4K frenzy: Next-generation of video surveillance tech generating buzz at ISC West

If you thought the battle for high resolution supremacy was dying down a bit — think again. At ISC West, the industry was abuzz over the introduction of 4K Ultra HD surveillance cameras by a number of different manufacturers. Although the technology itself isn’t new to the market, there have been a number of developments over the past year that makes the adoption of 4K in some security applications more feasible.

According to Andres Vigren, product manager for Axis Communications, which made its foray into 4K Ultra HD at the show with the launch of its AXIS P1428-E network camera, the push to 4K resolution in security is a result of the technology’s progression in consumer electronics. “It is the consumer market that is driving 4K,” Vigren said. “A year ago, the cost of 4K monitors was quite high, but today you see monitors and TVs for less than $1,000. Then people start to say, ‘ok, if I have 4K at home, then why not in the surveillance industry?’”

“In the camera business, people are like, ‘hey, I have a 16-megapixel camera in my phone, why can’t I get this on the camera?’” said Wendi Burke, director of global marketing communications for IQinVision, which also debuted a 4K version of its IQeye Sentinel at the show. “You can be leading-edge, but it has to get to a place where people could actually afford and use it — with a full system, you have to have a 4K monitor. Those were anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 previously.”

Both Vigren and Burke said that there are still a lot of things that will have to occur before there is widespread adoption of 4K in the industry.

“I don’t think it is all in place yet, but it’s getting there. I think that you still need to make sure that the graphic card is 4K, your computer (network) power is 4K, your monitor is 4K and even your cables have to be specified for the 4K resolution,” Vigren said. “I don’t think everyone has that in place yet. This is our first step, so everything is not going to be 4K tomorrow. This is just a natural step into the next standard.”

Kim Loy, chief product officer and VP of global marketing at DVTel, which currently has a 4K camera in beta testing, believes that having a 4K product in the pipeline is important to stay ahead of the technology curve in the industry. “It’s the latest buzz, so you have to be there to be in the game,” Loy said.

John Grabowski, national sales and marketing manager of JVC’s security division, said that they have 4K products within other divisions of the company and they are currently working to develop a 4K surveillance camera. “I think (4K) needed a little time for development,” Grabowski explained. “We decided not to release (our 4K camera) so that we could refine and tweak it.”

Arecont Vision was also among the vendors unveiling a 4K camera — the company’s MegaVideo 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) camera provides a total resolution of 8.3-megapixels (MP) at 30 frames per second (fps).

“This is one of those breakthrough technologies,” said Scott Schafer, Arecont’s executive VP of sales, marketing and service. “While more expensive than traditional video security cameras, there is a value that airports, casinos and other end-users that want high frame rates are really going to like.”


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