The Next Generation of Camera Technology
In 2016 Avigilon announced the release of its latest CCTV platform, the H4 series, with promises of higher performance with lower bandwidth consumption, optimized compression and self-learning video analytics. This included the release of several new products including the NVR3 line of storage devices, cameras with 7K resolution, the H4 ES and SL camera lines and the much anticipated H4 PTZ and fisheye cameras – quite possibly two of the best products released by the Vancouver based company in recent years.
The critical improvement over the H3 platform is the introduction of the new High Definition Stream Management (HDSM). HDSM allows the video from a camera to be sent in two separate streams which Avigilon calls situational awareness stream and full image detail stream. The situational awareness stream is the smaller of the two streams and is more commonly used. This stream by default is what is sent to your video workstation which contains less detail and therefore consumes less bandwidth. This mode is ideal for many images displayed on a video wall at the same time. When you want to digitally zoom into an image the system automatically switches streams to the full image detail mode. This stream allows for maximum image detail at the cost of higher bandwidth consumption. HDSM is possible thanks to the method of storing the video data in small packets throughout the NVRs and using a sophisticated indexing system to be able to quickly sort through the data and switch streams seamlessly.
Notably, the H4 series of cameras is more expensive than their H3 counterparts. To bridge the gap between high performance, feature rich hardware and affordability, Avigilon has released the H4SL series. The SL cameras are modular based, so the camera itself can easily connect into multiple different bases offering flexibility when encountering unknown hardware mounting surfaces on site. Mobile device compatibility allows installation technicians the opportunity to setup views without needing someone on the other end. The SL series of cameras are noticeability smaller than the regular H4 cameras, this makes for a smaller installation footprint and lower profile for areas where discretion is desired.
Overall the H4 platform is a resounding success for Avigilon. The H4 PTZ has some of the best image quality ever seen in a PTZ at that price point. The 360 degree fisheye cameras have been incredibly popular with clients and frequently steals the show during product demos. The new NVR3 video servers offer more storage per dollar than ever before with even better throughput and up to 10G connection speeds with high end switch stacks.
We can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Sam Raymond, Unified Systems Inc. May 22, 2017