Go to any security media outlet and the talk is about megapixel cameras, even though depending on whom you ask, somewhere around 80 percent of all installations are still analog cameras. Is there a disconnect? No, not really, because many of these analog users want to be using megapixel cameras. Here’s why.

Megapixel cameras can provide significantly more coverage than analog, typically several times the coverage of multiple analog cameras and do it at less cost. Because of their higher resolution, they can provide forensic level details not previously available without getting the subject into a specific location through some type of flow control, which can be impractical in many settings. As a result, megapixel cameras make it much easier to pick out a license plate number, watch over a monetary transaction or keep track of high value, smaller objects such as watches and jewelry. In other words, they can provide PTZ-like coverage without the moving parts.

Of course, they also offer IP advantages such as PoE, scalability, flexible installs and the earlier-mentioned higher resolution. They interconnect with off-the-shelf (COTS) components, such as switches, routers and cabling, that are commonly available. Standardization, via ONVIF and PSIA, is becoming a reality. This is likely to spread the use of IP systems and, subsequently, that of megapixel cameras.

So, Who Are Using Megapixel Cameras?

DEPARTMENT STORES – Because of the great clarity of images, jewelry stores use them to protect rings, earrings and watches. In the beauty department, they watch over perfumes, make-up and samples. High-value items, such as jackets, dresses and high fashion shoes are shoplifter targets as are high traffic items, such as undergarments, purses, glasses and wallets. The level of detail helps distinguish what is being moved/sold versus simply aerial coverage of a sales floor.

GROCERY STORES – The first installation almost always goes in the customer service area, where transactions concerning the lottery, tobacco products, checks/money orders/bill payments and refunds are conducted, the perfect place to set up sweetheart deals between too-friendly employees and customers. The cash out room is typically next for obvious reasons. High-traffic areas with high-value items, such as meats, wines and liquors, are notorious for shoplifting.

Megapixel cameras catch image details at the cash register, keeping everyone honest regarding sweet heart shopping, coupons, cash transactions and the self-help lines. They also can monitor employee productivity.

In the parking lot, they keep a visual update on carts, vandalism and accidents. Inside and outside, they protect the store from fraudulent slips-and-falls.

SCHOOLS – K-12 environs, with rare exceptions, want megapixel cameras. The network infrastructure is typically already in place and K-12 has less restrictions on bandwidth use than corporate accounts. They appreciate the clearer images the video provides. Plus, they can easily cover an entire campus from one or more locations. 
Since most schools have no guard or security operator working on a 24/7 basis, many districts want to use megapixel cameras instead of analog PTZ cameras. If there is an incident, the operator can later easily search and zoom in and out for the recorded incident.

CASINOS – Megapixel cameras have an important role to play watching over the tables. How is the dealer interacting? What is the floor leader doing? What’s going on between customers?

They are a natural for the cash counting rooms, protect the casino from the bane of all commercial organizations, the fraudulent slip-and-fall, provide floor coverage, letting the house know when to add more tables, and are a great boon for public safety.

MUNICIPALITIES – Major users because of both their wide coverage and high resolution, megapixel cameras answer the prayers of many municipalities. A high-profile application has been to reclaim city parks that have been decimated by gangs and drug dealers. At event venues, such as stadiums, arenas and parade grounds, megapixel cameras help authorities with crowd control, disturbances and vandalism. 
Not only do they provide real time monitoring so that law enforcement or responders can immediately start rectifying a problem, they provide high-resolution evidence for prosecuting the person or people that caused the disturbance. They can allow authorities to get a clearer image of the perpetrator’s face as well as license plate identification for the get-away car.

Bottom Line – Megapixel Cameras Are Showing Up Everywhere
Megapixel cameras are showing up in any application needing to cover a wide area, such as the area in front of the entrance to a bank, corridors in a large government building or lobbies of hotels. They are also used in applications requiring sharp concise recorded images, such as at a loan department to record the signings of contracts or at a bank teller station to identify the customer and verify cash exchanges.