Can 4K video surveillance help the enterprise?

The time is right for some companies to adopt 4K

4K

In a large company, the more you know about building security issues, the better. And this autumn, new 4K video technology will help the enterprise watch for intruders, monitor the premises, and even assist with court cases where a theft or break-in has occurred. No longer the purview of FIFA World Cup final match broadcasts and experimental streaming over Netflix, 4K has several distinct advantages in terms of video quality and resolution.

"Covering a large warehouse or busy hallways would be easier with the added resolution. More pixels added into the image allows for the user to zoom into the picture without sacrificing image quality which makes this technology optimal for security to begin with. For smaller areas current surveillance technology will do the job," says Ari Zoldan, a technology analyst.

Surveillance network

Zoldan says there are several options for creating a 4K video surveillance network. This autumn, Bosch security will release the Dinion IP Ultra 8000 MP camera for corporate security use. According to Bosch, the camera can be used for tracking the location of intruders and making facial recognition scans using a much higher resolution than 1080p HD video.

Axis Communications also makes the AXIS P1428-E camera, which streams in HD quality to a central server but can record in 4K resolution. If there is a security issue, employees could investigate using the 4K footage stored locally on the camera.

"The widespread deployment of 4K HDTV video surveillance cameras for a large user not only provides increased opportunities for improved investigations, but also business intelligence. For example, personnel and customer paths are more accurately traced, and the resolution is high enough to often support multiple content analysis opportunities like people counting and vehicle plate recognition," says Steve Surfaro, a spokesperson for Axis Communications.

Surfaro says there are several pieces of the puzzle required to make 4K video work for building security purposes. The security camera has to support 4K video – most are also equipped with local flash storage. The second is a network-attached storage appliance which provides storage for nearby cameras and redundancy of storage. Companies also need a server capable of transmitting the 4K video and a server must be used for decoding and analysing the footage. Lastly, a 4K monitor (such as those from Dell and HP) is required in order to view the stored footage.

Challenges

For most companies, putting these pieces together could prove challenging. The servers and network infrastructure may be in place, but many desktop monitors do not support full 4K video running at 3840 x 2160 resolution. The issue is compounded by the fact that a building might use multiple 4K security cameras for monitoring, further increasing storage and network needs.

"If a company is switching to 4K, they need to be prepared to have at least four times more capacity in their network while maintaining data integrity, flexibility and performance," says Chris Gladwin, Vice Chairman and Founder of Cleversafe, an object storage company.

"To check if this is possible, IT management must determine if their network is capable to take on a new influx of data. If the current system has already begun to experience degradation in performance or there are new challenges such as reliability limitations, the system may not be equipped to take on increased amounts of complex storage and an IT manager should explore increased network capacity, such as adding additional 10 Gigabytes (Gbps) network connections or adding higher performance connections, such as 40 Gbps Ethernet."

"The network architect or IT designer may decide not to use Network Attached Storage Devices, thus requiring the network infrastructure to bear the 4K streams to the recording server. Internal and distributed storage provides redundancy efficient video stream management," adds Surfaro.