Today’s IP-based network environment offers a multitude of benefits for the end-user. Ranking high among these benefits are easy access to video anywhere it is needed and the ability to integrate with other IP-based physical security and business operational systems.
Several developing trends in video surveillance camera technology are helping to maximize the benefits of IP-based systems. First, the emergence and wide implementation of HD and megapixel imaging technology has transformed the way systems are deployed and the kinds of information users can obtain from their systems. Next, a remarkable increase in intelligence inside the cameras is enabling better imaging and more data, creating an impact at the systems level. Let’s look at the potential effect of these developments — often working together — to make IP-based systems better.
Better Images Equal Better Data
High-definition (HD) sensors, like those used in megapixel cameras, are providing higher-resolution images that feed more overall data to a networked video system. But resolution is only one factor in image quality; intelligence inside the camera works together with HD image sensors to provide images that are better in multiple ways.
Smarter image processing inside the camera can vastly improve an image before it even leaves the camera. For example, image processing manages the dynamic range of a video image, which is the span of gradations from the lightest to the darkest areas. Intelligence inside the camera uses natural contrast image correction to optimize contrast of each pixel and to faithfully reproduce objects in any area and position. The result is better images despite extreme lighting conditions.
Other image processing technologies can transform dark areas into natural, high-contrast images like those seen by the human eye. Adaptive digital noise reduction takes care of the “noise” in a camera image (extraneous elements that are not part of the picture), which is especially useful for moving objects.
With all this additional information entering the network, the current task for manufacturers and integrators is to develop interoperable system functionalities that solve real security and business problems. This fast-growing segment of our industry can be a bit chaotic with new providers entering the market and with many solutions that seem similar but may be vastly different in capabilities. Users should look to get guidance from a trusted supplier or integrator before making purchase decisions.
Better Compression for Better Bandwidth
Intelligence inside the camera encodes the image to translate it into a digital signal, and compresses that signal to minimize network bandwidth requirements. This is an important consideration for any installation using megapixel cameras, which require more bandwidth.
Smart cameras provide the needed computational power to handle the highly complicated algorithms and high-speed processing needed for H.264 compression, a compression standard used to minimize bandwidth and storage needs. H.264 High Profile provides even better picture quality using lower bandwidth compared to H.264 base profile.
Managing Information on the Network
The continuing enhancement of smart features at the edge of the network (i.e., inside the camera) also helps to minimize a system’s computational load and the amount of data that travels across the network.
Any decision made at the camera level — whether a video analytics alarm, motion alarm or face detection — can determine how much information flows from the camera across the network. Another way to control the amount of data moving across the network is the choice between localized recording of higher-resolution or real-time motion video, which ensures the dependable capture of needed evidence, or transmission of lower resolution or slower-frame video across the network to minimize the impact of video on network resources.
Multiple Streaming Capabilities