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Is video surveillance stepping into virtual reality?

Is video surveillance stepping into virtual reality?

The idea of virtual reality (VR) most likely conjures up images of users wearing large, awkward-looking goggles with arms extended "feeling" their way around a virtual world. The use of VR has primarily been used in the video-gaming world--even so, there hasn't been a whole lot of development since the 90s. However, that's all changed.

The IC Realtime IC720 360x360 Virtual
PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) video camera 

In the last few years, VR has made a sort of comeback. Companies like Google and Facebook are putting substantial resources into VR development — Facebook bought VR tech company Occulus VR in March 2014 for US$2 billion. Google’s Cardboard, the company’s DIY VR headset released in 2014, has shipped over 5 million units. Furthermore, Google estimates that there are over 1,000 compatible applications for Cardboard that have been published, with over 25 million application installs made. So, what about video surveillance as an application of VR?

While the use of VR in video surveillance hasn’t exactly caught on quite yet, some companies have applied VR technology to their surveillance offering.

One such company is IC Real Tech, a designer and manufacturer of advanced video surveillance solutions based in the U.S. The company’s IC Realtime IC720 360x360 Virtual PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) video camera is set to change “the way in which many security system companies will present surveillance systems to their clients,”said their press release.

According to the company’s press release, “The IC Realtime IC720 is a 24-megapixel dual-sensor 4K Virtual PTZ camera designed for professional applications. The camera captures 360-degrees horizontally by 360-degrees vertically, accomplishing fields-of-view that until now required several security cameras to achieve.” Additionally, “The company’s proprietary IC720 software app seamlessly stitches together each sensor’s video feed, and via a display device, users can view from floor-to-ceiling and completely around the camera itself, either monitoring in real-time or recorded content.”

With the 360x360 video, users can get a full picture of what is going on via tablet or smart device by tilting the device up/down or right/left. Paired with a VR headset, a user can “step into” the scene, enabling them to “truly experience an environment as if they were there — simply moving their head around to take in the scene.”

More recently at CES 2016, IC Real Tech expanded its 360-degree offerings with the ALLie VR and ALLie Cardboard VR headsets, the latter of which is modeled after Cardboard.

The cool factor of VR in video surveillance definitely has appeal, but is it necessary? Probably not. However, in an industry where lack of innovation has been less than inspiring, taking technology like VR and applying it to the relatively uncool application of video surveillance shows promise that even video surveillance can join the cool kids in the tech industry.

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