VideoIQ iCVR-HD: 500GB At the Edge
by Security Electronics and Networks | @Articles Product Reviews | August 16, 2011, 7:00am AEST
BILL Nolan’s Zone Advanced Protection Systems has released the VideoIQ range of surveillance cameras, a line-up that includes units offering HD and D1 resolutions. The flagship iCVR-HD’s specification looks solid and the thinking behind these cameras is exemplary. Given Zone’s history it’s no surprise that VideoIQ cameras are extremely well suited to self and third party monitoring.
Zone’s promotional material claims VideoIQ is revolutionary and while that’s a bit of a stretch, there’s no doubt these cameras are special. In my opinion the iCVR-HD represents the future of the video surveillance camera. That’s because Video IQ’s iCVR-HD cameras cram key pieces of functionality into the camera itself – notably storage, neural video analytics, digital PTZ tracking and a powerful search function.
Now, onboard storage is not new. Plenty of early IP cameras hustled substantial onboard storage and many new IP and HD cameras have SD slots allowing a reasonable level of edge storage. But VideoIQ’s kit is new thanks to the inclusion of 500GB of storage on the camera. Yeah, that’s a lot. Even with an HD camera it means you’ll get months of storage.
VideoIQ’s people also describe their camera onboard storage as having ‘zero bandwidth use’ on a network. This is obviously not the case if you need to monitor multiple video inputs in real time on a central workstation. But if you don’t need live monitoring then the iCVR-HD camera with that thumping half-TB of storage is an edge device in the truest sense.
Another distinctive characteristic of VideoIQ’s technology is what the company calls ‘real time visual search appearance-based search’ which allows operators to dig into video archives seeking very specific details. Apparently the camera’s software is able to become familiar with its environment so as to recognise when something appears that is out of the ordinary. The camera’s analytics software self-calibrates in a few minutes after power up, maintains calibration over time and is capable of distinguishing people, vehicles and boats from other objects, like animals and scene movement.
According to VideoIQ, its patented video analytic technology is the only solution capable of analysing full megapixel streams on-camera and the company says this produces high accuracy and the largest range of event alerts. These adaptive analytics also drive the camera’s real time threat detection capability which can be configured to alert staff to an incident as it happens.
Now, video analytics have their frailties when it comes to reliable face recognition but for more general uses including analysis of movement, object appearance and disappearance and triplines, analytics can be an excellent form of video surveillance automation. It’s in enhancing these areas of analysis that VideoIQ achieves the most.
VideoIQ’s adaptive analytic engine can detect, record and report on a range of events including fence-line and perimeter crossing detection, area protection, direction of travel alerts, crowd detection, loitering and dwell time alarms, missing object detection, cross camera object search. There’s also ‘head and shoulders’ indoor analytic detection.
This indoor detection mode enables accurate detection and tracking of people even when desks and furniture substantially obscure them as they move through a typical office environment. Part of the capability of these cameras is VideoIQ’s IQTrack functionality which allows iCVR-HD cameras to automatically identify, track and digitally zoom in on suspicious objects, delivering enhanced detail, while continuing to monitor and record the entire scene. Alarms are then reported automatically with a video verification clip.
Whenever a rule configured by the customer is triggered, emails can be sent directly to any device supporting video email attachments or video mms, including cell phones, and smart phones, making it ideal for
roaming guards or remote facility managers. Emails can be sent to as many as 32 approved addresses at the same time, and users can have their video system automatically notify and send them video clips of intruders or security breaches.
Importantly, the camera’s fundamental numbers look good. For a start, the iCVR-HD camera is IP66-rated so it’s more than capable of being installed outside. A 3-8mm lens provides a good selection of field depths during setup. The camera offers 1080p HD (1920 x 1080) at 30 frames per second from a CMOS sensor and there’s a digital zoom allowing operators to peer into scenes seeking more detail. Compression is H.264 main profile, which is superior to many basic H.264 compression engines.
There’s a mechanical Day/Night filter, good dynamic range of 70dB and light sensitivity of 0.25 lux at F1.2. These very low minimum scene illumination numbers don’t mention the presence of IRE but I suspect they should. There’s also a signal-to-noise ratio greater than 50db, an auto iris and white balance control and analogue output (PAL via BNC connector) for focusing using a spot monitor.
In terms of internal storage you get a 2GB solid state memory in all models, while hard drives include patent pending hard drive lifespan extension technology which increases HDD life expectancy to more than 10 years. According to Video IQ, you get one month storage from 250 GB and 2 months from 500 – there are specific selectable combinations of recording times, frame rate and resolution required to achieve these figures.
Every VideoIQ high definition camera includes a copy of VideoIQ View, a
powerful video management software PC application designed for megapixel video, analytic alarm and search, and decentralized storage. VideoIQ View can be installed on multiple PCs and system requirements include a quad-core 2.0 GHz CPU or higher, 4 GB of RAM and a Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 OS – nothing too startling there.
There are visual alarm indicators (colored boxes around objects detected) which can be turned on or off at the camera or on VideoIQ View software, as well as programmable pre-alarm video recording. For remote applications you get Web browser access to the iCVR-HD camera via built-in web server.
When it comes to networking and communications, the iCVR-HD is not lacking, either. There’s a port for an Ethernet 10/100 BaseT— RJ45 connector, protocols include HTTP, HTTPS, TCP, RTSP, UDP, RTCP, DHCP,
NTP and DNS and there’s ZeroConf auto IP discovery of cameras.
There are Multiple user access levels with password protection, IP address filtering, and HTTPS encryption.
Expanding on the camera’s standalone nature, there’s diagnostics including loss of communications trouble alert, hard drive failure alert, scene change trouble alert and self-diagnostics onboard.
You also get 2-way audio with recording capability. VideoIQ high
definition cameras can be configured for both audio talk down and listening capability, including fully automated recordings of alarm events. Audio compression is G.711 and audio streaming live 2-way is half duplex, while audio recording – alarm or continuous is full duplex.
Other features include a pair of alarm inputs, an alarm output, power over Ethernet (IEEE 802.3af) class 3, operating temperature ranging from -20°C to 50°C, humidity capability of 20-80 per cent RH (non-condensing) and the cameras have a heater and blower built in. The cameras have a 2 year warranty and there’s a full range of mounting accessories available, including recessed, surface, pendant, wall, corner, and pole-mount options.
“The magic of this technology is its ability to pro-actively secure your most important assets using a simple yet powerful solution that not only saves you time but also makes protecting your environment even more cost effective and manageable,” says Zone’s Bill Nolan.