Many organizations are currently considering implementing new video surveillance systems, or upgrading their outdated systems to take advantage of recent technical improvements. The wide variety of security threats that businesses and other facilities face include theft by employees or visitors, violence or threats from outsiders, and other crimes of opportunity. In addition to the variety of possible threats, each installation presents a unique coverage challenge to be sure that cameras are able to provide useful images across all the possible areas of interest. Multi-sensor panoramic cameras provide several benefits that can help organizations meet the unique challenges of their projects.
A Better Solution: Multi-Sensor Panoramic Cameras
PTZ and fisheye cameras have traditionally been deployed for wide angle surveillance, but both of these camera types fall short of delivering on the need. Typical PTZ cameras have a narrow focus that is not well-suited for wide area surveillance, requiring multiple cameras to be deployed for full coverage – an expensive proposition that does not guarantee that they will be pointed in the right direction at the right time. And while fisheye cameras provide a full 360° field of view, the combination of a round lens, rectangular image sensors and the need for de-warping technologies to allow the human eye to make sense of their circular images can result in anywhere from 25 to 50 percent pixel loss.
Once considered a specialty imaging solution based on their costs and bandwidth demands, improved multi-sensor panoramic cameras have emerged as a more effective alternative to both PTZ and fisheye cameras for wide area surveillance. These cameras incorporate multiple image sensors in a single housing to provide 180° or 360° panoramic views, overcoming the narrow focus of PTZs. Panoramic cameras apply advanced imaging algorithms to stitch multiple images together, thereby providing a seamless panoramic image without the degradation and distortion common with fisheye cameras.
Given the quality, performance and cost-efficiency these cameras deliver, it should come as no surprise that new multi-sensor panoramic cameras are quickly becoming an attractive option to provide wide area coverage as part of an overall system design.
Because of its wide coverage angle, a single multi-sensor panoramic camera can eliminate the need to install multiple single-sensor cameras on the corners of a building or on parking lot poles. In addition to their aesthetic appeal and the reduced cost of deploying one rather than multiple cameras, multi-sensor panoramic cameras typically offer even greater Return on Investment (ROI) by reducing the number of Video Management System (VMS) licenses an organization requires.
Another specific location where multi-sensor panoramic cameras can provide value is at the corner of an intersecting hallway or corridor. Since the images captured by multiple camera sensors are stitched together, blind spots are minimized and critical details are retained so that the entire flow of events is captured at once. Investigators will have less video to comb through, saving time, minimizing risks and providing quicker remediation.
Additionally, multi-sensor panoramic cameras deployed above lobbies, factory floors, cafeterias and other open areas with unpredictable traffic flows provide excellent situational awareness with extreme image detail. These versatile imaging solutions are even more valuable when installed in conjunction with emergency call boxes, ATMs, visitor registration desks and other mission critical systems to capture and record valuable data for both security and business intelligence purposes.
In the case of a security or safety incident, high-resolution, multi-image technology provides responding personnel with a wider field of view than standard IP cameras, providing critical situational intelligence in real time. Some newer models even allow operators to zoom in to areas of interest while the camera continues recording the full field of view. In this way, and unlike PTZ cameras, panoramic cameras don’t miss anything and can provide a video record of all the events within their field of view.
Multi-sensor panoramic cameras have not only earned their place in today’s sophisticated surveillance systems, but they are quickly becoming a core system component that advanced surveillance systems are being built around. Surveillance professionals have certainly taken notice of the benefits these cameras provide; IHS research forecasts that multi-sensor panoramic cameras will outsell PTZ cameras in 2017 for the first time in history. Greater coverage, higher image quality, lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increased ROI are just a few of the drivers that make multi-sensor panoramic cameras an ideal solution for maximizing safety and security in many mainstream applications.