|Large busy casinos must maintain continuous surveillance of multiple tables and machines|
High-definition (HD) cameras are a perfect fit for the casino market. HD security cameras provide six times the resolution of analogue cameras, supplying images with sharper edges that easily identify faces, cards, dice, chips, currency, and fill slips. In addition, high-definition IP cameras can reduce camera count. A single, 1080p camera can effectively cover poker, roulette or craps tables where traditionally two to three analogue cameras were required, says Maureen Bruen, vertical market specialist – gaming, Honeywell Security Products Americas.
Evolution of video surveillance technology
Combining high-definition cameras at choke points with 360-degree cameras to provide extreme overviews of the entire casino floor is also a powerful combination, says Bruen. When an incident occurs, a person can be tracked to a choke point where they can be positively identified.
Video surveillance technology evolves rapidly, and HD is just one of the factors in play. Honeywell works with its largest gaming customers to ensure future products are designed in accordance with their requirements.
Honeywell’s security product portfolio
Honeywell Security Products Americas has provided surveillance and security solutions for the gaming market for over 20 years. Honeywell’s product portfolio consists of video management systems, hybrid and network video recorders, IP and analogue cameras, access control, point of sale, video analytics, visitor management, intrusion and building management systems, all of which can be integrated. Honeywell’s surveillance products are designed in consultation with customers to ensure requirements are accurately met. Honeywell trains, certifies and supports casino customers directly.
A casino surveillance customer can take advantage of Honeywell’s variety of solutions and product offerings. Enterprise digital video recorders can be expanded, refreshed and sustained over an extended life cycle. Migration to IP can be achieved economically by upgrading work stations and software. Honeywell’s MAXPRO VMS video management system and Ultrakey keyboards fully control all digital and analogue monitors. Combining the MAXPRO VMS and Pro-Watch access control systems, any alarm or access event can automatically call up any number of video selections. Doors can be controlled directly from Pro-Watch or the Ultrakey CCTV keyboard. Honeywell’s integrated data manager (IDM) point-of-sale solution provides data mining with customised reports that can be scheduled and emailed including graphical results with instant video. Wide area people counting solutions are suitable for marketing departments and can determine the effectiveness of promotional campaigns or merchandising, reduce costs and increase customer service.
The major factors affecting the conversion to IP casino surveillance video systems are money and infrastructure
High-definition IP camera benefits
North American Video (NAV), a leading systems integrator serving the gaming market, also points out that IP video security has ushered in dramatic improvements in image quality and resolution, which allows surveillance operators to extract more visual information from each camera shot. Additionally, with the improved image quality and resolution, a single HD camera can cover an area that previously required multiple analogue cameras to cover effectively. As an optimal result, the increased visual information and lower camera counts lead to dramatically improved operator and surveillance room efficiency, says Laurie Smock, NAV vice president of sales.
Analogue-to-IP conversion challenges
While analogue-to-IP conversion is mostly impacted by budgetary considerations, regulatory restrictions are a limiting factor when IP-based systems are incapable of meeting certain requirements, says Ron Grinfeld, director, global vertical marketing, DVTEL. When regulations are met, budget is the only shared impacting factor in the decision to remain analogue, adopt hybrid or transition to all-IP, especially considering the huge installed base of legacy analogue equipment, specifically surveillance cameras.
Grinfeld says the situation helps to differentiate a company such as DVTEL, which is capable of providing an all-IP system while meeting the above restrictions, and at the same time offers video encoders (also called video server appliances) that allow the development of a hybrid system. In addition, each component of the DVTEL solution is open to third-party integration through ONVIF and open API. Having a wide range of certified integrations with most of the major players in the market allows DVTEL’s casino customers to enjoy the benefit of all worlds, whether they want to transform their systems to all-IP, move to hybrid or even maintain legacy third-party equipment while advancing their core management servers to DVTEL’s enterprise systems.
"Regulatory restrictions are a limiting factor when IP-based systems are incapable of meeting certain requirements", says Ron Grinfeld, Director, Global Vertical Marketing, DVTEL
The major factors affecting the conversion to IP casino surveillance video systems are money and infrastructure, according to Oncam, which designs, delivers and deploys IP video solutions that leverage 360-degree fisheye cameras and other technologies. So many resorts and casino operations have anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 cameras on property, and the investment to replace these may not provide the return on investment (ROI) for the capital expense. When the service costs from system failures or end-of-life product support exceed ROI, then making the conversion to a hybrid IP system becomes more viable, according to Oncam
Gaming industry regulations
The gaming industry is heavily regulated, including strict data protection controls. These regulations help maintain the integrity of gaming operations, which is why large, busy casinos must maintain continuous surveillance of multiple tables, machines, sports pools, cages, vaults, count rooms, records and the security room itself. A thorough understanding of these laws is necessary when selecting a security solution for a casino setting.
The two mandatory regulatory requirements shared across all jurisdictions are full frame rate and complete failover, says Grinfeld of DVTEL. Other requirements apply to specific regions and involve various aspects around time synchronisation of video playback, fast rewind, and so on.