License Plate Capture is a fast growing security sector with many opportunities for firms already involved with CCTV. For security dealers, the ability to capture license plates - clearly, effectively and under virtually any conditions - is a strong selling proposition for which security end-users will pay top dollar. Security dealers can win new business and also service current customers by providing the added-value of license plate capture in existing CCTV projects.
It is easy to understand the need for effective license plate capture. Almost all criminal activity will involve vehicles at one point or another. (In the USA alone, a vehicle is stolen once every 26 seconds.) And because license plates are inherently linked to valuable identifying information, their capture can be indispensable as an investigative tool and as irrefutable evidence in a court of law.
Additionally, a myriad of applications exist in areas such as traffic management, tolling systems, parking, vehicle surveillance, counter-terrorism, border security, perimeter surveillance and access control, but the fallout from 9/11 has made license plate capture into a chief security concern for parties ranging from government to private enterprise.
License plate capture is an important capability that is poised for significant growth and has the potential to generate steady revenue streams for security dealers and integrators. The question then becomes: How?
Although license plate capture is still a new discipline for most security professionals, the good news is that there are opportunities for license plate capture systems at every level. Applications range from underground parking to gated communities to universities and continue up the scale to major urban projects. For the majority of security dealers who are new to license plate capture, it is sensible to start at the basic levels, master the craft, and expand upwards into high-value contracts. There are also significant retro-fitting opportunities to sell license plate capture solutions to existing CCTV customers or as a lead-in to new CCTV clients. However, security dealers who are not careful can make costly errors during the installation process. Here's how to make it simple:
The Key to Success
Wherever you pitch your business -- entry, intermediate or advanced systems - the best advice is to learn from other people's mistakes, not your own. Over the last few years as the technology has been refined, Extreme CCTV has been working with some of the pioneer integrators and end-users to fit license plate capture systems that get the plate - effectively, reliably and consistently.
From its extensive work in the field, the Extreme Engineering team has uncovered one common key to success in license plate capture: The quality of the license plate image is the most important factor. Every aspect of the installation should be designed with this in mind.
Using this as the central premise to effective license plate capture, Extreme CCTV recommends the following "best practices" to ensure a successful installation.
1) Use Dedicated Cameras
Not surprisingly some end-users have pushed security professionals to fit license plate capture cameras which can play a dual role. They want the camera to capture license plates and at the same time provide surveillance of the surrounding area. As a rule this will not work. The license plate capture camera has enough difficulties to deal with when it is focused totally on capturing license plates... ask it to cover a wider area and it will be compromised. It will not be able to deliver high-resolution images of the license plates and it will certainly not be able to cope with changing environmental conditions over time. For applications that require overview vehicle surveillance AND license plate capture, Extreme CCTV Engineering has developed dual systems which combine both dedicated license plate capture camera and general overview camera into a single, integrated unit.