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Panasonic i-Pro Extreme

by Benchmark

The developments in processing have resulted in exponential growth in terms of smarter solutions. Nowhere is this more evident than in the depth of features and functions available from modern edge devices such as cameras. Where once cameras were designed to maximise their processing capacities for the delivery of high quality images, today’s devices can add a diverse range of features.

When higher resolution cameras first started appearing in the security surveillance space, many of the devices described as HD simply could not deliver the HD video streams they were claimed to offer. HD is – and always has been – a complete performance standard, and as such represents so much more than an image resolution. It also specifies a minimum frame rate of 25fps. Essentially, a 1920 x 1080 resolution image streaming at less than 25fps isn’t standard-compliant HD.

It was common for many of the early HD cameras to not meet this specification, and the reason was simple: the processing chips being used simply didn’t have the capacity to manage the video stream and carry out other necessary processing. As a result, even the best cameras would only deliver a compliant HD stream if other processing-hungry features such as WDR and BLC were disabled.

Today’s higher resolution devices do not share these limitations. Not only do many devices have processing chips which can support 50fps streaming with simultaneous processing relating to image enhancement, but they also support high end analytics or allow third party applications to be run as well.

The processing ‘bottle neck’ which impacted on many edge devices is a thing of the past, and today’s cameras offer a diverse range of functions, making the units even smarter. One example of this is the i-Pro Extreme range from Panasonic.

What is it?

Panasonic’s i-Pro Extreme is a series of high functionality cameras which are supplied with a range of features, including a number of Panasonic’s proprietary functions. The series includes 4K and HD multiple-sensor cameras, internal and external PTZ speed-domes, heavy duty positioning cameras, 4K and HD fixed dome cameras, 360 degree single sensor cameras, and box cameras with and without housings and other peripheral hardware.

What sets the i-Pro Extreme range devices apart from other options are the manifold features that are built-in. Many of the cameras offer support for Panasonic’s award-winning facial recognition system.

When used in combination with the appropriate software, the solution enable recognition of black- or white-listed persons, even if they are wearing sunglasses, hats or if the face orientation is challenging.

Based upon deep learning algorithms, the technology can even allow for aging.

Another smart functionality is Vehicle Incident Detection functionality. This detects incidents such as wrong-way driving and stopped vehicles within an area of interest.

Other intelligent analytics functions are intruder detection, loitering detection, directional analysis and sensing, line crossing, object left and object removed, global scene change sensing, people counting and heat mapping. The cameras also include MOR (moving object recognition) which enables the digital removal of people in a scene for privacy purposes.

The i-Pro Extreme range of cameras also feature a number of cybersecurity benefits which have been designed in to assist integrators and installers when offering resilient and robust installations.

Recordings are encrypted by the camera at the edge, and all transmissions are encrypted end-to-end, ensuring that data is not vulnerable when being transmitted across the network. Supplied with pre-installed Symantec device certification, video tampering can be detected by the user.

The encryption function encrypts video and other system data to prevent the information being accessed by unauthorised persons, either via the camera interface of through theft of the SD card.

If data encryption is active, a valid password is required for decryption. Images can only be viewed once the password has been entered.

If the network connection is lost or compromised, footage is saved directly to the camera via an integral SD memory card (SD, SDHC or SDXC cards are supported). Configurations can be made to only record images to the SD memory card when an alarm is triggered. SD cards offer a back-up if there is an issue with the network, and images are transmitted to the video recorder or server when the network reconnects. These edge-based recordings are also encrypted and require password authentication.

Whilst these benefits add to the value of the camera series, many of the proprietary technologies boost the image quality, ensuring vital information is captured regardless of the conditions.

Image quality

The i-Pro Extreme series has been designed with thought for image quality in less-than-ideal conditions. With regards to low light, the range includes models which feature infrared illumination and colour-based night vision.

The colour night vision functionality improves the user’s ability to distinguish between colour shades for the identification of clothing or vehicles in low light environments: the manufacturer states a minimum luminance of 0.03 lux is required.

Cameras with IR LEDs enable monitoring of environments in complete darkness. Capable of illuminating a wide area, the illuminators can capture images with a range of up to 40 metres. The illumination intensity is automatically adjusted to eliminate issues with screen whitening when the IR reflects off a subject close to the camera.

Advanced image stabilisation is deployed by the i-Pro Extreme cameras to prevent blurred images, and intelligent sensitivity allows the automatic adjustment of the camera’s gain and shutter speed, based upon real-time assessment of brightness levels and movement of the tracked object.

Panasonic has offered the SD (Super Dynamic) functionality, a proprietary WDR function, for many years and it has proven to be very effective. The i-Pro Extreme series uses new 144dB enhanced Super Dynamic capabilities, which not only allows the system’s high-performance face detection technology to work in challenging conditions, but also ensures the camera captures critical evidence in dynamically problematic scenes and heavily backlit conditions.

The i-PRO camera feature advanced firmware designed to boost image details. This not only allows the boosting of images captured in fog, snow, rain and other environmental conditions that can harm video quality, but can also be applied to recordings.

In summary

Panasonic has a track-record of leading the way when it comes to camera technology, and the extensive i-Pro Extreme range delivers a whole host of benefits for integrators and installers.

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