Many believe the way forward is through IP security systems but 70% of the market has yet to make the move from analogue
High Definition technology - leading the way for new video security innovations

With new technological developments and innovations constantly being made, consumers are able to enjoy the benefits of higher quality products. Better technology means better gadgets and appliances for entertainment such as televisions but more importantly, it also means better security.  Simon Nash, Senior European Marketing Manager, Video Security for Sony Professional presents the case for the adoption of High Definition in the security market.

Now more than ever, High Definition (HD) viewing has become a must-have in everyday life. Looking at consumer habits and the ever-growing adoption of HD, it is easy to see that there is an increasing demand for greater immersive viewing experiences. Consumers are willing to invest in the latest TV technology and complete the viewing experience with DVD recorders and Blu-ray players. Considering the recent developments in feature films, 3D could be a way forward so, we can forget blurry lines because 3D in full high definition is an advanced picture experience. With these advancements happening in our living rooms, it has now translated into other industries. 

The growth of HD has helped with the advancement in video security where technology has enhanced the image quality of footage. Leaps in technological development have aided the evolution of video security, leading to clarity in resolution and sensitivity of processed images. There is undoubtedly an increasing market demand for HD products for the security industry, but only recently has there been the breadth of products to provide the motivation and means to upgrade systems and cameras.

Technology advancements in video security

The first security image was created in 1970 and was made up of just 64 pixels. Imagine trying to make out the silhouette of a burglar when the still image was gray and blurry; a far cry from the detail that can be seen today. Developments began as the growing need to heighten security in public places increased and these developments have greatly impacted the enhancement of video security.

With the rise in use of IP and the growing customer need for image quality and enhancements, there is now an increase in demand for higher resolution

Various strides in technology combined with social influences, such as the internet revolution and the increasing presence of Local Area Networks, have meant that companies are responding by further developing products in industries such as video security. These advancements have meant that video surveillance is now capable of two things; firstly going live over the internet and secondly, running over a closed network for surveillance to provide clearer, crisper images that can be tracked and manipulated more easily. IP cameras have led the way, as customers are able to view the camera footage over any Internet connection via a computer or a 3G phone, essentially securing the security. Despite this development not all customers have made the transition from analog to IP. Sony's Market Research Analysis has suggested that in 2010, only 35 per cent of cameras sold will be IP - with IP and analog equipment taking 50 per cent of the market each in 2012.

Moving into the future, the benefits of IP will outweight that of analogue systems
There is undoubtedly an increasing market demand for HD products for the security industry

Integrating IP and analog systems together with a hybrid solution has allowed customers who are not willing to move away from analog to IP to seamlessly combine the two. Customers are able to retain non-IP but trusted components, enabling the conversion of analog video signals to a digital video stream for IP-based networks. Considering the current economic climate, this solution is proving to be an essential improvement to security as businesses will be able to afford better security without replacing a whole system. By creating a seamless solution from analog to IP using an encoder, customers can also integrate standard and high definition equipment without replacing their existing system.

Benefits of HD Technology for image quality

With the rise in use of IP and the growing customer need for image quality and enhancements, there is now an increase in demand for higher resolution. This started with the introduction of the mega pixel camera and has driven the latest HD innovations, including the need for increased image quality, which is what customers need to provide positive identification in court hearings. So why turn to HD for security purposes? Considering that several years ago security images made people appear distorted, often only being able to make out their silhouette, now with HD, customers can clearly make out small numbers and lettering and also have a clear image of individuals.

In society today there is a great need for better security and with innovative solutions available and the clarity of HD leading the way we can all expect to feel safer

The quality of resolution also depends on the number of mega pixels the security camera has, this can range from approximately 1.3 mega pixels up to 4 mega pixels. Visibility enhancement can also dynamically optimize the brightness of each pixel in an image. When areas are dark or too light the visibility enhancer stretches the contrast of lit up portions and shadows, which means that clear, bright images are shown in very low-light conditions. The visibility enhancer also contributes to the sensitivity of the camera and with crime occurring statistically more at night, appropriate video security technology can greatly reduce crime.

Having a security camera that is capable of good sensitivity will dramatically change the brightness and clarity of the image. HD is able to achieve both resolution and sensitivity in good balance. Each of these aspects helps to create a more secure surveillance system, which has been developed for businesses and public places. Considering events such as 9/11 and the London bombings, there is a need for tighter and better security.

 In the future 3D CCTV could be explored as the 3D algorithms could be translated into CCTV footage
In the future 3D CCTV could be explored as the 3D algorithms could be translated  into CCTV footage

Going beyond HD technology in the security market

Concerning the future, security can only go beyond HD and develop even further. The recent development of eXcellent Dynamic Noise Reduction (XDNR) for the IP CCTV network can provide clear images  in low light conditions for both moving objects and still images. This will heighten security as it reduces image blur, which is present in outdoor footage and could potentially be used in car parks to help minimize theft. Another technology that has become a part of many consumers viewing pleasure is the development of 3D. In the future 3D CCTV could be explored as the 3D algorithms could be translated into CCTV footage.

Companies are now willing to invest more and ensure they have better resolution and clarity. Looking back, there is a clear revolution in surveillance, moving from pixel to mega pixel and now to high definition. Consumers have seen the development of high definition technology right from their living room, and from this it has become easier to understand specifications such as 720p and 1080p-full HD. In society today there is a great need for better security and with innovative solutions available and the clarity of HD leading the way we can all expect to feel safer. 

Simon Nash, Senior European Marketing Manager, Video Security for Sony Professional

Simon Nash
Senior European Marketing Manager,
Video Security

Sony Professional

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