Scaling New ‘Highs' in Security? Not So Fast…
Editor / Provider: By the Editorial Team | Updated: 6/3/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics
HD video is emerging as an alternative to analog and standard IP solutions. However, several technical issues remain for transmission, processing and storage, with relatively few HD solutions ready for mass production. A&S finds out about the bottlenecks and issues for the SD migration to HD, along with access control and intrusion integration.
HD video surveillance is the latest offering in a largely unchanged video product lineup from this year's trade
|Sunny Lee, Business Development Director, Catalog Processors/EEE Products, Texas Instruments
shows worldwide. While manufacturers previously tried to cram as many megapixels as they could into their cameras, HD is now touted as the standard for real-time viewing at manageable bandwidth rates. As a consumer standard, most users see and grasp the difference between standard definition (SD) and HDTV-quality broadcasts.
But seeing the bigger picture is not without challenges. Not only are more pixels and TVLs being captured, they also require more bandwidth, processing and storage. These limit the number of channels that can be supported at higher resolutions. Uncompressed high-resolution video cannot be processed digitally either — an issue for open-platform VMS designed for IP inputs. HD cameras are hot — literally — due to the added computing power burning up components, which could reduce product life span.
These challenges have not stopped manufacturers from launching high-resolution products. From cameras, transmission peripherals to displays, dozens of Asian manufacturers have
|Fan Look, VP of North Asia, Axis Communications
product demos ready. While mass production shipping dates are up in the air, HD product development divides into two camps: compliance with the HDcctv Alliance and HD-SDI solutions. "Our HD-SDI cameras and DVRs are already HDcctv-certified and sampling worldwide, with highlighted interest from the U.S., U.K. and France; DVRs include the four-channel, real-time model and the hybrid model (two-channel HD and 14-channel analog)," said Randy Hong, Sales Manager at Micro Digital. "The overheating problem has been overcome with a special coolant."
EverFocus Electronics has a complete HDcctv camera lineup, compared to a single camera and DVR offering last year. Other vendors expect to commercialize HDcctv products by the end of 2011, such as Korean vendors Apro and Nextchip. Deeplet Technology, a maker of H.264 DVRs, is considering HDcctv, said Yvonne Lo, Manager.
To overcome storage issues, HD cameras should be connected to digital receivers so the signal is compatible with traditional DVRs, said Wayne Lee, Sales Representative, Yoko Technology.
However, uncompressed video takes up a great deal of storage. DynaColor's storage lineup includes an HD-SDI
|Ebony Huang, President and CEO, Brickcom
hybrid DVR, which also accepts analog inputs. The hybrid DVR supports 720p and 1,080p real-time recording, managing up to four 720p camera inputs.
Rifatron plans to launch an HD-SDI DVR in the third quarter of 2011, but current component solutions can only manage four-channel inputs. It expects HD-SDI to replace existing analog products, rather than Intersil/Techwell's security link over coax (SLOC).
SLOC transmits both analog and IP signals through coaxial cabling. Sony's latest "hybrid" camera models feature the SLOC technology, which requires added development cost on the receiving end.
Not everyone is convinced that HDcctv is the waveof the future. Seenergy believes HDcctv is just a transitory solution to IP and will not develop related products. Others like Hunt Electronic, GeoVision and Hikvision Digital Technology are still sitting on the fence.
The market for HDcctv exists, but it is a niche market. "HDcctv will impact the growth of IP, but it's a minimal effect," said Snow Hong, President of iCanTek. As components for megapixel cameras are relatively mature and readily available, this makes HDcctv less desirable, as the technology is still developing.
Components are a key differentiator, as development breakthroughs affect product performance. "Several challenges face video surveillance product engineers, including improving video quality and supporting standards, while keeping cost and power consumption down," said Robert Beachler, VP of Marketing, Operations and Systems Design, Stretch.
Along with HD cameras and DVRs, displays must also support for HD. IC Nexus was among a select few display manufacturers, such as Acula and Exland, with a twist — an HD touch panel based on ARM.
Even DVR reference designs feature touch screen support, while managing up to three 1,080p video streams at
|David Burks, Global Product Marketing Director, Seagate
60 fps, said Sunny Lee, Business Development Director, Catalog Processors/EEE Products, Texas Instruments. Its camera reference design supports dual-streaming of IP HD and analog D1 video, eliminating the need for a video server. Although HDcctv has its advantages, he feels the transceivers are too expensive.Image Sensors
CCD and CMOS sensors continue to enhance pixel counts, with CMOS working to overcome low-light shortcomings. Mintron designs both CCD and CMOS sensors used in its camera modules, which include an HD model, said David Chang, Sales Department.
CMOS in particular has seen strong uptake for multimegapixel applications. "In the transition from SD to HD, a key development is the global rolling shutter which removes the need for an iris, making CMOS solutions even more cost-effective," said S.K. Lee, President and CEO of Pixelplus.
Network cameras are advancing in compression and analytics as well. "As demand for higher-resolution video escalates, better compression formats such as H.265 and MPEG-7 will be developed to optimize video usability and postevent searches," said Cliff Cheng, Senior Business Development and Marketing Manager, Aptina Imaging. "In analytics, we see lighting, shadow and occlusion challenges gradually being resolved and sensor-level processing and video tagging becoming readily available, given the maturity of the 28-nanometer (silicon) process."
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Growing demand for IP-enabled products can also be seen in peripherals. Enclosure providers such as Videotec and Unitechno have made PoE available in their IP68-rated products, powering up network cameras, IR LEDs, fans and heaters in challenging environments. PoE-enabled wireless access points and nodes are available from EtherWAN, but their practicality in real life — where wired LANs are already in place — remains unknown.
But bandwidth requirements are dropping, with efficient compression schemes reducing the size of images and
|Ed Strong, Director of Marketing at Western Digital
new technology providing more bandwidth, said Fan Look, VP of North Asia, Axis Communications. "In the beginning, we had M-JPEG and 10-Mbps pipes; now, we have H.264 and 1-Gbps pipes."Transmission Distance
For HD streaming over coaxial or HD-SDI cables, transmission distance is another limitation, requiring a repeater at least every 100 to 150 meters. While this is not an issue for indoor applications, HD uptake is limited by distance.
The distance bottleneck could be overcome by converting coaxial signals to fiber, said Johnny Dou, Overseas Sales Representative, TVT Digital Technology. HDcctv quad splitters and accessories are able to reach 120 meters for 1,080p resolution, while 720p images can be transmitted 200 meters, said Su Tai, Sales and Marketing for GoMax Electronics. To be a member of the HDcctv Alliance, the minimum is 150 meters.
For full-HD hybrid storage, SLOC also increases transmission distance up to 500 meters, said Iris Yoon, GM of Business Development, Pinetron.Wireless
Network cameras run natively on IP, so wireless transmission is possible over Wi-Fi, WiMAX and 3-G, said Ebony Huang, President and CEO, Brickcom.
However, the non-IP nature of HD-SDI requires converting the signal, as well as increased bandwidth. "For high throughput, 2 Mbps used to be enough, but now HD and megapixel pushes bandwidth requirements up to 5 or 6 Mbps," said Jeremy Koh, Regional Sales Manager for APAC, Firetide.
Other challenges for HD video surveillance include implementing real-time, complex functions, said Yvonne Lin, Industrial Marketing Manager, Xilinx. While its FPGA supports HD-SDI cameras, the silicon combines video analytics, WDR and image processing. This type of load requires sufficient computing power, which will take time to support more than four cameras.
Increased resolution offers more detail. Vivotek released a 3-megapixel fisheye camera that can be digitally controlled through a touch-screen tablet interface, but takes a toll on real-time computing power.
HD and megapixel surveillance requires a great deal of recording space. Storage makers are keenly aware of
|Bach Chen, Director of Platform Technology, Huper Laboratories
high-resolution demand, as hard-disk drive (HDD) leaders Seagate and Western Digital have squared off with dedicated video surveillance drives. With Seagate announcing a partnership with Samsung and Western Digital intending to acquire Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the five leading HDD providers are now three, with Toshiba Corporation as the third player. Western Digital is No. 1 by unit shipments, while Seagate is No. 1 by revenue, due to its larger share of the enterprise segment.
A dramatic reduction in the cost of storage has enabled the adoption of HD. "In 1995, 1 GB of storage cost US$900," said David Burks, Global Product Marketing Director, Seagate. "Today, 1 GB costs about $0.08."
Having a competitive advantage, such as being the first to market with a 2-TB drive, gave Western Digital an edge for nearly two years. "We see huge potential in surveillance," said Ed Strong, Director of Marketing at Western Digital. "HDcctv is another key standard we will watch to see if it takes hold in the market. It means next-generation capacity points are more critical."
Merit Lilin will launch a 16-channel NVR offering 1,080p recording and display, which can add up to four 2-TB HDDs.
Solid-state drives are seeing more uptake on the edge. "In the real world, video storage and file systems for reading and writing are never sequential," said Alex Kuo, President of Memoright. Flash is suited for volatile, mobile conditions and has higher throughput, but costs more than HDDs.
Selecting the right type of storage requires understanding security needs. "Three factors affect performance: drive types, connecting interfaces and configurations," said Eddie Huang, Deputy Manager of Product Planning, Sales and Marketing, Promise Technology.
Other storage considerations are scalability, remote replication and tiered storage over the data life cycle, said Albert Weng, Director of Global Business Development, D-Link.
Mobile DVRs or NVRs must be rugged, with constant vibration ruling out most HDDs. "PC-based systems are too delicate for this setting, and embedded systems have less of a chance to break down," said Jeff Hsu, Regional Sales, Plustek.
Some onboard storage solutions combine flash memorywith PoE for power, as well as backup battery power, said Gary Chiang, GM of Panacom. However, HD surveillance will require added storage and power.Channel Density
As recording increases, the number of inputs affects the video surveillance system. "There is an estimated 4
|Tony Yang, International Marketing Director, Hikvision Digital Technology
million hours of recording per week in the U.S. alone," said Todd Matsler, Director of Segment Marketing, Embedded and Communications Group, Intel. "In the transition to HD in the next couple of years, several system design challenges will arise, the chief of which being channel density."
Current multichannel 1,080p processing beyond four channels can be tricky. "At the moment, the Intel Sandy Bridge platform allows for eight-channel, real-time hardware encoding and decoding at 1,080p, but with optimization, there is potential to go up to 40 channels," said Bach Chen, Director of Platform Technology, Huper Laboratories. "Pricing issues should be resolved within a year as the platform and HD-SDI serializers and deserializers become more readily available."
Other HD-SDI manufacturers have deployed Intel's Sandy Bridge platform for better encoding and decoding. "Our capture card supports five interfaces: RGB, SDI, HDMI, DVI and components," said Wendy Lin, Sales Director of Yuan High-Tech. While its software compression card can handle four channels of 1,080p resolution at 30 fps, more inputs will incur image lag.Analytics
Video analytics benefit from higher-resolution detail, delivering better identification in traffic applications such as ALPR or retail behavior analysis. "In system management, we expect to see more automatic and remote detection, diagnostics and healing, which provides ROI for all parties involved," Matsler said.
AVTech's network camera includes onboard analytics and complete Mac support for remote monitoring on an iPhone or iPad.
Metadata from analytics can speed up searches through recorded images. "In traffic monitoring, HD surveillance
|Hiroshi Sekiguchi, IP Security Product MD, Panasonic Systems
is required to read the plate number, driver's face and vehicle type or color," said Tony Yang, International Marketing Director for Hikvision Digital Technology.
Increased resolution and more powerful chips will yield more accurate intelligence, such as real-time facial detection and recognition, said Hiroshi Sekiguchi, IP Security Product MD, Panasonic System Networks.
Enhanced identification is ideal, but video content analysis (VCA) is notorious for false alarms. Adding another dimension with 3-D analytics can address problem areas such as depth, color, reflections and shadows, Chen said. Performed with two sensors, 3-D analytics leverage HD and faster processing, aiding accuracy.
Where VCA is placed in a video surveillance system depends on where it can provide the most value to users. "Easy integration with PSIM and VMS is the key ingredient, as it allows the solution provider to focus on solving the problems at hand, rather than making the components work with each other," said Edward Troha, MD of Global Marketing, ObjectVideo.
Higher resolution yields more data and requires more powerful VMS. Remote monitoring functions are being developed, enabling users to monitor their assets through smart phones or computers, said Jeremy Mauppin, European Sales for Acumen International.
Megapixel or HD cameras are typically deployed for wide-area surveillance applications, which can be large and complex. "A city surveillance system should be built on a testable and open platform, and is scalable," said Charles Cousins, MD of APAC, Genetec. Managing many cameras to work together as one is the ideal of effective VMS.
As IP emerged as the next step from analog, HD-SDI is now providing a third option. If combining IP and analog resulted in hybrid solutions, adding HD to the mix yields a new "tribrid" category. While no such products are commercially available to date, a number of makers are considering triple-play solutions.
PC-based models will likely come to market first, although stand-alone models are expected to roll out next year.
|Charles Cousins, MD of Asia Pacific, Genetec
"The ‘power struggle' between analog, IP and HD-SDI/HDcctv will not be as clear-cut as that between VCRs and DVRs," Chen said. "The need for seamless transitions and effective surveillance means that there is definitely demand for tribrid products with onboard analytics."
For now, existing solutions combine two of the three options. "Instead of busily carving out IP and HD-SDI market shares, we should first think about vertical-specific requirements and the enhancements we could do over existing infrastructure or various boxes," said Fengguo Yang, Director of Security and Surveillance Solutions, Digital Media Management, Hisilicon Technologies. "We are launching hybrid-camera reference designs: HD-SDI and IP, or HD-SDI and traditional analog."
Increased dialogue between component suppliers and end users could mean HD discussions evolve beyond mere pixel counts to power consumption and capital/ operational expenditure considerations, added Yang.
Higher-resolution video surveillance does not work in isolation; it is bolstered by integration with access control
|Fengguo Yang, Director of Security and Surveillance Solutions, Digital Media Management, Hisilicon Technologies
and intrusion systems. "We see greater integration with video surveillance, so our IP controller sells great with VMS developers like Genetec," said Kenneth Cheung, Director of Sales, Identity Assurance Management (IAM) East Asia and Secure Issuance North Asia, HID Global (an Assa Abloy company).
As the company moves beyond card reader hardware into IAM, the acquisition of ActivIdentity completes HID's
identity portfolio. It is also repositioning in the market with cloud development. "We work with management software companies to put video surveillance, alarms and access control together," Cheung said. "Successful integrations are rare."Biometrics
Biometric recognition has benefited from advances in image sensors and capacitative technology. Fingerprint provider Virdi performs liveness detection by deploying touch screen sensors from smart phones. Its fingerprint reader will not read fake fingers and also uses IR for detection.
Finger vein recognition goes more than skin deep, with deployments in finance, military and government applications, said Mandy Liu, Business Development Manager, Sonne Infotech.Intrusion Detection
Integration was a trend in intrusion detection, along with ease of use. Wireless DIY intrusion controllers are
|Kenneth Cheung, Director of Sales, IAM East Asia, Secure Issuance North Asia, HID Global
designed for five-minute installation; users simply insert a SIM card, plug in the unit and are done, said Ken Li, GM of Chuango Electronic. Arming the system only requires a press of a remote control button, right before people leave their homes.
IR illumination is becoming more efficient, powerful and reliable, said Michael Gu, Senior Marketing Manager, APAC Head of IR/HPL, Osram. This enables better detection for night vision, ALPR and traffic-monitoring applications.
Physical security has benefited from IT breakthroughs, and higher-resolution video attests to that. However, it still has a long way to go before each link of the chain comes together for a complete solution for various project sizes. As integration promises better resource management, video surveillance, access control and intrusion converge for more comprehensive security solutions.