Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
October 27, 2016

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CCTV field trial footage: Sony SNC-VB770 ultra-high sensitivity 4K cameras

Watch footage from a field trial of Sony’s SNC-VB770 (4K) cameras, conducted by northeast-based integrator Universal Systems Solutions.

We also put some questions to the company’s business development manager, Peter Hood, about the trial, as well as partnering with Sony, how their business model is evolving and why he thinks more collaboration is needed across the industry.

peter-hood-uss

Peter Hood

IFSEC Global: Hi, Peter. Please tell us a bit about your company…

Peter Hood: Universal Systems Solutions was established in 2004 and we’re an NSI Silver-accredited, independent security systems integrator. Our core solution areas cover IP CCTV, analytics, VMS, access control and physical security information management [PSIM]. We’re also an IT services company providing a wide range IT solutions including secure wireless/wired networking and infrastructure.

Typically we work with both public and private sector organisations and our company ethos is all about delivering positive outcomes for our clients. We seek to provide operational and commercial benefits derived from the solutions we design, install and support.

Our clients include Nissan Europe, Port of Tyne Authority and Newcastle City Council to name but a few.

We undertook our own field trials of Sony’s 4K VB770 models to compare the camera in low-light scenarios, comparing actual view in darkness, what an HD camera with IR could pick up and of course the footage

An example of our work is the provision and support of public space CCTV for Newcastle City Council as part of the Safe City Initiative. The Solution comprises Sony IP CCTV connected via a secure wireless/wired mesh network and provision/support of Milestone VMS. We’ve also deployed our wireless 4G CCTV for urban traffic management,which again is built on Sony technology.

Our company has grown steadily since inception: we now employ 25 staff and our combined turnover for the last financial year was circa £1.7m.

IG: How did you end up integrating Sony products? What does that process involve?

PH: While we are independent and we do work with other manufacturers of CCTV, our relationship with Sony goes back 13 years. We’re a UK Gold Partner with Sony Europe and we’ve developed not only a strong commercial relationship, but also a deep technical relationship. This gives us early access to product innovations, allowing us to evaluate and be an early adopter of their technologies.

From an integration perspective this level of relationship allows us to design, test and evaluate new technologies in real-world scenarios – an example being the first global installation of their 4K resolution camera – negating the need for multiple cameras to be used – at last years’ Rugby World Cup fan zone in Newcastle.

During this evaluation we worked closely with Sony to ensure the solution would work to the operational specification required.

sony ifsec

Sony SNC-VB770: an ultra-high sensitivity 4K camera

IG: You recently conducted field trials of Sony’s SNC-VB770 ultra-high sensitivity 4K cameras

PH: Because of our relationship, we were given early access to information surrounding the ultra- low light technology Sony were going to release with the VB770 camera. Naturally we were very excited about this and saw it as a game-changer.

We decided to undertake our own field trials to compare the camera in low-light scenarios, comparing actual view in darkness, what an HD camera with IR could pick up and of course the VB770 footage. Our approach is always to work with the vendor and seek to test solutions before we take them to market.

The footage achieved from the field trials was unbelievable and we shared it with Sony (who have used the footage themselves worldwide) and with a select few clients to begin with, the reaction has been incredible.

We have invested in our own demonstration equipment and we are in several discussions with clients for evaluation. We also have orders secured.

An application for 4K CCTV use could be an organization that needs to cover a wide area, so a Sony 4K camera could replace say a PTZ camera or several box cameras to cover this area

IG: What kind of organisations tend to be interested in these 4K low-light cameras? And are they generally replacing very old systems or do you sometimes install 4K cameras because they have a specific need for these cameras, despite their existing cameras being relatively high spec?

PH: That’s a good question, given that there are still a lot of organisations running analogue systems. Over recent years we have of course seen businesses embrace IP HD technology, whether that’s a completely new system deployment or the adoption of a migration strategy.

We obviously work with clients to determine the right fit solution for them and it’s not always the case that 4K resolution is going to be better than normal HD.

An application for 4K CCTV use could be an organization that needs to cover a wide area, so a Sony 4K camera could replace say a PTZ camera or several box cameras to cover this area. It can stream an overall low-resolution situational view, plus cropped original 4K resolution views of specific areas of interest in the scene, with multi-tracking to chase moving subjects.

The 20 megapixel sensor also enables high-quality still image recording at beyond 4K resolution to allow close examination of a scene for evidence purposes.

We see the combination of ultra-low light and 4K as providing an alternative to address challenging areas where lighting is an issue or the use of IR is prohibitive.

Ultra-low light technology could also be an alternative to expensive, thermal, low to mid-range cameras. Obviously this would depend on the ranges that need to be covered.

We are also seeing interest in this technology from police forces.

IG: How is your business model evolving as technology changes, especially with the cloud computing and IoT [internet of things] trends?

PH: We continue to embrace new technologies as they emerge and we are always undertaking research which is used to help us with the design considerations of solutions for our clients. The IoT presents many opportunities to bring together disparate security systems into fully interconnected solutions, especially when considering physical security information management systems and the ability to bring all systems together across multiple locations, and having other systems communicating with each other.

While we see increasing opportunities to take advantage of advancements in cloud computing and the IoT, we believe there is also a need and an opportunity for organisations to consider collaboration to share their security resources

Of course, as these types of deployments become more commonplace, thought needs to be given to the massive amount of data produced, how it is mined and how it is then presented to support operational efficiency and associated decision-making processes.

Over the years cloud computing has provided businesses with the opportunity to provision processing and storage resources, utilising alternative cost models. We are already seeing providers leverage these resources to market solutions such as ‘security as a service’ [SaaS].

Increasingly, we will see further demands to ensure that these types of services and associated data can be accessed securely, are scalable and resilient.

While we will continue to embrace these technologies again we always need to ensure that the solution or service is the right fit for the client from both an operational and commercial perspective.

IG: Thanks, Peter. Anything else to add?

PH: While we continue to see camera technology developing and increasing opportunities to take advantage of advancements in cloud computing and the IoT, we believe there is also a need and an opportunity for organisations to consider collaboration to share their security resources.

For example, in our cities and towns, if local councils, transport organisations, police forces, retailers, universities and colleges all work together and utilise standardised security platforms, sharing information securely via enabling technologies could provide overall operational efficiencies for each other and numerous beneficial outcomes in security and surveillance.

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