SecurityInfoWatch Article: Panoramic camera technology surges in acceptance - Oncam: Experts in 360-degree and 180-degree Video Technology Solutions


The only sure bet in the evolving world of security technology is there are no sure things. Change is constant. With the rapid pace of technical advancement, end users and systems integrators are constantly trying to stay one step ahead of innovative manufacturers. Perhaps no sector in the security industry is more representative of this lava-flow of technology change than video surveillance. And over the last decade Jumbi Edulbehram has been on the frontline of change with companies like Axis Communications and Samsung.

But in his new role as Regional President of the Americas for Oncam, he is now immersed in one of the fastest growing video technologies in 360-degree lens cameras. Oncam acquired Grandeye and its more than 30 technology patents that enable high resolution recording of the entire fisheye video view, and unlike the traditional PTZ camera, the field of view is constant and doesn’t require an operator to toggle the scene. During playback images can be dewarped and virtual cameras can be generated enabling the viewer to pan, tilt and zoom around the entire scene. The result is that investigations can be carried on as if the video were live, according to Edulbehram.

“Even when I was at Samsung previous to this stop I saw the category of camera that was growing the fastest was 360. For certain applications it really is the best camera for the job and the most cost-effective,” says Edulbehram. “The software and dewarping experience at Oncam is better than anything I see in the industry and I’ve been around the technology for a while. It is really smooth and seamless. At the core, Oncam has very strong single-lens, 360 degree fish-eye technology. Now there are other products on the market that try to achieve the same thing with multiple lenses, but the issue is that they are expensive and each individual lens has to be individually adjusted, so it makes them more difficult to install.”

Some of the technology benefits of the 360-degree camera technology are:

• Wider area of coverage with no blind spots
• Fewer cameras and infrastructure required to monitor a scene
• Retrospective tracking
• Total Situational Awareness
• Eliminate the mechanical delay in traditional Pan Tilt and Zoom (PTZ) cameras
• Oncam’s 360-degree cameras have no moving parts and require no maintenance
• Camera operation is completely silent

Edulbehram says that today’s 360-degree and multi-dimensional camera technology provides much larger coverage areas than narrow field-of-view cameras. Multi-lens 360-degree cameras contain multiple lenses in one unit and stitch the images together to create a full, inclusive image. Single-lens “fisheye” cameras offer a full 360-degree view that can be “dewarped” in live or retrospective mode to get more detail in any part of the image.

With higher resolutions and more efficient dewarping/stitching technologies, these omnidirectional cameras may soon replace the standard pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras being widely used now. The 360-degree camera technology also allows for full situational awareness with just one camera, which means that users may be able to use fewer cameras and reduce cost.

“This technology is going in two different directions and we are pursuing both of those. One is the evolution of higher and higher resolution megapixel cameras which in the next generation or two will be at a place where they can replace all the PTZ cameras out there. Right now there are millions of PTZs in the field,” Edulbehram adds. “The next gen 360 camera coming out that is a 12 megapixel won’t be able replace a 20X PTZ. But in the next generation or two, it will certainly be in that position. There is a huge install base of PTZs that can easily be replaced with a high megapixel 360. So that is one direction we see things might go.”

Functionality beyond the obvious video surveillance is also a prime driver for the 360 camera technology. Edulbehram is seeing his large enterprise customers in vertical like banking, retail and transportation to provide advanced custom functions. “That is one reason I was excited to come here. I have a lot of experience in analytics, so the next progression for us is to find ways to add value to our installed base of cameras customers. And then of course in the future we will have the ability to sell cameras with all the ancillary intelligence.”

The retail space has been a hot vertical for 360-degree video, and for good reason. It has proven to be cost-effective, especially as more IP and high resolution solutions are offered. Edulbehram says his retail customers are asking for at least four specific features in addition to straight video surveillance. Those are:

  • People counting – how many people come and go?
  • Dwell time – they want to know how long people linger in particular areas of the store.
  • Customer trajectories – where people go in the store when they enter. Do they go left, right? What aisles do they go to?
  • Overall heat map of the store – track all the analytics throughout the store for periods at a time.

Although many vendors see retail as the hot market for video analytics, he says there is more.

“Really, almost every vertical market we are involved in has great need for business intelligence above just simple surveillance. The applications in retail are pretty straightforward, customer trajectory, heat maps, people counting – but take a casino for example. There is really no way to track the customer experience and how it relates to profitability as they move through the casino itself. So what if you analyze the spending and playing habits – say — at the blackjack tables. Is it two people spending $100 a hand at the table or is it 10 people spending $10 each?

He also cited the use for the technology on cruise ships, where they would track the movement of passengers on the ship; analyze crowd capacity at certain venues like pools and restaurants, and of course, one of the most important capabilities which would be to detect a person overboard. The technology is not there yet, but it is a life/safety application that he says is coming.

Published by SecurityInfoWatch. Read the original article here.