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From Big Brother to big help …

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Video surveillance in 2016 is not only better and cheaper, but does a lot more than keep criminals in check. Most companies adopt video surveillance for insurance reasons, but it may be one of the most underused assets they own. Roy Alves, business development manager at Axis Communications, outlines the trends in 2016 that are taking surveillance technology to a whole new level.

High definition colour video is mainstream
Since last year image sensor companies have drawn attention to the fact that high definition (HD) video is the mainstream standard. It is increasingly unlikely to find any camera that can’t record at high resolutions such as 1080p, in colour and at a high frame rate.
The market is pushing 4K or Ultra HD as the new benchmark, although still relatively expensive there is a trend of prices falling. As the demand for HDTV in the consumer electronics market grows so does the Instead companies can buy HD cameras at starter prices, much like how a modern HDTV is more affordable because it is so commonplace.
And HD is good, said Alves: “A high resolution video means more clarity. I cannot tell you how often criminal cases fall apart because a person isn’t clearly identified on a video thanks to a lack of detail and colour. If someone wears a purple shirt that is something you want recorded. The higher frame rates also help increase the number of pictures which then reduce the frequency of image blurring.”

Cloud offers more bang for less
The word ‘Cloud’ is an over-used sales pitch, but it’s not all hype. The largest contribution cloud has made is through the drastic reduction in service costs. Instead of buying the farm, one can rent the cow. Gaining access to a video conference service or accounting suite can be as simple as brandishing an internet connection and credit card.
In surveillance this is called Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) and according to Alves it has the same impact: “At its most basic VSaaS can offer ways to store video footage for very little, plus thieves can’t make off with the evidence by swiping a local hard drive. Real-time monitoring and notifications to mobile devices becomes very easy to do.”

Cameras can boost Business Intelligence
Cameras are the eyes and ears when people aren’t around. This makes clear sense in terms of security, but what about all the other scenarios where a critical eye can make a difference? Airports have for years been using surveillance systems to track individuals in crowds, while large bluechip companies use surveillance to help track stock across their networks. A report compiled by Frost & Sullivan found that video surveillance data could be used to analyze people flow, monitor facility operations and collect marketing data.
“Cameras can track many different things, especially markers such as coloured stickers or barcodes. But they can also follow activities, such as if staff are loitering too much or if a customer isn’t being attended to. You can combine cameras with customer data to create a real omni-channel experience – one example I know of is a golf course that scans the numberplates of members, then informs the club’s systems to ensure that member is taken care off and don’t miss their tee-off time. Cameras generate a lot of on-the-ground information that companies can use.”

Surveillance helps lead the Internet of Things revolution
Contrary to popular belief, surveillance systems aren’t simply dumb recorders pouring footage on tapes. For decades camera systems have helped pioneer and adopt new technology movements. With the arrival of a very connected world – often summarized as the Internet of Things – surveillance companies are in a unique position.
A pedigree surveillance solution provider is foremost a technology company. IHS noted this in their trends report for the industry, saying in 2015 that ” the video surveillance market hasĀ  finally reached the point where more revenues comeĀ  from network than analog equipment.”
Alves agreed: “Cameras essentially create data that can be easily integrated into our more complex systems which facilitate business intelligence rather than just storing images on disk. The evolution of surveillance systems are moving from simple forensic recording system to one of being proactive, allowing camera’s to make decisions to either preempt something about to happen or raise an alarm to notify a security operator.