Is your video surveillance system up to par?
Part 6 of 6
By Spike Anderson
Wide dynamic range (WDR) cameras can be ideal for store entrances to avoid bright outdoor light and dimmer light inside the store, which creates backlit silhouettes in the video feed. Photo courtesy Axis Communications
Video security systems have become much easier to use in recent years, but selecting the right cameras and installing them properly takes some expertise. Since jewellers must safeguard small items that are extremely valuable, it may be wise to consult with an you get the best system for the space. Here are a few more points if you’re considering installing a camera system.
Frame your shot
Isolate high-importance areas of your space, such as open display cases of valuable merchandise, and commit a camera to identify any persons in that area. Too often, only cameras producing wide-angle shots over a large area are deployed. These are useful to generate an overall picture of the store and of customer movements, but they are of little use to identify specific people.
Install enough cameras or the right ones
One of the most common mistakes is using too few cameras to cover an area. When the goal is to get an identification shot of every person entering the store, dedicate a camera to the entrance that will deliver a head-and-shoulders shot. And again, if the door faces outside, consider a WDR camera that can compensate for the backlit conditions. Technologies like 360-degree view IP cameras, covert digital cameras, and HDTV/megapixel cameras can actually cover more space when installed properly.
Be wise about megapixels
Bigger isn’t always better when selecting camera resolution. Most situations simply do not require massive resolution. Installing HDTV-standard cameras—which follow the same international broadcast TV standards governing the entertainment industry for colour reproduction, resolution, widescreen aspect ratio, and frame rate—is a wise choice. An HDTV 720p camera is roughly equal to 1 megapixel (MP), while 1080p produces 2 MP. The distance between the camera and the object you’re trying to see determines how many pixels are required for a usable image. The smaller that distance, the less resolution you’ll need to create a great picture. A general rule for identification is 80 pixels ear-to-ear on a person. So avoid the lure of six or 10 megapixel cameras—buying them is simply overkill for almost all retail situations. In fact, if certain factors line up, sometimes even VGA resolution (640×480) delivers enough pixels on target for your application. So if you want high-definition video, look for the HDTV designation, but consider working with a security integrator to determine the resolution that works best for your specific installation.
Plan for the future
Networked IP camera systems are especially valuable because they can easily grow and adapt to changing business conditions. An IP camera can be added to a store more easily and quickly than was true in the old analog days. And since IP is a standard and common format running on a software backbone, upgrades and future analytic installations require a mere system update, not a rip and replace. Since these cameras are really computers that can ‘see,’ the functionality they offer is expandable and customizable as new software comes on the market.
Jewellery retailers face unique challenges. Among the most significant is the fact the items they sell are small and highly valuable, making it even more critical to have a high-quality and comprehensive security camera solution in place. Coupled with video monitoring and analytics software, modern IP cameras installed in sufficient numbers and positioned for optimal coverage can help law enforcement officials make an arrest after a robbery. They can also proactively alert store owners to avoid theft in the first place.
Read the full article: Freeze frame