With so many CCTV camera options available, Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked what makes Sony different.
With everybody talking about IP and how it is the best option for surveillance cameras these days, Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to Adnan Abid and Kaushik Laturkar from Sony Professional Solutions MEA about what makes Sony a good choice for IP surveillance cameras.
Starting from the beginning, Abid says there are two factors to consider when making the choice to go IP: image quality and intelligence.
When looking at picture quality, most people think an impressive resolution is all you need to consider when looking for good images. For Sony, Abid says high-definition (HD) is a given. Megapixel technology was designed for still pictures and does a great job when taking snapshots, but it does not handle video optimally. HD, on the other hand, was designed for video images, which makes sense in security as we generally want video footage of moving people or objects.
HD is also able to handle a higher frame rate along with higher resolution; you do not have to cut resolution to get a clear image. Additionally, HD is more compatible with H.264, the compression technology every company is adopting. Table 1 provides some more basic comparative information.
Currently, 70% of Sony’s IP cameras are already HD. The company also has a range of NVRs (network video recorders) as well as software solutions to manage its cameras and adheres to the ONVIF standard to ensure openness and interoperability.
Abid adds that image quality goes beyond HD. The camera chosen needs to be able to handle different light settings, including rapidly changing lighting – such as when a car drives by at night, blinding most cameras with its headlights.
Sony’s background in broadcast technology has taught it how important lighting is and that it is impractical to buy multiple cameras to handle the same images in different lighting conditions. It is also important not to have to reduce the frame rate in poor lighting. You need one camera that functions as well in direct sunlight as in low-lux conditions.
Sony’s HD IP cameras incorporate its Exmor CMOS image sensor, which is specially designed for surveillance applications. Exmor empowers cameras with image-enhancement technology, such as View-DR and XDNR (eXcellent Dynamic Noise Reduction). These features do a pixel-by-pixel analysis to reduce noise and compensate for backlight interference (See Image 1).
The Exmor-based cameras operate at a frame rate of 120 frames per second (fps). Every four frames are analysed at different frequencies and the optimal pixels extracted from each and combined into one frame with optimal resolution. Thus the camera produces an output of 30 optimised frames per second. Of course, once enabled, this is all done automatically, seamless to the user.
The Sony range of IP cameras has built in motion detection technology. While many cameras offer motion detection, false alarms as a result of animals or plant movement are common. To overcome this problem, Sony cameras analyse the last 15 frames of a video to determine whether there has been real movement, such as a person walking, as opposed to repetitive movements one finds in water ripples or waving branches.
Not only will the system detect motion, managers can set the cameras up to raise an alarm when virtual tripwires are crossed or objects are left unattended. There is also a feature to detect when objects are removed from a location without authorisation (See Image 2).
A voice feature is also available that will detect noise and raise the alarm if the noise is of a certain tone, such as someone screaming or in distress. The same feature allows operators to communicate via the cameras to raise an alarm or offer guidance to people.
“Each location has its own challenges and therefore requires a specific solution if it is going to gain value from its surveillance implementation,” says Laturkar. “Sony aims to understand customers’ requirements and provide them solutions to meet their needs. We offer a wide range of products, ranging from cameras to encoders and storage solutions, as well as local expertise to support customers in their decisions, installation and maintenance requirements.”
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