Video surveillance moving to megapixel resolutions

By Charles F Moreira

Video surveillance systems are increasingly using high-definition, IP-based megapixel video cameras which produce sharp images which allow for unambiguous facial recognition of suspects and number plate recognition, Gamma Solution, Managing Director, Wan Yat Hon told Enterprise IT News.

megapixel vs conventional analogue

Traditional analogue surveillance cameras produce videos typically of 480 x 360 pixels resolution, which is often to low to allow for positive facial and number plate identification that can stand up as evidence in court, while these features are clear in a full high-definition (HD) video of 1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels).

The Setapak, Kuala Lumpur-based systems integrator has supplied analogue and now IP-based surveillance solutions through its network of about 1,000 dealers, to over 15,000 customers in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Myanmar over the past 13 years. These customers include banks, shopping malls, buildings, factories and even private homes.

It designs and assembles its systems from modules such as Titanus Intel embedded servers with embedded digital video recording (DVR), hybrid DVR and network video recording NVR) facilities on hot-swappable hard disk storage on Western Digital AV (Audio Visual) and RE (RAID Edition) series hard drives, storage expansion or backup on a storage-area network (SAN) using the iSCSI protocol, direct-attached storage (DAS) with an SAS stakking connection, network-attached storage (NAS) over a TCP/IP network, GeoVision 2.1, 3 and 5 megapixel IP-video cameras, server racks and manages them with the PC-based GeoVision video surveillance solutions.

The system ceiling mounted GeoVission dome cameras as well as box, cube, pan tilt and zoom cameras. Dome cameras produce a 360 degrees fish-eye view of the scene and the GeoVision software produces all-round, quad, panorama, panning and other views on the screen. Its analytics functions let the system detect missing objects, such as items picked up and removed and it alerts operators of the incident, takes a picture and e-mails it to them and indicates the location of the missing object on the screen. This is ideal for use in public places such as museums and public displays and the system is also accessible on smartphones.

missing object

It also detects unattended items, such as bags placed in corridors, which could contain a bomb and also counts the number of people within a certain area. It also lets operators define a virtual fence around an area, such a pavilion at an exhibition and alerts operators if someone has entered the area. The system also alerts operators if any camera is blocked or moved from the scene it is monitoring.

Such HD surveillance systems require huge amounts of storage of recorded videos, since a single 2.1 megapixel camera requires 1TB storage per month and 16 cameras need 16TB/month, and one server supports up to 32 HD IP cameras.

Capacities of the Western Digital AV series drives range from 160GB up to 3TB and operate in ambient temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius, one million hours mean-time between failure (MTBF) and come with three years warranty. Capacities of the enterprise-class RE series range from 500GB to 4TB, operate in temperatures up to 55 degrees Celsius, an MTBF of 1.2 million hours and and five years warranty.

A small 4 or 8 camera system with server can operate under normal room temperature without air conditioning, though larger systems with rack mounted servers are usually housed in an air conditioned room. 

“These drives are designed for 24 x 7 operation in hot environments,” said Wong Yen Lim, Western Digital Malaysia, Business Development Manager of Channel Business. “We want to educate users to use the right type of drives for video surveillance,” she added. “In case of data corruption, they attempt to recover it within 250 milliseconds while they continue to record.”

Wong Yen Lin (left) with Yan Yat Hon

We previously used different drive brands but some years ago we settled on using Western Digital drives exclusively for their reliability,” said Wan. As a channel partner, Gamma also collaborates with Western Digital to test out its drives before they are launched.

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