsecurityusa.com.
Aluisio Figueiredo is the chief operating officer for Intelligent Security Systems; www.isscctv.