Megapixel Spotlight (LinkedIn)

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IP surveillance systems are becoming more 'innovative and efficient', thanks to higher levels of resolution. The development of this market reflects the benefits of megapixel video solutions in any application of video surveillance.

We all know a picture is worth a thousand words. In the area of ​​megapixel video solutions, a picture says it all. Some market factors have contributed to creating the conditions for a rapid spread of video technology in most major megapixel video surveillance applications. A major factor is the transition to IP video systems. The growing number of people who abandon their analog systems has already affected the market, encouraging the development of cameras with higher resolutions.

Another important market factor is the rapid development of new products. We are witnessing the rapid development of high-resolution cameras, targeting a range of applications that is constantly growing. The biggest advantage for the end user is the low price of these products. A third factor is the acceptance of a high efficiency video compression standard, H.264. This greatly reduces bandwidth and storage space requirements. A fourth key factor in the market is cooperation between technology suppliers and providers of megapixel video management systems to create higher resolutions in new systems.

Finally, the benefits of megapixel video technology in terms of performance, functionality and convenience are fully in line with customers' attention to return on investment (ROI), as well as the need for companies and organizations to justify the costs incurred in terms of their overall benefit.

Market researchers expect the rapid acceptance of megapixel cameras in the security industry over the next three years. For example, IMS Research has predicted that over 50% of network cameras delivered in 2014 will consist of cameras with high definition (HD) or with a megapixel resolution.

Thanks to technological advances that have made image processing faster and H.264 compression, megapixel cameras have more features and can be used in a wide range of applications. The use of megapixel cameras is no longer confined to niche applications. Existing installations can now enjoy the best image quality produced by megapixel video technology. Megapixel video solutions optimize any system performance and benefit security integrators, end users and technology providers.

The Role of System Integrators

System Integrators have more in-depth skills and knowledge regarding the use of megapixel cameras. Many of the early concerns about the difficulties of integrating megapixel systems have been minimized due to their efforts. But some of these preconceived notions still exist based on the lack of updated information on the latest technological developments available. To better serve their customers, it is necessary that system integrators are continually updated on the latest products and solutions available today.

Beyond the technological aspects, system integrators must not only be able to design and propose megapixel video systems, but also justify costs. Price is no longer a major obstacle compared to a few years ago. Currently, the price of many megapixel cameras is comparable to network cameras with standard resolution. In addition, megapixel cameras provide a video resolution ideal for forensic evidence and prosecution. Megapixel cameras offer a resolution of 1 to 10 million pixels or more, compared to only 300,000 to 400,000 pixels for standard definition cameras. The overall solution cost is no longer a problem when replacing analog or standard definition IP solutions with megapixel. Not only are fewer cameras required, the cost of accessories, licensing, wiring, installation and maintenance is also reduced. Analog systems simply can’t offer the same advantages of networked systems, which include scalability, megapixel video in terms of forensic and increased functionality. 

Addressing the issue of ROI with customers, integrators can promote the possibility of using fewer cameras to cover larger areas (thanks to megapixel resolution) and the functional advantages, including the ability to zoom in on specific areas of an image rather than having to invest in cameras with zoom, manual, vertical and horizontal movement. In short, it is important that customers fully understand the benefits of quality, cost-efficiency, functionality and total ROI of megapixel camera solutions.

Finally, the integrators must be able to design and install megapixel systems, providing they possess the necessary assistance and a clear understanding of megapixel capabilities in order to promote them properly. System integrators should also be able to recommend the ideal megapixel camera model according to customers’ requirements. Ultimately, what the customer wants is performance, functionality and reliability, with all the features they need to achieve their surveillance objectives including the protection of its organization’s assets and people. Users also increasingly demand systems with high resolution video, making it possible to obtain useful information from areas under surveillance. Megapixel video systems meet all these criteria.

The Role of End-Users

End users are quickly discovering the ROI and superior image quality of megapixel cameras. Increased knowledge of the products leads to a better understanding of the advantages of megapixel video solutions, and their possible applications, aimed at optimizing a system of enterprise-class security. This knowledge also enables end users to turn with confidence to integrators and suppliers to use the systems they designed, installed and monitored.

Once all the available benefits are understood, it is important that end users develop a long-term plan for transitioning their system to megapixel video in order to achieve set objectives. Companies that decide to install a new system all at once are in the minority. The end user needs to work with their partners to devise a plan of gradual transition to a new megapixel video system and ensuring the integration with other systems and technologies is seamless. The training value of megapixel video must involve not only the operations personnel security, but also the information technology staff and managers of the organization. With the interoperability afforded by today's IP security solutions, the end user can experience a wide range of configurations for megapixel video systems at any level.

In addition to informing management about the benefits and convenience of megapixel video systems, the security manager needs to work efficiently with the information technology (IT) department infrastructure. The involvement of the IT department is essential for the proper management, storage recording platform and network infrastructure. IT support is crucial for the implementation of megapixel imaging systems. 

The Role of Suppliers

Suppliers of megapixel video technology offer superior quality products based on their technological expertise and knowledge of market needs. Because of the wide range of applications, it is appropriate that the supplier provides several options to ensure customers receive the ideal solution to suit their needs. Examples include day and night cameras which are ideal for use in low light conditions, 180 and 360 degrees, dome cameras with integrated, high frame rate and quality standards. With such a wide range of models, manufacturers can meet the different needs related to the main video surveillance application and outlined objectives.

Suppliers also have the ability to educate the market about the advantages of megapixel video systems and new technological developments. This information can further dispel old prejudices related to costs and networking issues. For example, the use of the H.264 compression provides greater efficiency to resolve bandwidth and storage issues. By offering forums, courses, seminars and educational resources, resellers and end users have the ability to seamlessly migrate to megapixel technology solutions. 

One of the best ways in which suppliers can promote the use of megapixel video systems is to establish metrics and demonstrate the value of megapixel video in terms of their ultimate objectives. Suppliers know the potential of this technology better than anyone else, as well as which megapixel cameras deliver the best results for various applications. The ability to document the use of fewer cameras while quantifying the advantages of high resolution video for a specific application along with the reduction of security staff necessary to monitor cameras are ideal ways to demonstrate ROI. 

Suppliers often work with integrators to analyze specific applications to combine the value of a high definition images with standard compression technology. They can effectively demonstrate megapixel cameras’ electronic PTZ capabilities clearly illustrating the specific value of these features. In addition, continuous collaboration with the suppliers of video management software (VMS), archiving, analysis and network infrastructure is essential for simplifying the integration of megapixel video systems.

In short, the approach should not just focus exclusively on technical performance, but also on the overall benefits megapixel cameras provide for both systems integrators and end users.

An Industry in Transition

It is time for the leading players in the security market - systems integrators, end users and suppliers - to closely work together to optimize the transition to megapixel video systems. High-resolution imaging should no longer be considered just a feature of a system, but the fundamental basis, in order to provide a high video resolution and a higher value to client organizations.