Security Magazine Article: All In - Placing Bets on Casino Video Surveillance - Oncam: Experts in 360-degree and 180-degree Video Technology Solutions

The security landscape within the gaming industry is one of notoriety, difficulty and high stakes, with large crowds flowing in and out at every hour of the day and money changing hands at lightning speed. From the recreational to the more frequent gamblers; from the dealers to the remaining floor staff, each contributes uniquely to the vibrancy and overall security risks of such complex establishments. Casinos are also characterized by the stringent regulations that ensure the highest standards of operation are met, which are put in place to prevent against theft, fraud and major breaches.

As our world becomes more densely populated and interconnected, security departments not only seek out the best technology to step up to the challenge, they also look for options that are cost-effective, scalable and simple to use to accommodate the growing volume of traffic and statistical probability of a security threat. In gaming specifically, asset management and rock-solid video evidence are critical to business continuity, and keeping the budget for growing security departments well within a reasonable range factors heavily into choosing, deploying or overhauling a surveillance system.

For many casinos, one of the best ways to create a highly structured, discreet and airtight security environment is by leveraging multi-directional surveillance technology solutions that support high-quality analytics and deliver superior video evidence for investigations.

Omnidirectional or 360-degree cameras provide a better range of coverage from a single camera with a single lens than the traditional pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras by allowing users to pan, tilt and zoom within the live video feed. While PTZ cameras’ limited focus on certain areas makes it highly likely for gaps in surveillance visibility to occur, multi-directional cameras alleviate this pain point for casino security directors by being able to capture hard-to-reach corners and tables in live and recorded video, leaving no stone unturned.

The increased range of visibility provided by multi-directional cameras is facilitated by their fixed bodies, which require no moving parts and extend battery life. This feature distinguishes 360-degree cameras from standard PTZ cameras by eliminating the blurred or fragmented imaging that can result from panning and tilting. Since the field of view is expanded and moving parts are eliminated, casino security managers can effectively monitor gaming floors with the utmost discretion and maintain safety without raising any flags. This can all be accomplished by replacing four or more traditional cameras with a single 360-degree camera.

Omnidirectional surveillance cameras operate at lower frame rates when there is little to no activity on the floor because of the round nature of the fisheye lens. When taken into account with the already low camera number requirements, these omnidirectional systems minimize bandwidth usage whenever necessary and even lower the requirements altogether for casinos in need of a rigorous security operations infrastructure.

For an effective casino surveillance strategy, it is critical that the video helps to identify potential risk and gives CSOs the ability to track all of the moving parts that factor into cohesive security operations. Built-in analytics play a strong role in helping security managers improve response and understand traffic flow patterns. For example, heat mapping gives important insight into loitering statistics, whereas people-counting tools can track visitors and better allocate staff at a moment’s notice. Overall, analytics help by identifying the most crowded areas and gives casino management a better idea of how the gaming floor can be configured for the best possible traffic flow.

Casinos may see many benefits to switching to an omnidirectional surveillance system with built-in analytical capabilities, but the greatest improvements can be seen in the overall flexibility, cost-effectiveness and level of situational awareness that is gained from seeing the whole picture.

By Jumbi Edulbehram

March 8, 2016
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