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Seeing into the future.


OBSOLESCENCE SHOULD BE A CRITICAL CONCERN FOR security decision makers today. To protect a company's investment in closed-circuit video systems (CCVSs), it is vital to develop an awareness of the new technological developments in a field where change comes quickly developments in a field where change comes quickly and dramatically. This awareness is especially necessary considering the CCVS portion of a total security system investment runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Total systems integration will be one of the most important forces driving new CCVS technology in the 1990s. The ability to integrate all types of electronic surveillance security equipment - fire detection systems, burglary/intrusion systems, electronic article surveillance, CCVS, and computer hardware - into one system that can be monitored on-site or remotely constitutes total systems integration.

One key to the successful integration of CCVSs is the microprocessor control/matrix switcher (MCMS). Continued advances are directed at the MCMS because it not only controls camera functions, camera positioning, and signaling but also provides the ability to integrate with other electronic security systems. In larger systems a microcomputer usually serves as the controller, while smaller systems are controlled with microprocessors.

The MCMS of today and the future should allow expansion of a system significantly from even the smallest of installations and should be able to accomodate a system with well over 1,000 cameras without replacing the microprocessor control unit or peripheral equipment. In the future, MCMSs will offer higher degrees of flexibility and ease of operation for both the end user and programmer with increased user friendliness and menu driven programming, thus providing for less costly and quicker changes as well as systems integration.

This flexibility is accomplished through a concern for modular design in the initial production and software development stage. Flexibility enables the system to adapt easily to the many new CCVS applications that are emerging and improves manufacturability, ultimately reducing prices.

Another key to successful integration is the use of high-speed central processing units (CPUs), which drive the microprocessor and reduce the amount of time needed to respond to alarm signals. This faster processing time translates directly into a faster observation of and reaction to an alarm situation. While traditional CPUs have offered an 8-bit capability, most CPUs today have 16 bits and are moving quickly to 32-bit capabilities.

With the age of open architecture in MCMS systems, the ease of interfacing CCVS with other electronic security surveillance devices will enable us to create total electronic security environments. Total systems integration, with all functions controlled on-site or remotely, will create a breed of "smart" buildings, increasing the productivity and efficiency of security personnel.

IN THE 1990S THE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT of CCD (charge-coupled device) solid-state cameras will be highlighted by stronger performance from CCD imagers, expanding camera flexibility under all lighting conditions. Sensitivity of solid-state cameras at lower light levels will increase, and new general-purpose CCD cameras will replace the specialized cameras previously needed to handle varying lighting conditions, virtually eliminating vidicon, Newvicon, and Ultricon tube camera technology.

As CCD technology is further refined, general-purpose cameras will become smaller. The transition from 2/3-in. to 1/2 in. CCD cameras will continue in the '90s, and eventually even smaller CCD cameras will be available. This development of the CCD will enable camera manufacturers to charge less and provide higher performance.

Another benefit of the miniaturization of the CCD camera will be more cost-effective accessory systems. As camera shrink, CCVS accessories required to support the cameras, such as remote positioning devices, housings, and mounts, can be downsized and thus be produced more cheaply.

The CCVS industry will continue to see a major shift toward the use of color CCD cameras and monitors in security and surveillance situations. While color has been more expensive than black-and-white, in some cases almost triple the cost, its more accurate and faster identification of people and objects far outweighs any cost premium.

Continued growth in the general use of color CCDs will arise from dramatic improvements in the low light performance of color CCD imagers. Color cameras and monitors will also become more cost-effective as we realize economies of scale from the growing number of color applications and the eventual price reductions of color imagers and peripheral integrated circuits.

High resolution and ICCD (intensified charge-coupled device) cameras, which are specialized, relatively expensive cameras, are primarily used by the government market. As advances are made during the next decade, we will see them used more frequently in commercial and industrial applications.

High resolution cameras are generally offered in a 2/3-in. format with higher pixel levels. This arrangement provides excellent resolution but, again, is costly. A transfer of the technology being developed for black-and-white and color 1/2-in. CCD cameras will lower the price and improve the performance of high resolution cameras.

ICCD cameras will virtually replace silicon intensified tube cameras in the 1990s. ICCDs are specialized cameras for use in extremely low light levels. Basically, they can see in the dark.

To make the ICCD camera more cost-effective, the focus is on increasing the reliability and extending the life of the intensifier as well as further enhancing low light capacity through the use of fiber optics. And again, lower cost and smaller size will be realized as concurrent developments are made in 1/2-in. CCDs.

The ultimate measure of any CCVS camera is the quality of the image on the monitor. To provide a more effective method of CCD selection, a new industry standard for determining picture quality has been established - picture quality rating (PQR).

PQR is a measure of camera performance. It synthesizes data on the aspects of camera performance most important to picture quality into a single, simple numerical rating that indicates how good the picture will be.

UNTIL NOW, SENSITIVITY AND RESOLUTION have been the most common reference points for evaluating camera performance. Generally speaking, sensitivity measures the minimum light required for a camera to generate a picture. Resolution is a guide to how sharp or detailed the picture will be. These two ratings, however, are only part of the picture.

PQR is the weighted average performance of six aspects of picture quality. In addition to sensitivity and resolution, they are amplitude response, signal-to-noise ratio, horizontal aperture correction, and transfer smear. Because some of these factors are more important than others in defining picture quality, they are weighted in the PQR system.

PQR enables comparison of the performance of one general-purpose camera with similar types of cameras. It does not meaningfully compare general-purpose chip cameras to specialized high resolution or high sensitivity cameras.

The sole purpose of PQR is to compare the picture quality of CCVS cameras. Certainly, other criteria can influence camera choice, such as an application that requires a feature that the camera with the highest PQR does not offer. Since the essential output of the CCVS is the picture, the quality of the picture always ranks at or near the top of the list in camera selection. Therefore, this new rating system provides a tool that meets a market need and should become a new industry standard.

Fiber optics will be one of the key factors in video and control signal transmission developments in the 1990s. To date, one of the real stumbling blocks to the increased use of fiber optics, in addition to its cost, has been the lack of understanding among both end users and dealers as to its advantages in CCVS installations. In addition, the fiber concept has often appeared too high-tech and somewhat threatening.

However, due to the increased number of fiber-optic manufacturers dedicated to the CCVS market, more easy-to-install and cost-effective fiber-optic links are becoming available. This development, in turn, will reduce the cost of fiber-optic cables and connectors, making them accessible to an even larger market.

The most dramatic development in the use of fiber optics will be through multichannel links. The cost of expanding existing CCVS installations can be reduced significantly by using multichannel interfaces (links) that enable multiple video, audio, and control signals to share a single fiber. Installation is relatively easy with fiber-optic cables, eliminating ground loop problems, noise, and electrical interference.

Developments in digitized video will increase users' options for taping and viewing occurrences while eliminating the requirement for large numbers of time-lapse recorders. New systems will incorporate digital video and video compression that are now available in stand-alone devices. These developments will improve resolution and increase playback options from real-time viewing.

The remote transmission of video signals is available today in real time over dedicated digital lines. However, these dedicated digital networks are usually not cost-effective unless they are used to transmit large volumes of video and data. In the future, advancements in video signal transmission will allow for the transmission of video over voice-grade lines (standard telephone lines) in real time, not slow scan. This development will support systems integration and expand the applications of remote video not only in industry and business but also in the home.

Universal camera units will be developed. In addition to being offered as individual components, positioning and housing devices will be constructed in conjunction with the camera and be made available as a single unit.

A major trend will be to design convert and aesthetically appealing accessories for both indoor and outdoor surveillance. Materials will change as the use of plastics and stainless steel grows.

As the technology advances, new opportunities for CCVS will emerge. For example, CCD camera technology will continue to play a major role in the expansion of video surveillance in mobile units. Some of these mobile applications include the following:

Police cars. Law enforcement agencies use CCVS in police cars to increase efficiency and safety.

School buses. Drivers use CCVS cameras and monitors to cover two major blind spots - in front of the bus where children cross and along the sides of the bus near the rear wheels.

Refuse vehicles. For these drivers, a clear view when backing up is critical because they need at least 10 feet in the rear and on both sides of the truck. CCVS makes it possible for both the driver and passenger to have a clear view.

These are just a few of the mobile applications. Others include airport shuttle buses, ambulances, and yachts.

In conclusion, the 1990s will see a continuing explosion in CCVS technology and the markets it serves. The corporate security manager's role will require a total understanding of the emerging technologies of the digital and analog world.

The responsibility of CCVS manufacturers during this continued technological explosion is not only to provide state-of-the-art solutions to the security decision maker but also to support corporate security managers with continued education through CCVS training seminars, CCVS video training tapes, and general verbal and written communications. The future of CCVS is exciting and challenging with new technologies that can offer significant solutions to today's security problems.

Ronald J. Teixeira is senior vice president of marketing for Vicon Industries Inc., in New York.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Closed-Circuit Television
Author:Teixeira, Ronald J.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Nov 1, 1989
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