Inside the Future of Video Surveillance at ASIS 2007

From resolution standards to hydroxyl ion imaging, the future of surveillance isn't just about debating IP vs. analog


Since landing in Las Vegas on Sunday for ASIS International 2007, there's been plenty going on here at the show. Some of the early demonstrations I saw were for new camera technologies. More and more, we're seeing cameras that aim to be the day/night solutions, capable of performing under various lighting and weather conditions. Also, there seems to be growing momentum for standards regarding resolution and performance of surveillance cameras.

Roy Malmberg, applications engineer for FLIR, demonstrated their new HRC, which is a thermal camera capable of viewing objects up to 20km away. Since the camera is able to detect wavelengths outside the spectrum visible to the human eye, it can display objects during the night. However, Malmburg adds that the strengths of the HRC cameras aren't just limited to the nighttime. During the daytime there could be fog or haze that could be problematic for some long-distance cameras (and smoke in a building can be an obvious problem to even short distance camera views), but Malmburg contends that FLIR's HRC thermal camera would be able to "see" through it. Also, Malmburg says that the contrast in the thermal images lends itself very well to video analytics software being able to distinguish between different behaviors based on movement.

Another company focused on high-tech surveillance engineering, NoblePeak, was showing off a futuristic technology they plan to start offering dealers next year. NoblePeak's "Germanium" technology, capable of sensing the spectrum from near-infrared to short-wave infrared, is able to display nighttime images by using "Night Glow." Phil Davies, vice president of marketing for NoblePeak, explained that hydroxyl ions in the earth's atmosphere absorb sun rays during the day, and at night they "glow"-the human eye can't detect this "glow," but NoblePeak's Germanium technology can. As such, this camera has a uniform light source which enables it to deliver quality images during the night.

Paul Bodell, chief marketing officer for megapixel surveillance firm IQinVision, says his company is getting ready to roll out an architectural and engineering program that will be making seven stops around the world, explaining how to better spec video surveillance installations. Bodell says that poor video surveillance installations (especially the ones with grainy video that can't identify the perpetrators) really hurt the entire industry. He wants to see more dealers/integrators use "pixels per foot" to spec video installations. Bodell is also eager to see if an independent panel will come up with some standards for the resolution and performance of security cameras-he thinks that could go a long way toward raising the overall quality of surveillance systems that are deployed, and thus improve the industry's image.

It's hard to know if and/or when standards could be introduced for surveillance cameras, but a few manufacturers with whom I've spoken have indicated they would welcome standards in order to better illustrate (and differentiate) the value that their product(s) offer.

It's been a whirlwind start and video surveillance developments are just a tip of the technology iceberg at ASIS 2007. We'll see what's in store for Day 2. Stay tuned...