A Case Against Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Cameras
Many times we go and meet potential customers. They have an idea of what they want and they are clear in letting us know what they are thinking. We love this since it gives us an idea of where they want to go. The customers vision of the system is key to the success of any installation we do. But many times we go in and they tell us, what they want, where they want it and they want nothing else but what they are asking. We run into this quite often.
Most of the time, their perception of what they want was shaped by another security company. There is phenomenal sales man out there representing many great companies that sell you a system and convince you that there is nothing better. This gets stored into the mind of potential customers and instead of us coming in and helping them have the best solution, we end up fighting them and letting them know that, Yes, that is a great solution but it is a technology that is 10 years old…..
Changing the customers mind can be sometimes very difficult and in some occasions they have set their minds on something and wont give you the bid because of it. We see this when it comes to customers who are sold the idea that they need PTZ (pan Tilt Zoom) cameras. They learn that the camera can be manned with a joystick, and you can move it 360 degree and up and down and they are sold on the fact that they can get this camera and cover a huge area with a single camera. All that sounds good but is it practical?
I want to make a case against PTZ.
For many years, I was a promoter of PTZ cameras but learned quickly the many disadvantages of using PTZ cameras.
Here is a list of many of the frustrations of owning PTZ cameras:
1) You cannot cover a wide area with a PTZ camera. Let me explain, Yes, you can have a PTZ camera do a 60 second tour of a parking lot as an example. But are you really covering the parking lot? I see this all the time, I get a call from a customer and they say that a car got vandalized in their parking lot. Well, it just happens that the person who keyed the car and threw the brick through the window and all this happened while the camera was viewing the other side of the parking lot. Even if you get to see part of the video, remember it is on a tour so you will have about 5 seconds out of the 60 to see something. Is that practical?
2) PTZ are composed of mechanical equipment. Just like a car, when you have PTZ’s touring or moving constantly, they are going to require a lot of maintenance. We see PTZ that loose their programed courses because belts get loose. Also, we replace more PTZ cameras than any other camera because they just don’t last.
3) PTZ where designed to be manned. Many folks go into this camera thinking that they can zoom in to a license plate and get the numbers or maybe see who is going to dump something on the dumpster of his apartment complex or place of business. But lets think about this, 99% of the system installed to date don’t have a security guard viewing the cameras. And owners will see the camera constantly for about 2 months and after that it is forgotten until something actually happens. If you are the 99% of the folks who want to leave the system alone and do its course then how can you get that license plate or the stranger that keep dumping into your trash. And lets say you ask the PTZ to do a tour, well, if you don’t monitor it and the power went down, most cameras stop the tour when power is restored which leaves you with a camera viewing to the wrong area.
4) Well, I think you get the point.
Ok… so what are my options… I mean… I don’t want to have 100 cameras just to watch the parking lot….
We are glad you asked:
We have a great line of High Definition cameras that are able to capture from 360 degree to 180 degrees to 10 degrees and still give you the detail you need to zoom into an object get the information you need without sacrificing the remaining of the picture.
What I am trying to say is that our system can give you what a PTZ can plus much more and you will never loose any video.
For example, one of our most popular cameras for parking lots is our Panoramic 180 degree camera. This is a single camera with two lenses that enables you to cover from wall to wall, 180 degrees of HD video. Cover an entire parking lot from a single camera. But it gets better, you can digitally zoom into an area of the picture and see the car that got vandalized, see the individual who did it while still recording the entire 180 degree picture.
The video below shows you what I mean when it comes to digital zoom. Take close look at the area that the camera is covering. Then see how we can digitally zoom in while still capturing the entire area.