Digital Digest

The products and services associated with the security industry continue to change almost on a daily basis, with advances in technology forging a new path to monitoring. This progress is apparent in several segments, including video surveillance. As video monitoring transitions from analog to digital, new capabilities make the latter version all that more appealing. Speed, storage and retrieval of events are just a few of the things that have improved with the advent of digital video.

Dealers are finding that in today's security conscience environments, when it comes to protecting buildings' occupants and the public, in general, fire, access alarm and video are required systems. It is also becoming apparent that in crisis situations such as fire or criminal activity, clear, well defined video is a necessity. Digital systems are delivering this needed quality image but are sometimes too costly for the average video customer. Arecont Vision, LLC, headquartered in Altadena, CA, is heating up the mix by offering advanced high-resolution digital systems at an economical price point.

The company's systems include MegaVideo technology, which features massively parallel on-camera image processing hardware and state-of-the-art image sensors. "They allow you to get the actual live video with five to seven times the resolution of an analog camera," reports Michael Kaplinsky, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Arecont Vision, LLC. A dedicated, highly optimized image-processing pipeline performs over five billion arithmetic operations per second."

The first generation of MegaVideo products includes the AV1300 1.3 Mpixel camera that offers 30 frames per second; the AV2000 2 Mpixel camera with 24 fps; and, the AV3000 3 Mpixel camera with 12 fps. Each supports real-time multi-camera views; digital video recording with user-selectable option of full resolution archival in the presence of motion; post-event zoom-in capability; multi-format display on HDTV, NTSC, UXGA and PDA monitors; and, traditional remote surveillance functionality.

Precise Tracking of Events
An integral part of MegaVideo technology is its highly specialized, proprietary system software, which is designed to process and manage vast amounts of data associated with HDTV resolution video surveillance, according to Kaplinsky. The software also allows for post-event zoom-in capability from archived footage and concurrent full field of view and high-quality zoom. Also offered is instantaneous, no-moving-parts pan and tilt that is required for tracking of fast moving targets.

This type of pan/tilt/zoom is dramatically different from what is currently available on low-resolution analog cameras, he comments. "For example, if you want to watch the highway and identify the license plate on a certain vehicle with our camera, the resolution is so high that you can take a snapshot of the highway and do what we call a 'zoom after the event.' Once you go to the digital archive, the resolution is so high that you can zoom that picture and you can read the license plates of every car in the snapshot. You no longer need to make real-time zoom-in decisions."

In addition, Kaplinsky reports that when you zoom in on an image, you can still see the full field of view. You can also choose to install a wide-angle view. "You can use just one high-resolution camera instead of five or six low-resolution cameras to access the same data," he says.

To enhance its offering, Arecont Vision is currently adding to its camera line with the introduction of three new cameras. The MegaVideo AV2100 camera provides Power- over-Ethernet capability, automatic lens iris control, full 1600x1200 at 24 fps, proprietary on-camera pixel defect correction and reduced power consumption (4W max). The MegaVideo AV3100 also offers Power-over-Ethernet capability, automatic lens iris control and proprietary on-camera pixel defect correction, and features 1920x1200 at 20 fps (2040x1530 at 14 fps).

In addition, a day/night camera is also joining the line of products. The AV3130 Day/Night surveillance system features a fast 2048x1536 network cameras utilizing proprietary DualBand multi-sensor technology, according to the company. It enables imaging in an extremely wide range of illumination conditions from more than 100,000 lux down to 0.01 lux, Arecont Vision adds. It delivers up to 20 fps at 1920x1200 resolution.

A Vast Target Audience
"We're not targeting high-end applications," Kaplinsky points out. Rather, Arecont Vision is focusing on the mainstream users of low-resolution digital cameras who are interested in high resolution at a mainstream price - "people who want full motion video but need to have much higher resolution," he states. Kaplinsky believes that many of the markets that dealers target will benefit greatly from its technology. Airports, large supermarkets, casinos, banks and factories are among the venues where this application can be used very effectively, he notes.

"Even public transportation can benefit," Kaplinsky remarks. In train cars, especially those in Japan, which are very long, the disadvantage for surveillance cameras is that the only practical place to install them is at the end of the car, he reports.

"Because the car is long and the resolution of the cameras is not very good, the viewer can't really see very well what is happening at the other end of the car. The camera can see the commotion, but not the faces," he explains. With the camera system from Arecont Vision, the viewer can see what is happening at the other end, and can zoom in on clear images of the faces, he stresses.

Anita Shaw is a regular contributor to Security Dealer magazine.