In-car police video cameras turning toward HD

UK-based research firm IMS Research is forecasting stronger adoption of high definition (HD) video cameras for the application of in-car police cameras. The research company estimates that HD applications for inside police cruiser vehicles will grow at over 20 percent for the next four years, and is only slowed by the amount of data that such cameras create and legal requirements to preserve that video. Even with that 20 percent growth, IMS says that HD camera solutions will be less than 15 percent of the total American in-car police video surveillance camera market in 2015. The growth estimate comes as part of IMS' newest report on mobile video surveillance.

"The key driver for HD video is simply better quality images," said IMS Research report author, Oliver Philippou. "As camera prices decline, compression methods become more advanced, and new wireless draft specifications, such as 802.11 ac, make handling large amounts of data quicker and more efficient, the use of HD cameras will increasingly become a more viable option."

"That being said, the main issue with using HD cameras remains the storage of the video. The length of time that video has to be kept by police departments varies, with some states in the USA requiring a full 365 days of video storage when used as evidence. Even with better compression methods, recording in HD is likely to increase the amount of data by a factor of three or four at the very least. With the recent floods in Thailand causing serious production issues for HDD, the price rises in HDD storage costs would increase considerably."

According to IMS Research, only one firm has an HD video surveillance solution designed specifically to be used for in-car police video. That would be WatchGuard Video with its 4RE solution. Despite a lack of competition today, IMS is forecasting a number of additional HD police car camera product introductions in the next 12 months.

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