Innovation in video surveillance tech at a crossroads: Part 2

Experts weigh in on resolution arms race, advances in edge capabilities and video storage

Wendi Burke, director of marketing, IQinVision: The industry standard (based on sales data) is two-megapixel/HD 1080p, however, there is still a large demand for higher resolution options for general surveillance applications and we will continue to see resolutions climb as lens options and image quality advancements make these larger resolution options increasingly viable for use in identification and prosecution.

Scott Schafer, executive vice president, Arecont Vision: There is no set standard for megapixel resolution for a specific application other than perhaps in gaming where specific details like playing card and chip identification is mandated by state regulations. Otherwise, resolution is typically determined based on users’ surveillance needs and objectives. In some instances, 40-megapixel panoramic cameras may be specified to deliver the highest attainable image quality, yet a similar application at a different facility may specify an eight- or 12-megapixel panoramic camera. I expect we will continue to see increases in the resolution of megapixel cameras as new chipsets and processing technologies continue to evolve.

Dave Poulin, director business operations, security and evidence management solutions, Panasonic: While HD and megapixel resolution security cameras have been a focus for security professionals in recent years, we don’t expect the push for higher megapixels to continue its trajectory much longer within the mass market. Instead, we anticipate more focus on new camera features and advancements in processing technologies such as LDC (lens distortion compensation) that improve image quality and optimize data captured by newer IP products. These and other advances will make it possible for security professionals to record and analyze facial features, textures, symbols and other details that was not possible with previous generations of video surveillance camera technology.

George Maroussis, manager, Genetec Technology Alliance: Even though camera vendors keep offering higher and higher megapixels and resolution, it always comes at a price in 1) storage and 2) bandwidth. While the idea of “one high-definition camera can replace 10 low-res cameras" is appealing, let’s not forget that one break down and blocked image on one camera versus 10 dispersed cameras can make all the difference. We will see higher megapixels but this will be balanced or throttled based on network bandwidth, camera optical/dynamic performance ranges (i.e. WDR, low light), as well storage and retention time.

SIW: Have advancements at the edge such as increased storage capabilities changed the way the industry looks at developing camera technology now?

Nilsson: With the cost of SD cards, I actually bought one for a camera for myself - a Class 10 SD card - and it was $23. I remember when we launched (the Axis Camera Companion software), a 32-gigabyte memory at that time cost $50. It’s really moving the industry in the direction of being able to do more on the edge and do it very inexpensively. We did a calculation that if you’re using that latest kind of (memory) size that is supported by most cameras that is 64 gigabytes, and with 64 gigabytes you can get five days worth of full frame rate recording even if you do good quality 720p. If you do motion-based (recording) or you cut down to 15-frames-per-second, you’re probably going to get many more days than that, maybe a couple of weeks. But just for the sake of comparison, you can get five days full frame rate recording into the camera for a cost of $40. If you look at any recording solution, that’s kind of difficult to compete with.

De Fina: There are multiple inter-related developments at the edge and on the cloud that will continue to change industry perceptions, as well as how and what new camera technologies are developed moving forward. New cameras, for example, feature better compression solutions like H.264 that reduce storage and bandwidth requirements. And on-board analytics like motion detection and object left behind, allow cameras to be programmed to change resolutions depending on real-time events and triggers. More advanced video management systems are also providing centralized feature enhancements that can enhance otherwise conventional cameras with greatly increased functionality. This leaves open a very wide spectrum for camera development as the arguments for intelligence at the edge or on the enterprise level continues. At Samsung, we’re addressing both alternatives by offering what we believe to be the largest.