How panoramic cameras eliminate blind spots and reduce total cost of ownership

The word panoramic originated in the late 18th century as a portmanteau of the words ‘pan’ (all) and the Greek ‘hórāma’, roughly translated to ‘see’. Together they effectively mean ‘all seeing’, which in the case of panoramic cameras, could not be more apt.

Panoramic cameras are designed to give a much wider field of view compared to standard cameras, from wall mounted 180-degree, to ceiling mounted 360-degree overview. A single camera can be used to provide wide-area coverage for monitoring overall activity, situation awareness, tracking people flow, and improving area management.

By utilizing a number of optics and sensors, combined with some of the best data analytics available, a panoramic camera ensures that no matter what, if something happens in a given area, it will be recorded. Even more, they can do this while representing a more cost-effective solution than multiple standard cameras.

How can panoramic cameras reduce TCO?

There are a number of key traits shared across all panoramic cameras that help to reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO). All panoramic cameras have one point of installation, while still being able to cover an area as large as, for example, several PTZ (pan tilt and zoom) cameras. Businesses do not need to spend a lot of time picking several camera setups for each scenario, but instead pick the panoramic camera that is best suited for them. This saves time as well as money.

Furthermore, during installation, only one cable and only one VMS license are needed. In terms of maintenance, this reduced number of cables makes it easy to identify where an issue may lie. Outside of repair issues, many panoramic cameras can be refocused remotely, to ensure they are capturing the required scene. They are also now much more compact, meaning they can be integrated into most environments without issue.

With advancements in technology, high-resolution multisensor cameras now can use one chip for multiple sensors. This means there is already a cost saving, as multi-camera solutions require each camera to have its own chip, driving up costs in terms of the components needed for the solution, as well as the energy consumption needed to power multiple chips.

The wider field of view of panoramic cameras does not result in large costs for storage and bandwidth, either. The cameras come pre-installed with technologies such as Zipstream that will help reduce the overall bandwidth and storage space used. In doing so, and by being able to focus on camera quality, businesses can invest more money in better quality cameras that will increase overall safety and security

Finding the perfect panoramic camera

Having gone over the traits they share, now let’s look at what makes the various panoramic cameras on offer different. Each of them excels in a specific area, whilst ensuring that when used in their areas of expertise they leave no blind spots.

Single-sensor panoramic camera

These cameras can be used in smaller indoor areas such as shops or lobbies. They are small, discreet, and very easy to install. By mounting single-sensor panoramic cameras onto the ceiling of a store it is possible to observe a 360-degree image. In doing so, the security team and camera operators will have an overview of the shop’s floor without any blind spots. In addition, even though the camera uses a fisheye lens, thanks to dewarping technology, the image will look very natural and not distorted. By having such a large overview with good image quality, small stores can spot behavior and proactively deal with it, providing better area management.

Alternatively, when placed on walls, these cameras can, instead, focus on capturing 180-degrees of coverage at a level perfect for capturing people’s faces, making them extremely adaptable depending on a business’ needs. No matter where the camera is placed, it can be configured to display its footage in a few ways as per the user’s preference: full panoramic, double panoramic (effectively two 180-degree views), quad view, or the standard circular. These cameras can even allow the user to digitally PTZ in up to four pre-configured quadrants.

Panoramic multisensor cameras

Panoramic cameras are not only limited to single-sensor functions Panoramic multisensor cameras consist of three or four sensors, together covering 180-degree horizontal and up to 90-degree vertical areas. This creates a seamless image in much greater detail, even at longer distances, with minimal distortion and no blind spots. Effectively they are multiple high-quality cameras baked into one casing, acting together as one cohesive whole. Still only requiring one license, one cable, and one IP address, these cameras are ideal for getting more detailed coverage of an area up to longer distances.

Security and safety can often be tricky in situations such as busy town squares, parking lots and stadiums where there is a lot of movement in a wide area. The better image quality at longer distances makes panoramic cameras extremely useful in situations where incidents can happen far away. Imagine, for example, a stadium during a derby with two sets of fans whose emotions are running high. If someone was to cause trouble, the cameras could find the culprit and help security staff to deal with it accordingly and promptly.

Multidirectional cameras

Some panoramic cameras can position different sensors to face different directions to gain maximum coverage where it is needed the most. These devices have separate streams with individual viewing angles – using two or four individual camera heads. When spaced evenly the sensors can cover up to 360-degrees but can also overlap each other to create more zoomed in coverage through one sensor.

Take for example a school or university campus. It is important that security and staff know who is on campus, who comes in and who comes out of the premises. These cameras can be placed on the outer corners of buildings, in open areas or at hallway intersections to maximize their effectiveness. When on the outer corner of a building three heads are sufficient to see all the way around. With the four-camera versions, the last one can instead be pointed directly down to see what’s happening beneath the camera. No blind spots. When multidirectional cameras are positioned in the ceiling, at the center of hallway intersections, the sensors can monitor different directions. Camera operators will have clear and detailed views of each corridor to maximize overview and spot any security issues that may be developing.

Multidirectional cameras with PTZ

The more advanced multidirectional panoramic camera package includes a separately installed PTZ camera for increased coverage and zooming capabilities. The PTZ camera is used to provide zoomed in images while the other sensors maintain a highly detailed overview, of up to 360-degrees, of any scenario. This PTZ camera can be manually controlled by an operator or can automatically focus on things defined in your video analytics software. Whichever method is chosen, this camera ensures that you can make the absolute most of your surveillance footage, capturing what you want, without sacrificing situational awareness. These cameras provide real-time monitoring, which is ideally suited for city surveillance and open areas like zoos, where it’s difficult to predict where an incident might occur. And as with the other mentioned models of panoramic cameras, there are no blind spots.

If you keen to dig into the capabilities of panoramic cameras in more detail, this video featuring Kurt Löf does just that:

It’s about more than just security

Having maximum coverage of a situation and by being able to view it at from different perspectives allows users to view a scene more comprehensively and respond more quickly.

Panoramic cameras enable businesses to increase the overview of their premises, while at the same time reducing costs. Businesses and users can instead focus on other elements while knowing that they have a security system with no blind spots. Not only do panoramic cameras allow you to be all-seeing, they also allow you to be all-saving, handily reducing the TCO whilst providing better results than alternative solutions.

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Panoramic cameras