A comparison of IP camera CCTV solutions: A single Panoramic unit vs Multi-IP camera systems

Posted February 13th, 2019 by Daniel Miller

Finding the right IP security system for your business is never an easy task. When designing your IP CCTV system, an initial consideration will be which type of IP cameras can deliver the most efficient security surveillance for you. For small and medium-sized locations, there is generally two options: a single panoramic unit or a multi-IP camera system.

Multiple Ip cameras with a shop in the background

To help you make an informed decision when choosing your system, we have done a quick run through the features and limitations that are associated with each type of IP camera setup.

Single panoramic IP camera

Cost-effective: A panoramic IP camera delivers a continuous 180° or 360° overview of open-plan locations and can allow you to monitor an entire room with just a single unit.

This also helps to reduce installation time and cabling costs. A single IP address and only one network cable is required for a single panoramic unit – providing a cost-effective alternative to the deployment of multiple IP cameras.

High resolution and frame rate capabilities: Frame rate refers to the frequency or rate at which consecutive images appear on display. Whilst the ability to deliver high resolution images has been in panoramic IP cameras for quite some time, the accompanying frame rates have often been lacking – resulting in lower frame rate footage that may be less desirable for specific applications.

The release of high-performance units looks to provide an answer to this problem: the Axis M3047-P is capable of capturing 6MP images at up to 30 frames per second. By delivering detail-packed, smooth video and at a high-frame rate, panoramic units can now provide a reliable, standalone surveillance solution.

Detailed Digital zooming: These detailed images captured by these high-resolution, panoramic units also result in more useful digital zooming. This will allow you to closely examine areas of interest in both the live and reordered 360° image – a particularly helpful tool when it comes to post-event investigation.

Dewarping software: Dewarping software refers to the process of perspective correction of video footage. Panoramic IP cameras such as Fisheye lenses deliver a circular image which, whilst offering up to 360° coverage, can often make areas of a scene look distorted. Dewarping software allows the camera to cover a wide area but also enables you to have a “normal” view of an otherwise distorted or revered image.

With support for high-performance dewarping technology now in professional video management software (VMS) suites, it’s becoming easier for panoramic IP cameras to be used effectively within systems.

With support for high-performance dewarping technology now in professional video management software (VMS) suites, it’s becoming easier for panoramic IP cameras to be used effectively within systems.

Top-down view: Typically, panoramic cameras are ceiling-mounted, meaning that they have a top-down view which may not cover all the angles and may not provide the level of detail needed for identification. This is why they are often best-used as over view cameras.

Multiple IP camera setup

Flexible video surveillance: A multiple IP camera setup provides complete flexibility when designing an IP CCTV system. With such a wide range of high resolution and frame rate combinations available, you can completely tailor the solution to meet your specific viewing requirements.

Additionally, by selecting unit’s that feature a varifocal lens, you can easily set your desired viewing angle.

Imaging technologies: To ensure optimal image capture, most IP camera manufactures will now include a handful of enhancement technologies in most fixed/varifocal lens IP cameras such as, low-light and wide dynamic range (WDR) to help improve clarity in complex lighting conditions. By utilising these modern technologies, the camera can often deliver the most ‘useable’ image possible.

Variety of form factors: Whether you require a dome unit for unobtrusive monitoring, a covert form-factor to discreetly monitor the Point of Sale area in a small retail store or even a bullet design to act as a visual deterrent – the choice is completely yours. Most units will also offer a range of different accessories and bracketry to provide mounting flexibility.

Coverage area: For a given location, you should determine the number of areas of interest. How much of these locations require surveillance, and whether or not the areas are located relatively close to each other? These parameters will determine the types of cameras required and how many. If you wish to cover a more complex location in more detail – you’ll almost certainly have to consider multiple IP cameras.

Cost implications: When purchasing multiple units you need to consider; power supplies / switches, cabling and mounting accessories as well as the labour costs involved. Additionally, if you choose to run video management software (VMS), you’ll need to purchase a device licence for each of the cameras you will be integrating into your system.

Now you’re aware of the different features and limitations, it’s important to remember that there is no single type of camera that is fitting for all applications. The outcome you are looking for should determine the type of camera to use, not the other way around – only by carefully analysing the goals of your surveillance installations can you define your true IP CCTV requirements.

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