In 2012, the video surveillance equipment sector is expected to increase by an estimated 25%, according to IMS research. With such a sales forecast, what can be anticipated for network cameras in 2012 and what new features and technology can be expected. a&s International China Best Buys talks to several Chinese manufacturers who are well known for their technology and innovative products.
Currently, the most well known are Hikivision and Dahua who have established themselves in the international market. Other notable manufacturers of network cameras are Launch, Sunell, TVT, Wision and several others. This issue a&s talks to China's well-known network camera manufacturers to gain an insight into what can be expected for 2012.
CCD or CMOS?
Often when speaking of the network camera the image sensor is a vital part and the most often talked about is the use of a CCD (Coupled Charged Device) and CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semi Conductor). It is widely known that of the two CCD provides a much better image quality but has greater costs. However, CMOS does still maintain its advantages, for 2012 what can we expect CCD or CMOS?
"2012 will continue to be dominated by CMOS network cameras due to lower costs" according to Hikvision's Network Camera Director Ying Xiangqun. Ying believes that cost is still a major consideration for customers and the market at this very moment in time.
The technology gap between CCD and CMOS is becoming less obvious, according to Demi Piao, Sales Manager of Wision Technology. CMOS is doing even better due to its lower power consumption and better heat dissipation," said Piao. However, CCD still retains its advantage on the global shutter technology. CCD despite being more expensive also has its disadvantage of being dominated by Sony.
CMOS technology has already reached the same level as CCD in 90% and above of the environments in which it operates it has reached the same results as CCD," said Joe Qiu, Overseas Business Director at TVT Technology. However, Xiang Wenxin, Chief Technical Officer at ZNV, clearly points out that regardless whether the use of CCD or CMOS is not the main concern as different markets have different requirements, but more importantly is the integration of design with technology.
It is worth noting that CCD and CMOS appeal to their respective markets, but for many manufacturers CMOS still seems to be the main image sensor used for network cameras due to costs and new innovative technology which has brought it to a new level.
Issues with High Resolution
High resolution is the new generation for network cameras in 2012, this trend will continue due to the markets demands for fine detail images. In the future, we can expect new technology for network cameras in the following areas: light inhibition, low bit rate control, plug and play and solutions for low light environments," said Yip Hao, Network Camera R&D Product Manager of Dahua Technology.
Even though, technology for megapixels has just begun but later this year the possibility of cameras with 10 megapixels could be possible,"said Luo Jiachen, Technician at WAPA. With compression being an issue with high resolution, Xiang believes that the market awaits for a low bandwidth compression solution which can preserve the high definition details.
However, there are still problems to overcome with HD such as compression, storage and other technology issues.The new trend seems to be heading towards cameras with even higher pixels with a resolution of 3-megapixels to 5-megapixels," "but the major consideration here again is image transmitting and storage costs "said Piao.
High definition has lots of potential areas for expansion such as face recognition and intelligent detection,"said David Ding, Overseas Manager at Launch Digital Technology. Currently, the majority of manufacturers have not yet put a lot of emphasis in the added value of HD or in other words there is not enough research and development in this area."
Piao points out that "emphasis should not be put on the resolution but the video analysis technology."With higher image quality being the new revolution, there are still problems to conquer with the technology, due to image encoding, transmission and decoding which can cause the image to be delayed.
Other companies such as TVT believe that high resolution satisfies the majority of customers but problems remain whether service related or product related. It seems that although high resolution is the continued trend for 2012, there are still many problems that remain to be solved.
With the increasing growth of the network camera market, there is the view that it will become a main solution. Ying believes this is not the case as this depends on market and customer preference and purpose of usage. Ding also points out that using one product to solve all problems is not realistic.
There are certain areas where HD does not have its advantages and, therefore, it cannot be seen as a solution for all situations. For example such as "low lux IP CMOS and CCD do not perform as well as analogue CCTV," said Michael Archer, Product Manager from Sunell Technology. "more pixels does not always mean greater quality and low light with higher pixels does not always bring a favorable picture image."