They can also handle situations that require high wide dynamic range (WDR), such as scenes with both dark and intensely bright areas. Consider, for example, the entrance to a parking garage on a bright sunny day. Another aspect of WDR capabilities that is often overlooked is license plate capture during the evening, with headlights often washing out images on regular cameras.
A common but underutilized feature of network cameras is the ability to deliver bi-directional audio. Parking cameras could be outfitted with omni-directional microphones and speakers which, when appropriate, give guards the ability to have a two-way conversation with occupants of the garage. This approach should not be considered as a replacement for emergency call boxes and there are potential legal ramifications when audio is recorded without consent, but when handled correctly, this can be a valuable tool.
Analytics Add Value
The most interesting aspect of network cameras is the potential to turn video into a proactive tool to mitigate risks in real time, as opposed to reactive uses such as assessing a crime after it has occurred. Loitering is often considered a pre-cursor to crime, and this can be detected through video analytics and reported to security personnel. People loitering can be escorted off the premises before they find a suitable target.
Also, some analytics can be repurposed to cover operational aspects of managing a garage in conjunction with security functions. Detecting a car that is stopped in an area it should not be, such as in front of a service room, could trigger an alert. That same analytic process could be used to detect abnormal delays in cars being processed into the garage, pointing to an operational issue. Even basic analytics such as video motion detection (VMD) and Tamper Alarm — an alert when the camera is obstructed, moved or covered by some object — can improve overall safety of people and property.
James Marcella (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been a technologist in the security and IT industries for more than 18 years. He is currently the Director of Technical Services for Axis Communications. Request more information about axis by visiting www.securityinfowatch.com/10212966.