In the early days of casino security, cameras were referred to as the eyes in the sky. The choice of words reinforced the idea casino operators wanted, which was that gamblers were being watched. In early days, in large commercial installations, the cameras were being watched. A staff of security personnel would actively monitor the camera video feeds on monitors for suspicious activity. However, as surveillance camera systems became more widely adopted, businesses opted for videocassette recorders (VCRs) and later digital video recorders (DVRs). In the event of a criminal incident, the recording could be referred to for the suspect identification and later as evidence in criminal prosecution.
In more recent years, security cameras have found their way into homes. DVRs had remained the preferred method of ‘monitoring’ activity, until recently with the advent of network video recorders (NVRs), which allow users to view video live on a computer web browser or through a smartphone app. Whereas in the early days of video surveillance, camera resolution was abysmally low, now megapixel resolutions are the standard. Further, while the old analog cameras required a separate power cable and bulky coaxial video cable, new IP megapixel cameras only require a standard CAT5 or CAT6 network cable to provide both video signal and power to each camera. Analog cameras are still available, but now, megapixel analog cameras called HD-TVI deliver about double the lines of resolution, which is about four-times the total resolution.
To help you understand the magnitude, a typical high-resolution (SVGA) analog camera with a 4mm lens can make visual identification of a suspect at a distance of about 21 feet, which is fine if the suspect is in the same room as the camera. However, the equivalent HD-TVI camera can make visual identification of the suspect at a distance of about 43 feet, so say across a courtyard. Obviously, with different lenses, you can achieve visual identification at greater distances. This is where megapixel IP cameras come in, since HD-TVI cameras max out at 1080P or 2 megapixels. Today, megapixel IP security cameras can achieve resolutions of 10 megapixels. With the same 4mm lens, that camera can make visual identification at a distance of 97 feet, and with a 16mm lens, over 400 feet. That’s all the way across the parking lot in front of your office building.
So, great, megapixel IP cameras powered by a POE Ethernet switch and recorded by an NVR can secure my home or business and deliver me live video direct to my iPhone. What’s next? Camera analytics. When we first began researching camera analytics for our customers about six or seven years ago, camera analytics was basically artificial intelligence that lived on a huge rack of computer servers. Now, the analytics can live on the camera itself. Manufacturers like Visualint make surveillance cameras with the AI built into the camera. They also make NVRs with the intelligence built-in, so some dumb cameras can be enhanced with some analytics. Great, so what’s analytics? Analytics brings back to security camera systems what the casinos, hotels, schools, and other large commercial camera installations used to have exclusively, eyes in the sky. The analytics acts like a control room full of people scrutinizing the video feed. These cameras are smart enough to recognize when a person leaves behind a bag or a car is somewhere it shouldn’t be so late at night. That’s right. Cameras with analytics can distinguish between bags, people, and cars. They are also intelligent enough to notify when something is amiss. A security concern could trigger an alarm and dispatch police, while a friend visiting could trigger a string of video sent to your smart phone, so you can remotely unlock the front door. Camera analytics is to security cameras what automation & control systems are to smart homes. These are smart cameras any smart home would be incomplete without.
If you are interested in professional installation of your own security camera system, or if you would just like more information, contact Fulkra today.