Monday, January 17, 2011

Breaking the security logjam?

The video security industry is crying out for machine vision – human monitoring of video feeds is about as effective as manual inspection, which is to say, not very – yet the uptake of MV tools and techniques seems slow.

One reason is the huge installed base of video systems. These tend to use coax to transmit PAL and NTSC video, and that limits the ability of software to handle communications between cameras and PC’s. Upgrading to Ethernet is a big job, which is one reason the industry has been holding back.

But problems are also opportunities and one company sees this as a chance to make some money. As reported in Electronic Design, (Surveillance Camera Chips Help OEMs Envision New Markets, December 9th, 2010,) Intersil is offering technology that “make[s] it possible to run IP video, analog video, and RS-458 control signals over legacy coax in surveillance systems.” Sounds like that could be a pretty significant breakthrough.

Interestingly, they’ve also gone the other way by launching a product, “MegaQ,” that “… makes it possible to send CVBS [composite video, blanking and sync,) over CAT 5 Ethernet cable. There are some good technical reasons why you might want to do this, but rather than plagiarize the entire Electronic Design article I’m going to ask you to go to the source by clicking the link above.

If these two products really catch on, and I think they might, we could be on cusp of a huge new market for machine vision. Now doesn’t that get your attention?

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