Panasonic System Solutions has merged with Panasonic Communications Company, since January, to become Panasonic System Networks. The new business entity is focusing on accelerating the migration from analog to IP with smart solutions.
In security, migrating from analog to IP can sometimes mean headaches for system integrators and users. "Currently, the analog installed base is still sizable among our clientele," said Atsushi Nogami, Group Manager for the Overseas Marketing Group, Panasonic System Networks. "We understand why certain users are hesitant. The initial cost of IP-based equipment is still high. Setup can be complicated."
Therefore, the company is offering an affordable alternative to every one of its customers to switch from analog to IP easily and conveniently. In March, Panasonic introduced the third generation of the i-PRO series based on the SmartHD concept. It consists of three priorities.
"No. 1 is 'One Panasonic.' From high-end to entry-level, we fulfill every customer requirement, and we provide any camera of the customer's choice," Nogami said. "No. 2 is a migration path. Since we have many customers using our analog systems, we need to provide them with a path for smoother transition."
The third key is ease of use, offering simple and smart setup capabilities at affordable prices to alleviate users' cost concerns over IP-based surveillance.
The average criminal apprehension rate is only roughly 3 percent. "Poor surveillance images don't help. Bad people have to be identified," Nogami said.
This is where the "HD" comes in, with the proprietary UniPhier platform enabling 720p HD video (1,280 horizontal by 720 vertical) with H.264 high-profile compression at 30 fps. The new line transmits dual H.264 streams simultaneously.
"For the NVR, 1.3 megapixel with 30-fps recording is possible, and for multiscreen displays, the other video stream can be transmitted at VGA resolution to reduce usage of network bandwidth," said Makoto Sube, Group Manager for the Camera Group, Panasonic System Networks.
"JPEG images can also be made available if necessary or per system requirements," Sube continued.
Combining a 1/3-inch CMOS sensor, 3-D DNR and 0.3-lux sensitivity in color, the new SmartHD cameras are also equipped with wide dynamic and face detection capabilities.
"Faces can be detected automatically and clearly even against strong backlight," Sube explained.
Another smart feature is its variable resolutions on specified areas (VRS). "To save bandwidth and storage, VRS enables users to set different resolutions at areas with varying interest in one camera view."
At the moment, test results show savings of up to 25 percent.
To simplify IP migration and reduce the TCO, three other options are available — H.264 encoder, IP matrix server software and coaxial LAN converter.
"Some users refuse to replace their analog system because they think the existing system works fine and it was an investment," said Tooru Takahashi, Group Manager for the Recorder Group, Panasonic System Networks.
"These three options help their system migrate smoothly from analog to IP. Full frame rate video transmission compressed in H.264 high profile is made possible, with seamless control over IP-based and analog devices by utilizing existing coaxial cable to connect with network cameras," Takahashi highlighted.
Such IP migration also means lower installation cost and lower maintenance cost to users.
In software development, Panasonic believes in balance. "We also work with many software partners worldwide," Takahashi said. "Either by working on our own or with partners, Panasonic always offers new solutions and beneficial functions to meet our customers' needs."
Panasonic System Networks is reallocating every available resource of Panasonic System Solutions (PSS) and Panasonic Communications Company (PCC), to develop and manufacture security systems more economically under one Panasonic, Nogami said.
"The merger is still undergoing a transition, but there will be just one window to customers in the end," Takahashi said. "PCC and PSS products will share the same protocols to bring users more flexibility and choices."
Perhaps it is easier for everyone, said Nogami. "We will be unified as one window, one platform and one protocol, to better cater to different customer needs in a consolidated manner."