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Panoramic megapixel cameras boost wide area surveillance

The overall performance benefits and cost efficiencies of panoramic cameras make them ideal for mainstream video surveillance applications
High definition (HD) megapixel cameras can help in the surveillance of larger areas with fewer cameras while delivering superior detail and improving overall security operations. This translates into lower infrastructure costs and improved overall return on investment (ROI), enabling users to deploy less expensive video systems with megapixel cameras and achieve better performance and functionality. In this article, Scott Schafer, Executive Vice President of Arecont Vision explains that these efficiencies become even more compelling with the deployment of panoramic view megapixel camera systems.

Securing large areas with adequate camera coverage can be challenging, and the use of pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras often does not suffice in these applications. A PTZ camera can only be pointed in one direction at a time and can miss important or security-threatening events in another part of the coverage area. Panoramic view cameras don't miss anything; a single 180° or 360° panoramic view camera can cover a large area that would require many conventional cameras or multiple PTZ cameras. The following real-world examples demonstrate how panoramic view cameras can simplify and lower the cost of a video surveillance system:

  • At a gasoline station in South Africa, three 180° panoramic view cameras provide detailed images of the fuelling islands while a 360° panoramic view camera keeps watch inside the store. The surveillance cameras are positioned strategically for wide-area coverage, with the ability to digitally zoom in for a close-up of specific parts of a larger image, such as a person's face or a licence plate number, without losing detail.
  • At a supermarket distribution centre in Colorado, a 180° panoramic camera is installed outdoors on the side of 

    Panoramic megapixel cameras offer overall performance benefits and cost efficiencies that make them appropriate for a wide range of mainstream video surveillance applications

    the building to watch the guard shack, trucking lanes, parking area and shipping/receiving. The 20-megapixel day/night panoramic camera provides a complete view of the property, replacing a PTZ camera that provided only a limited angle both for live and recorded views. In contrast, the 180° panoramic camera captures the entire scene in high resolution with a much larger field-of-view. A heater-blower enables the camera to operate in temperature extremes.
  • At a police department in New York State, 8-megapixel, 180° panoramic cameras are installed at the front and back entrance for exterior video coverage. The wide panoramic field-of-view eliminates the costs for additional security cameras and pan-tilt-zoom units. The cameras automatically switch from colour to black and white at night.
  • A 180° megapixel camera provides a comprehensive view to enable police to watch for illegal dumping at a waste centre in Pennsylvania. The surveillance system has made it possible for the police to identify and issue citations to people who discard unauthorised items. The system can clearly see what people are disposing of and identify their faces and the number plates of their vehicles.
Panoramic view cameras are available with 360° imaging capabilities
360° panoramic cameras can cover a large area that would require several conventional surveillance cameras

180° and 360° surveillance capabilities

The examples above demonstrate how panoramic cameras enable the user to view and record an entire large field-of-view while simultaneously digitally zooming in on multiple regions of interest, something a PTZ camera cannot do.

Panoramic view cameras are available with 180° and 360° imaging capabilities, and 8- or 20-megapixel resolutions (which will continue to increase). This allows even larger areas to be viewed with the ability to capture precise details. A panoramic camera with 20-megapixel resolution can replace many analogue or standard definition IP cameras to provide comprehensive and continuous coverage of a large area. This includes PTZ cameras which may be pointing in the wrong direction when events of interest occur. 

The latest 20- and 8-megapixel panoramic view cameras have also been enhanced with day/night functionality.

Using one camera instead of many establishes a new benchmark for cost savings by requiring fewer software licences, less network infrastructure and the elimination of the additional poles, cabling and power supplies required for installation.

Panoramic surveillance becomes mainstream

Once thought of exclusively for use in specialist applications, panoramic megapixel cameras offer overall performance benefits and cost efficiencies that make them appropriate for a wide range of mainstream video surveillance applications.

Complete and continuous coverage of an area is especially important to ensure that there is forensic-quality video of an event for investigation and/or prosecution. Resolution is also a key aspect of video coverage, whether it's a car park or a city street outdoors, or an auditorium, atrium or other large area indoors or out. High resolution megapixel cameras can deliver usable video of an event, including details of faces and identifiable number plate digits, to help improve overall safety and security.

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