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The Benefits Of PTZ Cameras

Looking back, Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) cameras have come a long way. As technology as has advanced, PTZ cameras have decreased in size and weight while offering even better features and functions.

These high-quality PTZ cameras are ideal for monitoring large, open spaces both indoors and outdoors. Some examples include casino, malls, airports, and stadiums, where effective and efficient surveillance is necessary.

As with any security system, selecting the right PTZ camera system comes down to individual security needs. Here are some important features to consider when choosing PTZ cameras.

Video Analytics
Now nearly all PTZ systems are equipped with video analytics which provide numerous benefits:

  • Directional Behaviors – notify operators or active cameras when someone or something moves against the designated flow of traffic (ex. someone trying to walk into an exit path).
  • Abandoned Object Behaviors – enables video system to alert security personnel when an object (ex. backpack, box, or briefcase) is set down and left unattended.
  • License Plate Recognition, Facial Detection, Perimeter Detection & related analytics.
  • Tripwire Behavior – activates a camera or triggers an alarm or other operations when a person or object moves into a restricted area.

Auto-Tracking
Arguably one of the most valuable features of PTZ cameras, auto-tracking controls the PTZ actions of a camera to automatically track (keep in field of view) an object in motion. This can be triggered manually or automatically by defined rules. Once a rule is triggered, the camera automatically zooms in and tracks the defined target.

Advanced Video Compression
The H.265 compression standard enables much higher compression ratios with lower bandwidth and storage requirements than before, providing higher resolution images and deeper systems integration. However, optimized implementations of the H.265 codec are emerging, like the Smart H.265+. In comparison to the standard h.265 video compression, Smart H.265+ reduces bit rate and storage requirements by up to 30 percent.

High-Definition Video Over Coax
Legacy coax systems can be easily upgraded to HD video using existing analog infrastructure thanks to HD video over coax. With this option, there is no latency in system responsiveness and no video compression, so the images maintain a high level of detail without stretching or distortion. In addition, there is no need to install a separate cable to control PTZ since coaxial cable allows for bidirectional data transfer. Overall, this is a cost-effective way to upgrade PTZ cameras.

Infrared (IR) Illumination
With PTZ cameras, IR illumination is applied as needed. There is usually an array of three distinct areas of infrared illuminators – each with a different angle of dispersion for the IR light: wide angle, telephoto, and interim angle.

As an example, when an operator optically zooms in from wide angle to telephoto, IR illuminator LEDs will turn on and off to provide the appropriate illumination. And when the camera is in zoom mode, it adjusts the IR illumination so that the system is not flooding the entire 120-degree view. These automatic modifications illuminate the area in view, producing better video and reducing the amount of power required.

Video Quality Expectations

Zoom Factor vs. Focal Length – Keep in mind that a higher zoom factor does not always provide a better video image. The focal length of the lens will provide a better indication of what is appropriate for an application.

Plastic vs. Glass – Remember not all lower domes (the protective housing at the bottom of a PTZ camera) are the same. While most manufacturers use a plastic lower globe to protect the camera and optics, this can offer a lower degree of optical clarity. As the camera pans up toward the horizon, it begins to view through the globe in areas where it has the least uniformity (where most optical distortions can occur).

Glass lower globes (or a flat piece of glass, as provided by some companies) are more optically pure and consistent in comparison. These glass coverings enable dome systems to feature higher resolution sensors and longer optical zooms thanks to their clear and consistent nature.

Some modified lower dome designs allow for above-the-horizon viewing – ideal for those who need to monitor rough terrain or scenes on different planes of view.

Thinking about installing a PTZ system on your property? We carry a great collection of quality PTZ security cameras. Browse our stock online or call 888-203-6294 to request a site survey, free quote, or inquire about our installation services. Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Security Cameras: Types, Housing & Features

Shopping for security camera systems may seem like a one-size-fits-all deal, but, unfortunately, it is not. Because there are a plethora of security camera types and surveillance features to be considered, it will take some time to decide. Evaluate your security needs, do some research and weigh your options. To make it easier, we will break down the different types, housing, and common features of security cameras.

Types
The following are the advantages and disadvantages of common security camera types.

  • Fixed – As the name suggests, fixed cameras are positioned to capture an image and are always pointing in the intended direction. Because these do no move, they are more reliable than PTZ cameras and can be optimized with different housing and features.
  • PTZ Cameras– PTZ stands for Pan, Tilt, and Zoom, thus, these cameras can be remotely positioned (thanks to specially designed motors and gears). These cameras may be set to automatically patrol an area, but they seem to be most effective when manually controlled.

For zoom capabilities, 32X is fairly common, although some higher end cameras may have a greater zoom range. While a greater zoom range is helpful when covering a large area, it is not always necessary.

However, there are some downfalls. Because PTZ cameras can adjust its viewing range, there are chances that they may miss something. Also, zoom decreases the size of the area being covered, and the camera can only be facing one direction at a time.

  • 360-Degree Cameras – Also known as virtual PTZ, the 360-degree camera utilizes several high resolution fixed cameras in a single housing (usually dome). The images are then stitched together and can be zoomed in on after recording (zoom capabilities depend on the cameras being used). Because this type of camera can face in all directions, it can be an effective forensic tool.

Unfortunately, these cameras are often oversold as a universal solution, despite the fact that very few rooms allow for an unobstructed view in all directions. In applications where this camera is necessary, it often does wonderfully. However, a standard fixed camera can be paired with a lens to give it a 120-degree to 140-degree view. Also, many rooms are better monitored with cameras in corners (which only require a 90-degree field of view).

Housing
Once you have chosen the camera type, housing will come into play.

  • Outdoor – Because of changing environmental elements, outdoor camera housing will be more weather resistant and include heaters and blowers.
  • Dome – These are designed to obscure the direction of the camera to outsiders. This is often the best deterrent, making it a high priority and often a default selection. Most people assume dome cameras cover the entire area, making a fixed dome camera covering a door entrance more effective.
  • Bullet – These are named for their sleek, cylindrical shape, often times resembling a bullet. This housing clearly shows the direction of the lens and generally provides a better picture. The front of the housing is close to the camera lens, decreasing reflections and making it easier to maintain. These act as deterrents as well, but are not as effective as ambiguous housing.
  • Discreet – These completely disguise the camera as something else, such as a smoke detector or motion sensor, or as nothing at all, with pinhole or flush mount lenses installed in a wall or ceiling. Because they are hidden, they are not designed to be deterrents. These are often favored by architects looking to achieve a certain aesthetic.

All types of housing can be made to be vandal resistant, which is a step up from weather resistant. These types of housings are most commonly dome shaped and are designed to withstand unfriendly environments while still providing a usable image.

Features
The selection of features for your security cameras will depend on the application and your individual needs.

  • Resolution – Resolution is measured in megapixels (millions of pixels) and is a major factor in picture and video quality. The higher the resolution, the more space required to store the images and processing power to manipulate it.

To demonstrate the differences in resolution, an old analog camera is about ¼ megapixel, an HDTV screen is just over 2 megapixels, and the highest resolution projected image in movie theaters (4K) is 8.8 megapixels.

While higher resolution cameras may be appealing, these do not respond as well as lower resolution cameras in low light situations. Thus, it is possible to buy more resolution than you need, unnecessarily increasing storage costs while decreasing performance.

  • Low Light – Cameras with day/night capabilities are able to automatically adjust modes in various lighting situations. With advanced technologies, these cameras are able to produce usable images in near total darkness.

There are also cameras with infrared illuminators, which provide their own light source to obtain better images in low light settings. As mentioned, in order to improve low light performance, you will need to sacrifice some resolution.

  • Lens Features – Varifocal lenses allow the installer to manually adjust the image magnification when installing the camera. However, many fixed cameras now come with remote zoom and focus (allowing the user to adjust the camera without physically going to the camera site), as well as auto-focus.
  • Advanced Options – Other options to consider include wireless signal transition, ultra-high resolution, thermal imaging, explosion proof housings and more.

No matter what the application, there’s likely a perfect security solution thanks to the comprehensive options available. And while the selection process may seem overwhelming, we are here to help. Feel free to browse our CCTV surveillance systems online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with a representative.

You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest!

The Modernization Of The Security Camera Industry

From simple cameras that captured video of the area in front of them to advanced cameras that offer exceptional features, our security camera systems have come a long way. The security industry has embraced the high-tech boom, offering sophisticated solutions and attracting more interest from consumers, thus driving home security system sales up over the years. We can only expect this to continue thanks to these security camera innovations, as well as those yet to come.

360-Degree Views
Video quality was once the defining factor of how advanced your camera was. Since high-definition and improved resolutions have taken care of that aspect, focus has now turned to the range and extent of camera views. Currently, most cameras can offer about 130-degree views, but 360-degree views are already being offered by newer security cameras.

Facial Recognition
This type of biometric technology enables your security cameras to distinguish strangers from members of the household. By doing so, home owners can be alerted to when members arrive home, as well as when unwelcome guests try to enter.

Night Vision
What was once a special feature has now become a standard function for security cameras. Night vision cameras can see almost as well as they can during the day and are often built to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.

Smartphone Integration
The security room, dedicated to numerous monitors and feeds, is becoming obsolete. Modern technology is now allowing security cameras to be integrated with smart phones, sending the live feed directly to these devices. Users are even able to change the angle of the camera from their device to investigate the area in question further.

Solar Power Integration
Solar-powered camera systems are much more energy efficient and can cut out the complications and vulnerabilities of hard-wired camera systems. A broader range of businesses are able to access security solutions thanks to solar-powered security cameras paired with wireless systems.

Two-Way Talk
This feature is especially convenient for parents and pet owners to check in on their loved ones. Users are able to communicate through the camera to check in with kids or scold unruly pets. This feature can also be used to scare off intruders remotely, avoiding any immediate danger.

Voice Control
Voice commands and voice control has become a staple in our everyday lives, so bringing it into the security realm only makes sense. With voice control technology, you are able to manage your security systems completely hands-free. For example, you can turn on a camera, lock the house, or close the garage by simply activating voice command.

Which of these features do you find is the most effective and convenient? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a great selection of security cameras and CCTV surveillance systems, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information about free CCTV quotes, site surveys, and installation services, please call 888-203-6294.

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