The challenges of using multi-sensor panoramic cameras

The challenges of using multi-sensor panoramic cameras
Multi-sensor panoramic cameras are the fastest growing IP camera category, according to IHS. The predicted compound annual growth rate of 180- and 360-degree cameras for 2014 to 2019 is almost 30 percent. This is double the CAGR for PTZ cameras and way ahead of the figures given for boxed and fixed dome IP cameras. This rapid growth rate indicates that there is still an upside in the market for these solutions. 

Nevertheless, for all the benefits that these cameras can bring to security systems, they also come with their own specific set of requirements that may pose as challenges or difficulties to their application. Hence, it is necessary for installers and integrators to weigh the benefits against potential problems. 

Bandwidth and Storage Concerns
The demand for higher resolution videos and the growing adoption of multi-megapixel cameras has its implications on network demands and the VMS. Customers want to deploy more cameras on their network and this goes hand in hand with the need to minimize storage and bandwidth costs. For multi-sensor cameras, this will depend on the resolution and frame rate. However, these factors are not that different when compared to the alternative, which involves installing several separate cameras.

When it comes to costs, it seems the burning issue is storage. Depending on the client's needs, storage can make up 30 to 50 percent of the total cost of a video surveillance project, often surpassing the cost of the cameras themselves or the VMS software licenses. This demand for higher resolution and multi-sensor cameras has a significant impact on the network and brings about certain ramifications on bandwidth and storage. As storage is the biggest cost factor, reducing it will have the biggest impact on the total expense needed for the project.

Several tools exist that can help manage this. One such tool utilizes multi-streaming capabilities. This refers to the ability of users to use different camera streams for different purposes such as low resolution for the video wall or when streaming to multiple users. Conversely, high resolution recording can take place during specific events based on event-based camera templates.

Another storage-saving feature is motion-triggered recording, where the camera only starts recording when something in the scene is moving. However, this also runs the risk of missing out on something important or recording a false positive, like when there is actually no motion. The solution to this problem is to have continuous recording and assigning of dynamic changes to settings for frame rate and resolution whenever an event is detected. With this solution, the camera can boost data and capture more details when needed.

Weighing the Pros and Cons 
Panoramic cameras bring with them many advantages; however, they are not the only solution available out in the market. Even though they are capable of enhancing situational awareness, they have limitations when it comes to close ranges. Users are encouraged to test the cameras out before they make a purchase to make sure the cameras fit their demands. A reputable integrator should be able to provide them with options.
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