Avigilon says PTZ will take company to new places

New cams target gaming, large retail, petrochem verticals, including major New Mexico casino
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

VANCOUVER, British Columbia—Avigilon executives expect the release, announced today, of the company's new PTZ camera to propel the video surveillance provider further into gaming and other major vertical markets.

Last week, Avigilon announced its first major casino project win, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Albuquerque, N.M. Keith Marett, Avigilon VP of marketing and communications, told Security Systems News that the Hard Rock will likely be one of the first locations where the new PTZ cameras are deployed. He expects it to be a marquee example of how megapixel video can be used in the gaming vertical.

Known for its multiple-megapixel, high-definition products, Avigilon launched its H3 platform—which includes new 3- and 5-megapixel cameras—at ISC West.

The key difference with its new H3 platform is an enhanced H.264 compression technology as part its HDSM (high definition stream management). The H3 products have lower storage requirements and use “four times less bandwidth [than previous H.264 products] but have the high definition we’re known for,” Marett said.

The new H3 platform technology means Avigilon’s new PTZ cameras don’t have the latency problems generally associated with IP- and megapixel-PTZ cameras, Marett said.

“HDSM and the new H3 platform support the PTZ product and will enable the megapixel PTZ to be used for what it’s supposed to be used for—following and tracking at high speed without worrying about latency and precise positioning,” Marett said.

To ensure the image quality, the PTZ camera has a custom-made dome. With the moving lens of a PTZ, “if it’s not at the perfect distance from the dome, it can throw the image quality off,” Marett explained. The custom dome “adds to the perfect picture,” he said.

Marett said the PTZ cameras are ideal for surveillance in open areas such as airports, petrochemical facilities, cities and large retail sites.

The integrator on the Hard Rock project is SSI of Las Vegas. At this point, Avigilon’s new PTZ cameras are not included in the job, but Marett said SSI wants to use PTZ and “we expect they’ll be one of our very first customers.”

The project includes restaurants, retail and parking facilities in addition to the 100,000-square-foot casino. “They have a broad range of needs; it’s not the typical amount of surveillance,” Marett said.

He said the majority of casinos (80 percent) are not using megapixel cameras. “They’re scared of the unknown. They think if they move to megapixel, the bandwidth consumption will be incredible,” he said.

Marett expects this job to be a marquee project and the first of many casino wins. “It will be a solid megapixel deployment, and it’ll help us get our name out there and show how we handle bandwidth. ... it’s a great story for us and we think it will allay fears.”

The project, which is already under way, involves more than 200 new cameras, 250 analog video encoders for cameras that will be upgraded in the future, multiple workstations and servers providing up to 30 days of storage, and Avigilon’s VMS.

Todd Flowers, CEO of SSI, said his company has been working with Avigilon for a couple years. He said the Hard Rock project will be “a good testbed for Avigilon in a real gaming environment.” As opposed to other projects which have used “a couple hundred channels, this project will have more than 1,000 channels. This is Avigilon’s opportunity to shine, and we’re betting that’s going to happen,” Flowers said.  

The new surveillance system will result in a 70 percent savings in power consumption for Hard Rock by reducing the number of cameras, as well as fewer and higher-capacity servers. “The old recording system consumed a tremendous amount of power and created a lot of heat,” Marett said. Air conditioning costs will also be reduced.

“[It will save] thousands and thousands of dollars per year,” Marett said.

The energy savings in a job like this will help integrators win more jobs, Marett said. The integrators can speak to the security experts about image quality, and speak to the CFO about costs savings, he said.

Avigilon lists the other features of its PTZ camera, which will be available in August, as: “20-times optical zoom and up to 12-times digital zoom; cameras work in -50 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit; PoE plus power; 360-degree rotation up to 450 degrees per second; smooth operation and captures fluid motion with 30 fps; ONVIF compliant with Avigilon Control Center and other VMS solutions; 3D privacy mask; low-light performance; LPR from 900 feet away; external microphone and speaker support for two-way audio; external I/O interface; three-year limited warranty.”