Security industry regulations can be a major obstacle for casino operators implementing new technologies. Industry regulations seem to favor the analog domain in order to meet higher frame rate regulations; however, operators aware of recent HD surveillance advancements do not have to sacrifice HD image clarity to obtain these higher frame rates. Unfortunately, the acceptance of higher frame rates over HD image clarity still reigns.
Before embarking on a technology refresh project, casino operators need to thoroughly assess how state gaming commission regulatory standards will impact planned technology changes. Unfortunately, many casino technology managers assigned to make regulatory decisions have been unable to participate in tradeshows or educational conferences due to budgetary constraints. As a result, many are not aware of the latest solutions and rely on the same old familiar technologies when conducting site visits — basing crucial decisions on aging standards. Even at annual inspections, where camera-by-camera regulators review images that lack the clarity required to determine a game outcome, inspections are still passed and approved. This is not the fault of the regulator or the casino operator, but is instead a product of the industry’s lack of knowledge.
Building a Foundation for Success
The first step of any successful implementation is to build a concise executive summary. It should include:
• The current level of technology in use and why it should be replaced;
• The proposed solution and a justification for its selection;
• Cost of purchasing and implementing the new solutions;
• Expected return on investment (ROI);
• Endorsements from business units that will be positively impacted by the new surveillance solution; and
• A Gantt chart that clearly outlines the transition plan and how it will cause little or no business interruption.
If the evaluation of competitive technologies has been completed and the best solution is selected, generally three bids are obtained from qualified integrators and the capital expenditure request (CER) is submitted with the executive summary so that the approval process can begin.
The Right Technology for a Smooth Transition
The potential to disrupt business exists with any technology refresh initiative, but is particularly challenging in a casino setting that offers 24/7 gaming — operations simply cannot be interrupted while equipment is installed. With the stakes so high, casinos are looking for reliable surveillance solutions that facilitate a gradual transition to HD image quality as budgets permit, using H.264 encoders to leverage existing analog cameras to minimize the operational impact and improve system performance.
Once a HD surveillance solution is selected, network requirements must be determined. Casino operators must consider whether the existing cabling can be used and assess the distance requirements of the IP devices for cameras, encoders and network switches.
The evaluation of encoder technology is another significant step to bridge the transition from analog to the IP environment. With encoders ranging from $100 to $1000 MSRP per channel of video and IP licensing either being ongoing or a one-time cost, the investment decision should be based on what the best technology is for the dollar. Other factors to consider include ease of use, view management capability, ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) compliance and system scalability.
The Future of Casino Security: HD Surveillance
The transition to HD surveillance solutions is gaining momentum in casinos around the world, as aging DVR solutions have begun to fail. Casino operators want to do the right thing for their properties and need regulators to embrace modern video concepts to provide the best evidence and support the public trust. HD video products are in use every day by consumers and have become the new standard, so when they see the poor resolution of the analog systems that still prevail in our casinos today, we have to ask why. HD surveillance must be the future for surveillance in our casinos.