IQinVision pushes ‘pixel per foot’

Is this the new standard for how video surveillance is specified?
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

BOSTON, Mass.—Here in the Architects Building on Broad Street in the Financial District, IQinVision held a cozy seminar Dec. 4 as part of its recently launched A&E Series, targeted toward architects and engineers likely to specify video surveillance systems as part of RFPs. Its purpose was to push the idea of “pixels per foot” as a way of deciding how many cameras are needed for any given job.
As an IP megapixel camera manufacturer, said vice president of sales and marketing Paul Bodell, IQinVision is frequently frustrated by disappointing images of bad guys displayed on the evening news. His message: “It’s not the technology’s fault. A properly designed and installed system will catch the bad guy every time.” Often, he said, the cameras are being asked to do things they cannot do. For example, if you want “forensic-quality” video, he said, you need at least 40 pixels for every foot of area you’re covering. Thus, if you’ve got a one megapixel camera, with 1280 pixels horizontally and 1024 pixels vertically, you can identify anyone who commits a crime in an area about 32 feet wide and 25 feet high (assuming you have the proper lens, but that’s another story).
“If you spread the pixels out too far,” Bodell cautioned, “you won’t have the resolution you’re looking for.”
Michael McNamara, CEO of Security Consultant Group, based in Waltham, Mass., said he attended the event for ammunition to throw at integrators who haven’t quite grasped the concept of megapixel cameras yet. “If you ask them about the camera they’re using to shoot their kids’ birthday party, they understand that more megapixels are better,” he joked. “But when it comes to surveillance systems, most of them are still talking TV lines.”
Bodell also took the opportunity to make a price-competitiveness argument. “The best success,” he said of admittedly more-expensive IP megapixel cameras, “is coming with acquiring the same detail with fewer cameras.” If one megapixel camera can replace three analog cameras, maybe they’re not so expensive after all.