When many people think of “surveillance cameras,” they imagine a security guard staring absent-mindedly at dozens of tiny, grainy screens. The truth is, commercial security cameras have advanced in leaps and bounds since the days of old analog setups. Commercial cameras systems today are capable of exceptional clarity and a wide variety of functions that were largely unavailable before the proliferation of digital cameras. Powerful cameras exist to fill any number of niches, from telescopic lenses to scope out objects from hundreds of feet away to airtight, concealable “explosion-proof” cameras for sensitive areas. These advances in security technology have allowed for more comprehensive, layered, and ultimately safer video camera systems, providing businesses and the people therein with superior surveillance coverage.
For as commonplace as commercial surveillance systems have become over the years, many people are still beholden to the outdated misconception of dusty-old analog box cameras as the only camera solution available. The truth is, a standard box camera doesn’t provide sufficient coverage for hallway intersections, building corners, and expansive areas such as parking lots and is restricted to surveil only the limited area it is focused on. Businesses looking for serious solutions to covering these crucial areas of their facilities have sought more complete solutions—and found the answer in the multi-sensor camera.
The rise and fall of PTZ cameras
Before multi-sensor cameras rose to prominence, the pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera was king for business owners looking for coverage of a wide area beyond the scope of a conventional camera—parking lots, work yards, hallway intersections, and the like. PTZ cameras can move the lens focus up, down, left, and right and even zoom in on objects at a considerable distance without sacrificing much clarity. PTZs provide flexibility and coverage not available in box, dome, or bullet cameras.
PTZ cameras are not, however, without their own faults. Primarily, their most egregious shortcoming is their blind spots. A PTZ can surveil a wide area, but not all at once. A camera set to pan left-to-right could miss an event happening while the camera was turned in the opposite direction. Even though many PTZ cameras can be set to automatically recognize and follow faces or detect motion, they still function best if a human is in control of their operation. From a hardware standpoint, a PTZ camera’s motion is made possible via a motor, which is a component that needs to be maintained and potentially repaired. While PTZ cameras are still effective in many situations, it was apparent to business owners and camera manufacturers alike that improvements were both possible and necessary.
The age of multi-sensor cameras
The solution to the shortcomings of the PTZ have actually existed for some time in the form of multi-sensor cameras. Multi-sensor cameras can contain as many as four individual camera heads (sensors) which can each be set to focus in different directions. Because of this ability to customize their viewing range, multi-sensors are perfect for coverage in scenarios where a single traditional camera wouldn’t cut it. The sensors can be arranged in a manner that provides panoramic, 180-degree views of wide expanses like work yards or parking lots. Multi-sensor cameras have become popular in schools for their ability to monitor the length of all four hallways from their intersection. At corners, the sensors can be configured to provide 270-degree coverage, with the fourth sensor pointed straight down to capture any activity below the camera mounting point. With this enhanced functionality, multi-sensor cameras eliminate the need for a human operator and the blind spots associated with PTZ cameras.
Multi-sensor cameras perform much like four individual cameras would, which often saves business owners money both immediately and in the long run. While multi-sensor cameras are typically pricier than a single box camera, investing in a single professionally installed multi-sensor camera can often be cheaper than paying fees for the hardware, installation, licensing, and maintenance of the four separate cameras it does the work of. Unlike PTZ cameras, there is no motor to maintain, meaning there are fewer parts to potentially replace.
Figure 2 shows a view from a corner, with one of the sensors pointed down at the ground for a view directly below the camera.
Multi-sensor cameras from qualified vendors and installed by professional security providers don’t skimp on other features, either. The pictures are often crisp and clear, whether viewing one sensor image at a time or combining all four images into one panoramic view. In the last few years the low-light capabilities of multi-sensor cameras have improved dramatically, increasing the scenarios for deployment. Multi-sensor cameras are used in a wide variety of scenarios, with cameras installed in everything from traffic intersections and schools to loading docks and sporting arenas. Their adaptability and superior coverage have turned the multi-sensor variety of surveillance camera into one of the most in-demand video cameras available on the market for businesses large and small, and for good reason.
One size doesn’t fit all
Of course, a comprehensive surveillance system for any business requires more than just any single camera, no matter how good that camera may be. Different varieties of cameras fill different needs for businesses, and each business has its own individual and unique protection issues. EPS Security has been protecting Michigan businesses for 65 years and we firmly believe that every business deserves a professional solution tailored to the security needs of each individual business—and the needs of each and every business owner. From personal consultations and assessments to customized solutions engineered by our experienced staff, we’ll work with you and for you to achieve the kind of protection for your business only an EPS Security system can provide. Trust in EPS Security and discover the benefits of a security solution more than six decades in the making.