Security surveillance has become a modern necessity. It lets us monitor activities without actually being there and offers a fixed physical record, unlike the memories of eyewitnesses. One well-trained operator can monitor more area and in greater detail, which is why remote surveillance has proven to be a force multiplier in the world of physical installation security.
But, as with any security operation, detail is king.
Currently, the norm is to compress surveillance video in order to reduce data storage requirements. In terms of real-time surveillance, however, high-compression IP video has some glaring drawbacks. Too much compression results in low frame rates and buffering, which can compromise the resolution and detail of captured video. We are all familiar with the security camera footage shown on the news wherein individuals are nearly indistinguishable from one another except for clothing color.
Even an experienced security operator cannot overcome video surveillance that lacks detail and clarity. He can’t see the subtle cues and signs that indicate something is about to go wrong. A shadow where there shouldn't be one, or the facial expressions of two people talking is often missed, along with the opportunity to intervene.
Another option more suited to surveillance is high bandwidth uncompressed video. These systems require more storage and a more extensive infrastructure, with either fiber optic line installation or specialized IP systems, but the payoff is being able to see. These systems give security operators the ability to track, in detail, someone walking from screen A to screen B to screen C in real time. They help operators positively identify and assess a person's threat profile by facial features, gait, size, and clothing. When monitoring a large area, they are better able to see the bigger picture and assess where threats might be developing based on activity level or non-verbal signals.
For some applications, an off-the-shelf video surveillance system will work. But, for monitoring critical or larger areas in real-time, you can’t beat detailed video.