Page 8 - Security Today, January/February 2021
P. 8

By Dilen Thakar
Outside the Walls Video surveillance designed for challenging environments
Enterprise operations can’t always be protected by walls, barriers or environmental controls. When it comes to video surveillance for outdoor use, security solutions often require specialized camera technology to be effective and maximize monitoring capabilities.
Despite the potential challenges posed by dirt, dust, wind, light, temperature and water, virtually every industry relies on video monitoring to play a key part in their security strategy. For facilities spanning from oil and gas production to power and utili- ties to wastewater treatment — just to provide a few examples — resiliency and reliability of video security technology is paramount.
Today, camera manufacturers are designing ruggedized devices featuring innovations in both hardware and software, allowing end users to benefit from camera technology that not only withstands the elements, but also continues to deliver high-quality video.
Providing consistent, reliable video surveillance in all light condi- tions is crucial for security operators. What’s more, every applica- tion has its own unique set of challenges with lighting. So, the key to optimizing video surveillance in environments where there may be low levels of light or a high level of contrast within a scene is to leverage technology from innovators in the industry that en- hances control of exposure and expands the scope of usable light.
Advancements in light management technology with adap- tive low-light capabilities enable the cameras — particularly in 360-degree technology — to dynamically manage the available light to achieve the best results in every corner of a scene. It starts
with the design and construction of the lens and applies all the way through to the final images and how they are streamed.
Manufacturers carefully make specific hardware choices, such as a large, high-quality aperture fisheye lens, a high sensitivity image sensor and image signal processors that drive how firm- ware adaptively manages exposure and light levels. Whether it be extreme low light or a complex mixed lighting environment, im- age quality can be optimized automatically no matter the light available to produce clearer, full-color, lower noise surveillance videos, all the while maintaining the sharpness of static or mov- ing objects even in very low-light conditions.
Managing scenes that have very dark and very bright elements present at the same time can be trickier. There is one image pro- cessing technology that has clearly been the differentiator on this front. The continued advancements in high (or wide) dynamic range (HDR) technology have allowed both dark and light areas within the same image to be clearly visible at the same time, revealing important details that matter. HDR enables the camera to intelligently capture two different images of the same frame with different exposure levels, and it then merges those to bring out the detail in both areas.
Unlike the more traditional sequential HDR technologies, re- cent innovations have made it possible to capture the two frames concurrently, minimizing the time lag between short and long expo- sures and generating clear, sharp images with minimal motion blur.
Outdoor security often lacks a robust video surveillance system due to the physical challenges of demanding environmental con-

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