Home video surveillance is ever the fastest growing market sector in global video surveillance market. Thanks to the wide spreading of smartphone usage and the mature of HD video surveillance technology, many users have one or several IP cameras either for the purpose of entertainment or security. The price war initiated by Chinese manufacturers also helps everyone can afford to buy HD network cameras.
During these two years, a new kind of product appears in market – the panoramic IP cameras. At the very beginning, several famous security camera manufacturers such as BOSCH, Arecont Vision, Hikvision, Dahua, Sony, Panasonic, Vivotek etc launched the high end panoramic IP cameras that offer up to 12-megapixel resolution when adopting a single fisheye lens. Arecont Vision, the leading panoramic surveillance solution provider even has multiple lens panoramic cameras that leveraging seamless stitching technology to capture ultra HD video at image resolution up to 20 megapixel.
Compared with conventional cameras, the panoramic cameras have many advantages. A panoramic camera can offer 180 degree and 360 degree panoramic viewing angle, it uses dewarping technology to correct the image distortion (Dewarping refers to the process of perspective correction of an image, to reverse the effects of geometric distortions caused by the camera lens.). ePTZ is another key function to the panoramic camera, ePTZ refers to digital PTZ or virtual PTZ, similar to PTZ camera, ePTZ can achieve pan/tilt rotation and zoom however without using mechanic rotation structure.
Since the rapid development of panoramic cameras, the core technologies of panoramic camera such as dewarping algorithm are no longer exclusively owned by one or two companies. As the conventional IP cameras reach the plateau, the new product – panoramic WiFi camera is ready to replace them. We expect the panoramic WiFi cameras will go viral in home video surveillance market.
The advantages of Panoramic WiFi cameras:
1. 360 degree panoramic video surveillance, no blind spot, covering the entire room. One panoramic camera can cover the entire room, it’s able to replace multiple conventional cameras. The panoramic camera can produce 360 degree surround view, no blind spot.
2. ePTZ allows users to rotate the image, zoom in to obtain details, this can be operated on a computer or on your smartphone. ePTZ technology can allow users to zoom in or rotate the specific region within the image, when rotating to another region, the camera will not make mechanical noise, conceal and not easy to be observed. Since there is no mechanical rotating components, the panoramic cameras can service much longer than conventional PTZ cameras. They are reliable and durable. The panoramic camera’s dewarping technology enables camera to simultaneously ePTZ multiple regions to monitor and record several different areas. Furthermore, the ePTZ also can provide the preset cruising and pattern scanning etc smart pan/tilt function.
3. Typically surveillance dedicated panoramic camera adopts "UFO", disc-like compact size and slim design, easy to blend house interior, aesthetic, less intrusive.
4. Cost-effective, greatly reducing the total budget.
The disadvantages of panoramic WiFi cameras:
#1. Price is higher than conventional IP cameras. Professional panoramic network cameras are still expensive to residential users. However, this will change soon. We know many manufacturers are planning to launch panoramic cameras that deliver regular 720p/1080p image resolution with cheaper price.
#2. ePTZ can’t achieve optical zoom (some manufacturers released panoramic + PTZ camera combined products). This is the reason why the panoramic cameras can’t totally replace the conventional PTZ cameras. The conventional PTZ cameras are equipped with motorized zoom lens, offering powerful up to 30x optical zoom capability, which is so far the best way to get detailed image. This means the panoramic cameras are so powerful, but they are not suitable for some specific applications such as long distance video surveillance, car plate license number recognition, face recognition etc.
#3. Limited software support. The image processing of panoramic camera involves with the video management software. Currently, different panoramic cameras use different private communication protocol and standard, leading to different hardware and software can’t be compatible each other.
#4. Low image quality. Although the total effective pixel can reach up to 12 megapixel, the panoramic camera still can’t provide the quality image as high as the conventional camera. Since the panoramic camera covers the entire areas, if using the same megapixel image sensor, the panoramic camera’s image sensor requires to receive several times larger information, that greatly reduced the image resolution. This is the reason why a 3-megapixel panoramic camera image quality is similar to the CIF resolution. So, when choosing a panoramic cameras, it’s better to choose the one that offers at least 5-megapixel resolution.
Typically, panoramic cameras support both ceiling and wall installation, however, to get best performance, you may read the tips below:
1. Avoid installing camera near to lights. If there is a strong light in the front of panoramic camera, the light eventually become dispersed curved image, although panoramic cameras feature wide dynamic range and back light compensation, under these modes, the image edge clarity is not as good as the result when camera doesn’t install near the strong light; also when turning on/off the light will cause interference to the panoramic camera.
2. Avoid installing the camera on the top of doors, because the camera will condensation droplets for the cameras, due to the temperature difference between indoor and outdoor, and this will affect the video image.
3. Installing the camera as central as possible. When the panoramic camera installed on the top of ceiling, the camera should be installed as central as possible. Because the panoramic camera can provide 2-4 split viewing image, if the camera is not in the center, the restore image will produce edge image asymmetry problem, the image of monitor area will shift.
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