From businesses to residential properties to education, a surveillance system that covers the extent of your facility is crucial to protecting your assets and providing important business data. Cameras are the foundation of any surveillance system, and for the highest functionality it’s important to provide as much camera coverage as possible. However, this doesn’t necessarily require a higher camera count. Fast-advancing technology is quickly changing how security professionals look at camera density with high-resolution megapixel cameras.
When looking at the camera density requirements of your installation, it’s important to consider the value of each individual camera and the performance it delivers. Businesses require security systems—and therefore cameras—that are proven the world over to perform to the highest standards. These cameras need to have the resolution to recognize faces and license plates, read numbers on shipping crates, and observe customer activity. Standard definition cameras provide about 300,000 pixels per camera, while megapixel cameras currently provide at least 1.3 million pixels per camera. Multi-sensor cameras can provide even more pixels, with total values currently up to about 16 million pixels by combining several imaging sensors. Megapixel cameras can cover a far greater distance while also delivering higher performance and more capability, requiring lower camera density to be built into a system.
Megapixel cameras can do a better job of capturing important information than standard-resolution cameras. By providing more pixels in their captured images, these cameras can be adjusted to provide high “pixels-per-foot” to support stronger identification and evidentiary needs, or adjusted to cover a larger viewing area than standard cameras at lower resolutions. They also can provide more functionality while remaining reliable watchmen. Megapixel cameras come in a multitude of form factors to cover a wide variety of surveillance needs. A megapixel camera with the ability to maintain resolution and coverage while zooming into a specific area—both in live and recorded video—can carry a heavier burden than multiple standard definition cameras. Three or four megapixel cameras might be all that’s needed to cover a parking lot that would require ten standard-resolution cameras.
Megapixel cameras can also deliver higher operational performance than standard cameras. For example, recent advances in low light performance and wide dynamic range allow cameras to capture improved images even in difficult lighting conditions. Models from some leading manufacturers can capture color images down to .005 lux allow you to install cameras without IR illuminators or other expensive options for low-light areas and times. With megapixel cameras as the pillars of your system, you get higher quality images that allow you to reduce your camera density significantly.
A system with many standard cameras will incur more installation and maintenance costs than one covered by fewer, higher-performing cameras. You’ll need more manpower and time to install the greater number of cameras and wiring runs to connect all of the cameras to the network. Maintenance costs also need to be considered, as a denser system comes with a higher probability of issues on each camera, requiring costly downtime as the issues are dealt with and repaired. A lower-density system covered by megapixel cameras is more cost-effective to install and maintain over the lifespan of your system.
To achieve the cost benefits of lower camera density on your surveillance system, you need more powerful cameras that can deliver the coverage and picture quality you need. Megapixel cameras, with their higher resolution and performance, allow you to cover a larger area with fewer cameras, and lower installation and maintenance costs. With lower camera density and higher performance, your system becomes simpler and more cost-effective to use and to maintain.