In recent years, the ‘open platform’ approach to including feature-rich applications on cameras and codecs has become a reality. Advances in processing capabilities mean that manufacturers are able to accommodate additional software plug-ins that add specialised features to their devices. For installers and integrators looking to create smart and innovative bespoke solutions, this allows simpler integrations.
In the past, manufacturers of cameras for video surveillance had to undergo something of a balancing act. As demand for cameras with higher resolutions and increased frame rates grew, so did an expectation that such devices would be feature-rich and include advanced functionality.
The processing capabilities of chipsets at that time were somewhat limited. Managing high quality video in real-time placed a lot of strain on the available resources. Adding in ever increasing levels of functionality such as wide dynamic range, enhanced lowlight performance, noise reduction and the like simply increase the burden for video chipsets. This was before the manufacturer could even consider the addition of value-added features such as intelligent video analytics or business intelligence functions.
Thankfully, Moore’s law came to the rescue! With the growth in capacity of processing chips, the video surveillance sector saw many suppliers take one of two paths. While some chose to retain the use of older and less powerful chipsets to achieve lower prices, more forward-thinking camera manufacturers came up with ways to exploit the spare processing capacity available in the new breed of chipsets.
Even with the capacity for handling real-time high-resolution video and increased video processing, the new chipsets still had plenty in reserve. This presented the opportunity of running edge-based applications on the camera or encoder itself. This allowed specialist companies to produce plug-ins that enhance the performance of these cameras.
With the similarity to Apps in the smartphone sector, these edge-based applications allowed specific features or functions to be added to the open platform devices. This allowed the camera manufacturers to concentrate their efforts on delivering enhanced image capture performance, whilst allowing partners with skills in other areas to create a seamless and easy-to-implement integration at the camera level.
A bespoke approach
Axis Communications has established itself as an innovator and market leader in the network-based camera and encoder market. The company produced the first network-based surveillance camera, and since then has played a pivotal role in the development of this market sector. As a partner company in the Benchmark Smart Solutions project, the company’s ACAP platform delivers a true open-platform for the specification and implementation of edge-based applications.
ACAP (Axis Camera Application Platform) is available on the vast majority of the company’s professional network camera and encoder range. It allows a vast range of applications to be added to compatible devices, thus enhancing the integration possibilities for a wide range of security requirements. Edge-based applications can be used for standalone solutions using a single camera, or equally can be deployed in large and complex campus-style environments.
The edge-based applications include security-specific tools designed to improve the levels of protection on offer and to enhance the day-to-day operations of a security department. Equally, applications can enhance the management and efficiency of a business. This approach can include business intelligence, report generation, identification of behavioural trends and a host of other tasks aimed at specific vertical markets. Finally, the applications can also be used to optimise the performance of the edge device itself, whether it be a camera or encoder.
By working with accredited partners, Axis Communications can ensure that all edge-based applications are compatible with the devices. This allows installers and integrators to be assured that any integrations will be seamless and credible.
When many people think of edge-based applications, they immediately think about video analytics. There is a good reason for this: IVA is well represented amongst the many available edge-based plug-ins.
Whether you are looking for enhanced video motion detection, more flexible analytics such as directional line cross or perimeter protection, or specific rules including object left/removed, zone enter/exit or sterile zone monitoring, these are all well represented.
Target tracking also features highly, with variants that allow digital zoom and PTZ functionality to be used when following intruders using a multi-megapixel camera. Edge-based applications which specifically target people or vehicles are also widely available.
With growing concerns about the security of security systems themselves, there are a host of open platform applications that address issues such as tampering, defocusing, sabotage and a range of other potential risks against the cameras and security infrastructure.
Some of the edge applications are aimed at very specific vertical markets, and as such can deliver real added-value for niche users. Examples include monitoring of track and tunnels for railways, management of road safety and traffic-based applications, traffic flow management (including detection of vehicles travelling in a wrong direction or through prohibited areas), behaviour analysis for maritime sites, etc.. There are also a variety of ANPR and other vehicle tracking solutions.
Management and efficiency options also figure highly with a variety of people counting, vehicle counting, heat mapping, process control, queue management, occupancy management and even gender recognition plug-ins available.
Optex – also a Benchmark Smart Solutions project partner – has created edge-based plug-ins to allow the integration of detectors into any video surveillance solution. Whilst there are a number of ways to achieve this, the ACAP applications offer a simple and flexible choice for certain sites.
There are also a host of edge-based applications which enhance system functionality. These range from the delivery of timelapse recorded video through to simple integrations with video door entry systems, advanced age of recording and footage watermarking.
For those seeking to create simple integrations, platforms such as ACAP offer a depth of flexibility combined with ease of installation. As such, they can aid installers and integrators offering bespoke solutions.