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All eyes: trends in outdoor surveillance

01 Oct 09

The security sector has held up well during these tough economic times and is continuing to grow. One area of security  that has an increasing number of opportunities for the channel is security surveillance, where resellers can capitalise on the convergence of traditional analogue and IP-based security solutions.

Outdoor security is essential for many businesses, with the outdoor perimeter of a site often representing an important  security gateway. Outdoor security systems provide the fi rst view of visitors, intruders or other members of the public, providing the most time to react effectively, if needed.

Alastair Hayfi eld, Senior Market Research Analyst at IMS Research, believes that robust, effi cient outdoor  surveillance is becoming more and more important to security professionals. “IMS Research is forecasting long-term  double-digit revenue growth for applications that require outdoor surveillance, particularly public area surveillance and  perimeter protection,” he says.

For many industries, from education and government to retail, outdoor surveillance is just as essential totheir overall  security picture as the indoor system; often even more so. Each outdoor application has special demands, but successful video surveillance demands suitable image quality and equipment reliability regardless of conditions, as well as cost-effective installation and user- friendly operation.

Reliability in extreme conditions
Unlike indoor locations, where most variables can be held within narrow and predictable ranges, outdoor locations  strain video surveillance to its limits. Changes in the natural environment must be taken into consideration too. For  example, trees can grow very quickly and block the intended fi eld of vision, so a comprehensive site survey prior to installation is essential.

In many outdoor surveillance situations, cameras are likely to experience adverse weather conditions. This can range  from rain and snow, to thunderstorms and extreme cold or heat. Outdoor surveillance equipment must be designed with  these factors in mind, and be able to withstand the toughest conditions. It is important the device’s enclosure is  watertight to prevent water damage to the equipment. To ensure this, use IP (Ingress Protection) rated housing; this  rating is given to outdoor surveillance equipment to certify its resistance to water and dust.

Tampering and vandalism
By their very nature, surveillance cameras can be unpopular with individuals who don’t wish their actions to be  monitored. It’s therefore important for cameras to be able to withstand attempts to disable them, using a vandal- resistant design, hardened casings and active tampering alarms. It also helps to use equipment that is unobtrusive in  design, so as not to call attention to it.

Image quality
But it’s not enough merely to be able to operate in harsh conditions; cameras also need to deliver high-resolution image  quality coupled with high frame rates – very important when dealing with fast-moving subjects and varying  lighting conditions. High image quality is especially important in applications such as parking lot, city or perimeter  surveillance, and at airports, seaports and train stations, in order to clearly identify people and vehicles. Security cameras need to be able to cope with all levels of lighting, using infrared technology at night and iris control in bright  sunlight to ensure exceptional image quality at all times.

Ease of installation
Whether a site needs five cameras or 500, installation is critical and often costly. Outdoor network cameras are often  placed in difficult areas: high up on walls, ceilings or poles, for example. In large-scale systems with hundreds of  cameras, all time savings during installation will significantly reduce the system cost: the easier the installation and  configuration, the greater the benefits to both the customer and the installer. 

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