SIA Member Exchange: More Pixels, Higher Returns with Arecont Vision (SIA)

Arecont Vision, Glendale, Calif., was the first camera manufacturer to break many barriers, delivering security cameras with higher and higher resolutions of 2 to 10 megapixels (MP).

Scott Schafer, Arecont Vision executive vice president of sales, said this was always the focus of Arecont Vision, which was founded by two men who figured out how to put CMOS imaging sensors into cellphones as employees of PhotoBit, a spin-out of Jet Propulsion Laboratories.

The founders struck out on their own to start Arecont Vision in 2003, and since then, the company has become a global leader in high-resolution surveillance cameras. When Mr. Schafer joined the company more than six years ago, it had one product line of box cameras. Today, it has seven product lines, with the goal of smaller, faster, less expensive cameras.

For 40 years, the security industry labored with traditional surveillance VGA cameras that offered only a resolution of about 300,000 pixels. The number of pixels per dollar, a way to measure return on investment, of such a camera today is about 1,536, Schafer estimated.

“That's the worst investment you can make, and that's the video we've all been looking at for the past 40 years,” he said during a visit with the staff of the Security Industry Association (SIA) this week.

The pictures are blurry; operators cannot see the faces of people, and they cannot read license plates on cars. By contrast, a 2MP camera, also known as HDTV 1080p, offers about 5,891 pixels per dollar. At the high end of the market, a 10MP camera offers 18,438 pixels per dollar.

“The answer isn't every camera shouldn't be 10 MP,” Schafer said. “Somewhere between two and five is probably where you should be spending your money to get the most value for your dollar.”

Arecont Vision’s high-growth, emerging technologies have won the attention of many Fortune 500 companies. 

Those customers came to adopt Arecont Vision cameras through various means, including different systems integrators. But Arecont Vision still strives to maintain a presence with corporations even when faced with changes in their partner integrators. In that way, the company remains the preferred manufacturer for their clients, Schafer said.

“I wouldn't leave it to chance because there could be other choices and we need to stay close,” he said.

Generally, Arecont Vision seeks to increase image quality and cover more space with fewer surveillance cameras for its clients, offering a tremendous return on investment.

“We make life easier in many ways with our panoramic cameras for security operators to do their jobs,” Schafer said.