Question The CCTV/Surveillance Expert

Recognizing Moving Objects Clearly
Is better recognition of moving objects in large areas becoming a reality with the new hardware and software technology available? What is new out in the field?

A: Typical applications include entrances and exits from properties, parking lots, warehouses and commercial facilities. Traffic monitoring users have requested this feature for many years. Gas station owners have had serious problems with car drive offs from gas pumps, stolen credit cards and people that claim their credit cards were lost. Technology that is a combination of hardware and software has progressed very nicely.

One issue with many units sold is the coarse video detail that non-enhanced video provides. The resulting video records are poor. Another problem is the performance of unattended CCTV PTZs. License plate recognition (LPR) requires a twenty-four hour and seven day a week solution. A concern in exterior areas is most of the objects to be surveyed by the CCTV move and are not motionless. Poor lighting also needs to be addressed.

The first step is to define the customer request and budget before you offer the system solution. Having the "customer scope of work" information will allow you to talk to different manufacturers on how their product solution will fit your customer's need.

Newer technologies now allow the use of wide angle video looking over a large area. These units detect motion in the cameras field of view and automatically direct the camera to move and zoom to detect intruders, vehicles, license plates, etc. This automation allows for clearer and sharper images. They can be added to existing systems saving thousands in equipment costs.

A typical unit will have presets, adjustable object size to be detected, allow the customer to toggle between detected targets and automatically return after a period of time to the wide angle view to start the process over. When exploring products, ensure they have adjustable features versus fixed features. Equally important is that you have a good technical manual to assist with set up and after service.

The Customer's Site
CCTV systems seem to have many camera options for the customer to understand. When considering a multiple camera project, what should we look for at the customer site to provide an optimum picture for the client?

A: The avalanche of cameras the industry is producing is giving customers many options. Each camera location needs to be considered individually. Review the environment that each camera will be installed in and the lighting condition of the areas to be viewed. Outside cameras need heaters and blowers thermostatically controlled dependant on each camera areas' environment. A heater may not be needed in Arizona but a blower will be required due to heat. In the Northeast, both options are necessary.

The client usually provides the lighting in the area. Lighting is a very important consideration in the quality of the installation. Lighting is most important in the production of images that the camera will produce. The type of light, the amount of light, and the amount of reflected light is most critical. Light reflectance may be a factor that will make or break a customer's acceptance of the project.

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