Cube cameras: Enhanced features for improved surveillance
Editor / Provider: Editorial Department, a&s International | Updated: 2/24/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics
Small business owners or regular homeowners merely want to be able to monitor their property without having to install a full-fledged system. However, most DIY cameras are too basic to fulfill these end users' requirements, such as inefficient resolution or insufficient frames per second, but regular professional systems offered on the market can be quite extraneous for regular home use. Hence, when the compact but full-featured cube cameras appeared on the market, they quickly became the perfect alternative to the costly surveillance solutions that most consumers and SMBs simply cannot afford nor need.
In smaller settings, or for simpler applications, surveillance solutions do not need to be complicated to get the job done. “The need of home surveillance is just basic and easy setting. In the high-end sector, it needs many functions but this sector does not. The complexity of system and position are different than high-end products,” stated John Wu, Sales VP at Hunt Electronic.
Cube cameras are mainly designed for indoor surveillance, such as small- to medium-sized business offices, shops that only need a four- to six-channel system, and home applications. Main features include compact design, wireless connection, Wi-Fi protected setup for easy and secure wireless network connection, mobile surveillance application, and easier and more cost-efficient installation and configuration, according to Ma.
According to Quentin Miao, Head of Global Marketing at D-Link, 1 to 4 cameras are typically needed for home monitoring, located at important entrances (such as front and back doors), bedrooms, nurseries, or living areas. SMBs usually employ 4 to 16 cameras for important entrances, lobbies, stairwells, and storage areas or warehouses.
Furthermore, cube cameras provide flexible installation in indoor areas where restrictions may be imposed on certain types of installation. For example, “in rented spaces, it may not be allowed to mount a full-fledged dome camera into the ceiling or to open walls in order to install cabling. Wireless cube cameras allow for very flexible mounting and positioning without the need to worry about cabling,” added Vigren. This flexibility makes it much more convenient for users as it can be deployed in various applications without any permanent damages to the surrounding environment.
Though they certainly are a possible solution for a majority of the residential and SMB sector, there are some minor disadvantages for cube cameras that can limit their performance. “Due to its form factor, cube cameras are mostly used in indoor environments. Even though some manufacturers have released outdoor versions, the reliability cannot compare to standard outdoor cameras such as a bullet camera. Also, with the fixed lens and limited field of view, cube cameras are suitable for small-sized areas. Cube cameras normally do not have many light-handling capabilities like low light, true WDR etc., so it cannot perform as well as other professional cameras when facing some challenging conditions,” commented Wu from Hikvision. End users must be aware of these particular limitations so they are not used incorrectly in an unsuitable environment or application.
Solutions, Not Devices
By utilizing a wireless connection, cube cameras allow users to view high-resolution videos remotely from their browser or any other mobile devices. It also eliminates the complications caused by multiple cables and wires. Cube cameras can offer professional-grade surveillance that goes up to 2-megapixel resolution at 30fps, which gives much better, smoother video/image quality than DIYs, which typically are 1 megapixel and 15fps max. In terms of low-light performance, some cube cameras are equipped with the mechanical ICR to deliver much sharper nighttime images and truer color at daytime. Also, some cube cameras are built with IR night vision that can reach 10 meters, which is about twice as far than the DIY's that have IR LEDs. The further the IR distance, the clearer the image gets in poorly lit environments, according to Ervin Wang, Sales Director at Messoa Technologies.
Coming from the software business, Mobiscope believes the biggest issue that customers encounter is the software which comes with cameras and work to correct mistakes in software made by hardware manufacturers. For instance, Mobiscope offers motion detection alerts regardless whether the camera has this feature or not, and cloud storage for video recordings that customer can access anywhere – on mobile device, in any web browser, even for the most affordable cameras, according to Alexander Ostrovsky, CMO of Mobiscope.
For those who are unfamiliar, it is necessary to highlight exactly what separates cube cameras from regular DIY cameras on the market. “The main differentiations of our cube cameras are professional performance and features, normally only found in more expensive camera types, especially low-light performance, PoE, edge storage, and support for alarm inputs and outputs. Also, we know that customers nowadays are always looking for solutions, not just devices, so our cube cameras come with both our feature-rich NVR software and our easy-to-use, plug-and-play cloud solution,” Shau-Chau You, VP of Zavio mentioned.
Despite the emergence of cube cameras that are fulfilling the needs of the residential and SMB sectors, a few DIY cameras are actually hitting the benchmark too. For instance, some which are designed for the DIY market also feature low-light technology for color images even in dim light, which makes it possible to resolve details like hair and skin color, license plate numbers, and so on. The cameras are also easy to set up and install due to their unique cloud platform, according to Miao.
The availability of such sophisticated technology on a regular DIY camera certainly goes to show the extent of today's surveillance technology. In order to deal with competition from the DIY camera manufacturers, some professional cube camera manufacturers are teaming up with “security or telecom operators to create more complete solutions with more added value and return on investment for customers,” according to Ma.