CCTV users who have thus far resisted moving toward IP technology may be missing out on the versatility that IP security cameras offer through video analytics.
High resolution analog cameras can do the job for most users of video surveillance systems. TV lines of greater than 600 are common, and the low lux ratings for day/night cameras are vast improvements over earlier analog technology (Read about resolution differences between IP and Analog).
However, in critical applications where forensic evidence is needed to solve a crime or to troubleshoot a critical manufacturing operation, the greater resolution of IP cameras, along with the versatility of their direct digital images, may be the difference between success and failure upon review of the video.
Digital Image Manipulation: IP over Analog
An IP camera captures an image in digital format as opposed to analog cameras which convert an image to digital by the use of an encoder. As a direct digital image, one captured by an IP camera can be dissected, zoomed in, masked off, and analyzed without distortion.
The tools which allow this manipulation of the digital image are generally referred to as video analytics. While analog systems have some capability for analytics, they work within the limitations of the quality of the image that is captured.
If someone captures an image at a distance of 50 feet with an analog camera, depending on how large the object is, the image will never look less distorted than it does at that distance. The more it is magnified (zoomed in), the greater is the distortion of margins, or lines, of the object. An image that is drastically magnified is unusable because of the lack of distinctive lines.
With a native digital image, however, magnification (zooming in) presents a close-up view of the captured image so that a car captured on an IP camera at 200 feet still looks like a car when it is magnified 20 times.
So as not to confuse people, it does not mean you can read the VIN number on the car (this isn’t a television cop show) it means that there is no blurring of the image that is captured. IP cameras cannot improve upon the quality of the captured image. However, they do allow manipulation of the image without distorting it.
READ MORE: And check out Travis’ post on HD CCTV
Video Analytics Growth
Video analytics is on the rise with improved technology and smarter security systems. Here is a chart of the video analytics market by industry, projected to grow to roughly $1 billion by 2016 (source: ABI Research).