SECURITY
electronics people have a conservative streak that can make life tough for
pioneering R&D teams. For a couple of years now, megapixel cameras have
been available from a number of manufacturers who’ve battled against slow
uptake despite widespread recognition megapixel delivers the best possible
image quality.

In late 2008 and
now 2009, the pace of that uptake has accelerated. The introduction of H.264
compression, exponential growth in gigabit Ethernet LANs, the falling cost of
storage, faster processors and recording strategies driven by reliable movement
detection are pushing megapixel onto centre stage.

Considering these
variables, Pelco seems to have timed the release of its in-house Sarix
megapixel technology platform to perfection. Platform? Yes indeed. Pelco’s
boffins are smart enough to see that the future of video surveillance does not
lie entirely with hardware. Moving forward we’ll see remote firmware upgrades
of camera networks that will globally enhance things like resolution, colour
rendition and video analytics midlife.

So what is Sarix?
In short, it’s a suite of technologies designed to enhance network camera
performance combined together in a single unit. According to Pelco, Sarix is
“rooted in the goals of delivering advanced lowlight capabilities in
megapixel…imaging, consistent application of colour science across the entire
Sarix product line, and a flexible platform to adapt to the needs of additional
processing power needed to provide analytics.”

If this sounds a
bit nebulous, think of Sarix as a range of HD megapixel IP cameras optioned for
the perfect balance of resolution, frame rate, low light performance, network
compatibility and upgradeability, with as many possible useful surveillance functionalities
shoe-horned in for good measure. Pelco’s definition of Sarix is open-ended for
good reason – megapixel technologies are driven by fast developing firmware –
it would be a serious mistake to pin them down.

There are 4
cameras in the current Sarix range including a 0.5 SVGA standard definition
camera, a 1.3 megapixel high definition camera, a 2.1 megapixel extended
platform high def camera and at the top of the heap, a 3.1 megapixel high
definition camera.

IX30 is the 3.1
megapixel high definition camera with a 1/3-inch CMOS imager. It features low
light sensitivity of 0.05 lux, dual codec for delivery of dual video streams
(H.264 and MJPEG), maximum resolution of 2040 x 1536 and maximum frame rate of
30ips (at 1280 x 720). IX30 also features Open IP standards allowing connectivity
to third party software as well as an application programming interface.

Other relevant
features include PoE, mini-SD for local alarm event storage, auto back focus,
web viewing of up to 16 cameras at a time, colour and day/night options and
remote setup and administration. The camera is progressive scan, reducing
jitter when compared to analogue alternatives, it has a purpose-built lens, 50dB
signal-to-noise ratio and a wide dynamic range of 60dB.

“Think of Sarix
as a range of HD megapixel IP cameras optioned for the perfect balance of
resolution, frame rate, low light performance, network compatibility and
upgradeability, with as many possible useful surveillance functionalities
shoe-horned in for good measure”

All these numbers
are solid without venturing off into tantalising extremes that might impact on
overall performance. When you consider the powerful 3.1 megapixel sensor is
delivering 2040 x 1536 it’s clear that Sarix is driving cleverly along the
crown of the road, offering users what Pelco’s engineers see as the best
possible combination of performance and functionality available today.

According to
Pelco Product Marketing Manager, Sara Scroggins, Pelco didn’t just develop some
of the features that customers need and are asking for.

“We are planning
to provide solutions for these and more in the future,” she says.

We keep coming
back to the tone Pelco is using when it talks about Sarix but there’s good
reason for this. Usually when a manufacturer aerates about a new product
line-up, performance and functionality figures are cast in stone but not with Sarix.
Clearly the technology is a work in progress. Pelco has recognised the fact
that future IP surveillance technologies, like all IT platforms, are going to
be flexible.

As part of this recognition,
Sarix has a strong focus on imaging science. Pelco says that by leveraging the
latest sensor technologies to multiply and average light per pixel, Sarix will
set new standards for low light performance and sensitivity. This is an
important focus and it will be an ongoing one.

“We will deploy
colour sciences techniques that will allow us to deliver consistent detailed
colour across all levels of camera products that deploy the Sarix platform,”
Scroggins explains.

“This consistency
will provide concise colour reproduction in the entire installation regardless
of the camera choice.”

The evolutionary
theme continues with processing power. Scroggins says Sarix Extended Platform
processing power will “unlock the ability for options that will include
on-board use of analytics with no compromise in video performance.

“Every camera in
our line will have one analytic behaviour available for free, with additional
analytic suites available as options,” she says.

Sarix is an
important release for the big American. If first impressions are correct, this
flexible Sarix technology will prove to be another of many Pelco success
stories.