Can 4K video surveillance help the enterprise?
By John Brandon
In a large company, the more you know about building security issues, the better. And this autumn, new 4K video technology will help the enterprise watch for intruders, monitor the premises, and even assist with court cases where a theft or break-in has occurred. No longer the purview of FIFA World Cup final match broadcasts and experimental streaming over Netflix, 4K has several distinct advantages in terms of video quality and resolution.
“Covering a large warehouse or busy hallways would be easier with the added resolution. More pixels added into the image allows for the user to zoom into the picture without sacrificing image quality which makes this technology optimal for security to begin with. For smaller areas current surveillance technology will do the job,” says Ari Zoldan, a technology analyst.
Zoldan says there are several options for creating a 4K video surveillance network. This autumn, Bosch security will release the Dinion IP Ultra 8000 MP camera for corporate security use. According to Bosch, the camera can be used for tracking the location of intruders and making facial recognition scans using a much higher resolution than 1080p HD video.
Axis Communications also makes the AXIS P1428-E camera, which streams in HD quality to a central server but can record in 4K resolution. If there is a security issue, employees could investigate using the 4K footage stored locally on the camera.
“The widespread deployment of 4K HDTV video surveillance cameras for a large user not only provides increased opportunities for improved investigations, but also business intelligence. For example, personnel and customer paths are more accurately traced, and the resolution is high enough to often support multiple content analysis opportunities like people counting and vehicle plate recognition,” says Steve Surfaro, a spokesperson for Axis Communications.
Surfaro says there are several pieces of the puzzle required to make 4K video work for building security purposes. The security camera has to support 4K video – most are also equipped with local flash storage. The second is a network-attached storage appliance which provides storage for nearby cameras and redundancy of storage. Companies also need a server capable of transmitting the 4K video and a server must be used for decoding and analysing the footage. Lastly, a 4K monitor (such as those from Dell and HP) is required in order to view the stored footage.
For most companies, putting these pieces together could prove challenging. The servers and network infrastructure may be in place, but many desktop monitors do not support full 4K video running at 3840 x 2160 resolution. The issue is compounded by the fact that a building might use multiple 4K security cameras for monitoring, further increasing storage and network needs.
“If a company is switching to 4K, they need to be prepared to have at least four times more capacity in their network while maintaining data integrity, flexibility and performance,” says Chris Gladwin, Vice Chairman and Founder of Cleversafe, an object storage company.
“To check if this is possible, IT management must determine if their network is capable to take on a new influx of data. If the current system has already begun to experience degradation in performance or there are new challenges such as reliability limitations, the system may not be equipped to take on increased amounts of complex storage and an IT manager should explore increased network capacity, such as adding additional 10 Gigabytes (Gbps) network connections or adding higher performance connections, such as 40 Gbps Ethernet.”
“The network architect or IT designer may decide not to use Network Attached Storage Devices, thus requiring the network infrastructure to bear the 4K streams to the recording server. Internal and distributed storage provides redundancy efficient video stream management,” adds Surfaro.
To use the 4K video footage in a court case, there has to be a way to easily transport the stored video, which tends to have much higher storage requirements, and then play the 4K video.
“If the court has the technology to present it in the full 4K image resolution and the image was taken at the perfect angle, it’s possible,” says Zoldan. “The image is crisp and the higher frame rate would make it easier for police to get a clear image of a criminal even if they were moving, and the high resolution doesn’t sacrifice quality if they have to deal with large crowds.”
“4K can provide improved opportunities to identify an individual, vehicle or object in real time observation and forensic review,” says Surfaro. “A video source capable of supporting the identification of a person or vehicle of interest depends not only on resolution, but imager, image processing, lens, illumination and compression efficiency. With all parameters being equal, 4K provides four times the resolution of 1080p HDTV video sources.”
Of course, with any technical advancement, companies have to weigh the pros and cons. The technology is still so new that the broadcast networks in the UK and the US have not made any plans to offer channels in 4K, and 4K televisions are not exactly flying off the shelf.
Yet from what we know about technology adoption, there is usually an announcement about an innovation, slow deployment in consumer markets, widespread adoption with consumers, and then a trickle down effect into large companies.
The exact same paradigm shift happened with HDTV 1080p video with consumers before it replaced the video conferencing systems used in companies (which typically relied on older televisions without HD capabilities). With 4K, the technology is now poised for widespread adoption as most new televisions use the higher resolution. It’s just a matter of time before 4K becomes a business standard.
For early adopters and companies that can benefit the most from the increased resolution – such as law firms, banks, credit card processors, or pharmaceuticals – the timing might be just right. 4K could provide the right increase in resolution to make a video security system even more valuable in the near future.
Via: Video feed