For multi-sensor AI cameras, size matters and so do features


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Multi-sensor cameras remain a popular choice for many security installations for obvious reasons. There’s the savings realized by installing one camera where four might have been required in the past. This includes reduced wiring and power requirements which all contribute to lower total installation costs. They also deliver savings by not having to purchase larger network switches since all four camera streams are flowing down a single ethernet cable. Likewise, per camera license costs on a video management system (VMS) can be less.

Multi-sensor cameras also deliver better image quality than fish-eye lenses for an equivalent coverage area. With all those advantages, multi-sensor cameras should be a no-brainer for both installers and end users alike. However, many traditional multi-sensor cameras have been regarded as large, heavy and bulky. This has meant that these useful cameras were frequently relegated to outside installations only.

Size matters

Unlike other large, heavy multi-sensor cameras, the latest i-PRO S-series multi-sensor artificial intelligence (AI) cameras are extremely compact (only as high as a credit card). The cameras are available with three or four imaging sensors in 4K, 6MP and 4MP resolutions, ensuring exceptionally detailed image capture in some of the thinnest outdoor vandal- and weather-resistant configurations available. With their sleek, low profile, they can be installed in many different areas, including indoor ceiling positions, without being obtrusive.

With these potentially lower mounting positions, it’s also important that lenses can tilt upwards for increased coverage near stairwells or down hallways. The i-PRO S-series has been designed to support enhanced vertical tilt angles from ten to 105 degrees for maximum flexibility. A low-profile design shouldn’t come at the cost of flexibility, so i-PRO S-series cameras offer a screwless design to easily move individual sensor positions around the housing. Once in position, each camera has an independent zoom, tilt, twist and yaw adjustment.

AI features can vary between manufacturers

While AI features, such as advanced analytics and image optimization, are a big trend in security cameras, it’s important to realize that not all implementations are the same. Algorithms based on machine and deep learning, subsets of AI, are very useful for recognizing vehicles and humans and detecting attributes such as vehicle/clothing colors, gender, age, objects being carried, glasses, hats, bags and more. Having this additional information makes motion analytics like line crossing, direction and loitering almost entirely error free.

A deep forensic search is possible with more sophisticated parameters while real-time alerts give security personnel enhanced situational awareness. When evaluating such systems, it’s important to note how many attributes can be described for objects being recognized since this directly impacts the relative success of any search.

The i-PRO S-series multi-sensor AI camera represents a quantum leap in wide-area surveillance technology. This new multi-sensor camera comes preloaded with four powerful AI analytics applications complemented by an extensive portfolio of versatile features packaged in one of the thinnest outdoor vandal- and weather-resistant configurations available. For multi-sensor cameras, an important feature is the ability to support powerful AI analytics “per sensor” without restrictions for the type of data they capture. Some well-known AI camera manufacturers limit their AI functionality to only object recognition (people, vehicles, license plates, bicycles, etc.) but demand that customers pay a premium for the actual object attributes belonging to those objects.

The i-PRO S-series multi-sensor cameras have FULL AI support so that operators can make use of all AI parameters, including object attributes like color, gender and objects carried or worn for the most powerful real-time alerts and detailed forensic search possible. This is a standard feature and part of i-PRO’s mission to bring AI capabilities to more security teams and campus environments as well as empowering more non-security use such as operations and business intelligence functionality.

To keep AI analytics functionality working at night, it’s critical that colors that define objects are maintained. To keep all sensors in color mode as long as possible requires the best low light performance available from a lens/sensor combination. Beyond analytics, AI technology is also being used in the i-PRO S-series to inform the camera’s image processing system about which objects in an image, such as a face, are important to capture with the highest clarity. i-PRO’s Advanced Intelligent Auto (which automatically adjusts shutter speed, auto exposure, gamma correction and noise reduction) is another example of image enhancement.

Even something as mundane as the power supply can have a direct impact to installation costs and total cost of ownership (TCO). Many multi-sensor cameras can require high power over ethernet (PoE) demanding as much as 60 watt-power injectors. This might require separate power injectors over a typical PoE or PoE+ network switch. i-PRO S-series multi-sensor cameras can be run over PoE+ for maximum compatibility and efficiency.

AI is only as good as a VMS’ ability to interpret Ii

None of the aforementioned AI power is of any use without a VMS being able to interpret and make full use of the vast amounts of metadata being supplied from these cameras. i-PRO’s Active Guard plug-in works in Genetec, Milestone and i-PRO’s own Video Insight VMS. Active Guard provides a user interface that integrates directly within these popular VMSs and delivers full access to all the AI capabilities for either real-time proactive notifications/alarms, or the most powerful forensic searching in the industry. i-PRO AI cameras are capable of processing more attributes than any other camera manufacturer. 

These new multi-sensor cameras also support automatic AI-driven pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) handoff with i-PRO’s new S-series PTZ camera line which has recently been announced. With both multi-sensor and PTZ cameras having fully embedded AI, the ability to seamlessly auto-track persons or vehicles is faster and seamless. This ensures operators get the best possible coverage during any events within range.

Open platform — A key to the future

Technology evolves quickly and so do the needs of businesses. To maintain value, minimize cybersecurity risk and future-proof security cameras, it’s paramount to have an easy way to update and add capabilities in the field with regular updates and enhancements as required. i-PRO S-series multi-sensor AI cameras can be easily updated in the field as well as host third-party analytics plug-ins thanks to i-PRO’s open platform and SDK/API. Customers can add features, such as automated license plate readers (ALPR) or advanced business and operations analytics when required without replacing the camera.

Don’t skimp on cybersecurity

With the abundant AI features and reduced form factor of the latest breed of multi-sensor cameras, there’s no need to skimp on cybersecurity. The last thing anyone wants is to have the security system itself be vulnerable to cyberattacks. To help ensure the security and integrity of video data, i-PRO multi-sensor cameras also feature industry-leading FIPS 140-2 level 3 encryption and level 3 compliance, vandal-resistant technology, identity-based authentication and an extra layer of security that protects critical security parameters on the device. Completely NDAA and TAA compliant, i-PRO multi-sensor cameras are ideal for use in a wide range of high-security applications within the government, law enforcement, healthcare and educational verticals.

Multi-sensor cameras come in many sizes, configurations and with a wide range of features. Whether upgrading, expanding or installing a new system, it pays to understand the nuances between these powerful cameras that will best fit requirements of the job today and in the future.

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