Everyone's Going 360

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Oct 23, 2012

For more than a decade, panoramic cameras have been the next big thing (remember IPIX?). However, adoption struggled for year, but now new product options and integrations are increasing their acceptance. In this note, we examing the reasons for this slow trend, recent announcements which impact the panoramic market, and future prospects.

Slow Trend

Though panoramic cameras gained attention over the years, market adoption has been sluggish, to say the least. The two biggest problems were:

  • Limited number of manufacturers offering panoramic cameras (e.g., Mobotix, Grandeye) forced users to go to new suppliers for models.
  • Limited amount of VMS integration blocked immersive panoramic cameras from being used effectively. While a web browser separate from the VMS could be used, most found this highly disadvantageous.

Value of 360º Cameras

Panoramic cameras claim "doing more with less" as the key value proposition. Installing a single camera offering a 360º view provides greater situational awareness than a single camera normally provides, though at the loss of detail in the scene, as pixel density drops very quickly.

360º cameras (both single-imager panoramic and multi-imager) also reduce licensing costs by requiring only one license instead of multiple cameras and licenses to cover the same area. 

Recent Changes

In the past year, several developments have improved panoramic cameras' positioning in the industry:

  • At ASIS 2012, industry giant Axis displayed its first 360º fisheye panoramic camera, the M3007-PV, projected for release later this year. 
  • Also at ASIS 2012 Panasonic announced two 360º panoramic cameras for indoor and outdoor use.
  • These above releases are in addition to panoramic models from mainstream manufacturers D-Link, Vivotek, and ACTi, as well as expansions of Sentry360 (up to 10MP) and ImmerVision (releasing a 5MP-rated lens).
  • Aside from new camera models, VMS support has also increased, with new integrations announced by Genetec, Milestone, Exacq, OnSSI, and others in the past year.

With Axis and Panasonic joining most of the Taiwanese manufacturers and a number of other global providers, getting a panoramic from one's preferred vendor is no longer that difficult.

Announcements from other, lesser-known camera manufactuers and VMS providers have also further increased panoramic cameras' market presence.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Remaining Barriers to Adoption

Though support and product options have increased, there are still a few remaining barriers to widespread adoption of panoramic cameras:

  • SDK integration: Most panoramic camera manufacturers require a separate SDK for dewarping and immersive (ePTZ) controls. This makes integration to VMS systems challenging, as many software providers are hesitant to devote development resources to integrate multiple manufacturers using a technology which has seen relatively little demand. In many cases, these integrations are performed only when there is a real-world business case to drive demand for a specific panoramic camera. Note, though, Axis's alternative SDK approach for its new 360 series.
  • Performance: As we discussed in our tests of Mobotix Q24 and GrandEye, panoramic cameras have definite tradeoffs in image detail, dynamic range, and low light capability. These issues need to be carefully considered. Single and multi-imager cameras are somewhat better able to compensate for WDR, and a few models that support a C/CS mount fisheye lens can allow for better (but larger) cameras to be used.
  • Multi-imager impact: Arecont has had much success with their 180º multi-imager SurroundView cameras (see our 20MP test results), despite performance and build quality complaints. This line delivers panoramic imaging without any special SDK integration nor dewarping plus much greater pixel density than fisheyes. However, despite the value, Arecont remains one of the few open multi-imager panoramic providers in the market. Until we see more of this style, the panoramic market will not reach its full potential.

Future Prospects

Undeniably, panoramic cameras are better positioned today than they have ever been. Users now have more options in both cameras and VMS support. However, users may still see some disappointment stemming from panoramic support by their preferred platforms, as well as camera performance issues.

For more on selecting 360 cameras, review our Criteria for Selecting 360 / Panoramic cameras guide. And get ready for our panoramic shootout this winter!

1 report cite this report:

Mobotix Wedge Panoramic Camera on Dec 19, 2014
Mobotix was one of the first manufacturers with panoramic cameras. Since then, everyone has gone 360, and panoramic cameras have become...

Related Reports

Milestone: "Easy Money Days Are Over" on Feb 17, 2017
Contrary to IPVM's criticisms, Milestone has reaffirmed that glory days remain. But they admit that they 'easy money days are over': Are the...
Panasonic Favorability Results on Feb 16, 2017
Panasonic is one of the largest brands in the world and a long term provider of both video surveillance imagers and cameras. But, like all...
Hikvision Silicon Valley and Canada R&D Expansion on Feb 15, 2017
After massive growth in their sales team, Hikvision is now planning to add two new R&D centers in North America. In this report we examine...
Bosch/Genetec Video Cybersecurity Partnership Examined (CHAVE) on Feb 15, 2017
Surveillance products have been relatively weak when it comes to cyber security. Default passwords, open ports, and weak authentication mechanisms...
Avigilon New VMS Version ACC6 Examined on Feb 13, 2017
Almost 4 years after ACC5 was released, Avigilon is releasing the next major revision of their VMS, which includes their Appearance...
Hitachi Taking On Security Industry on Feb 09, 2017
Hitachi, bigger than Sony and Panasonic overall, with $89 billion USD 2016 total revenue, is expanding into the security industry. They are...
Milestone App - PSIM Lite (Alesys) on Feb 09, 2017
Milestone has many features in their VMS, but it is not a PSIM. Italian PSIM developer Alesys thinks sensor integrations and alarm management can...
Axis 15MP Multi-Imager Tested (Q3708-PVE) on Feb 07, 2017
Axis continues to expand in the multi imager market, adding to a segment started with the 33MP Q3709. We bought the Q3708-PVE and tested it...
Axis Favorability Results on Feb 03, 2017
For many years, Axis sold the most IP cameras but, with the rise of Hikvision and Dahua, that has changed. How would that impact Axis...
Veracity Acquires PSIM Manufacturer on Feb 03, 2017
Most well-known for their Ethernet extenders, with their own video surveillance storage offering, Veracity has now acquired a PSIM. UK-based...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Simplisafe is 'Blowing The Doors Off' on Feb 17, 2017
The company alarm dealers love to hate, Simplisafe, is 'blowing the doors off' according to Michael Barnes, one of the top financial advisors in...
Hikvision OEM DDNS Devices To 'Lose Remote Access' on Feb 17, 2017
The fallout of Hikvision's DDNS discontinuation is expanding, this time hitting OEM partner Supercircuits, who reports that on June 30th: The...
Milestone: "Easy Money Days Are Over" on Feb 17, 2017
Contrary to IPVM's criticisms, Milestone has reaffirmed that glory days remain. But they admit that they 'easy money days are over': Are the...
Directory of Alarm Panel Manufacturers on Feb 16, 2017
Alarm panels are the central controller of intrusion systems. The following is a list of manufacturers of alarm panels. This directory only covers...
Panasonic Favorability Results on Feb 16, 2017
Panasonic is one of the largest brands in the world and a long term provider of both video surveillance imagers and cameras. But, like all...
China Huawei Gives France Free City Surveillance on Feb 16, 2017
China is using its financial resources again, this time in France, just a month after the Chinese government funded a $100 million security /...
Hikvision Silicon Valley and Canada R&D Expansion on Feb 15, 2017
After massive growth in their sales team, Hikvision is now planning to add two new R&D centers in North America. In this report we examine...
Directory Of Wholesale Central Station Monitoring Providers on Feb 15, 2017
Wholesale central stations help smaller and local dealers providing monitoring to their customers. Dozens of options exist.  Below is the first...
Bosch/Genetec Video Cybersecurity Partnership Examined (CHAVE) on Feb 15, 2017
Surveillance products have been relatively weak when it comes to cyber security. Default passwords, open ports, and weak authentication mechanisms...
Security Alarm Industry Trends - Barnes on Feb 14, 2017
This is a review of key security alarm industry trends, taken from Michael Barnes' presentation at the 2017 Barnes Buchanan conference. Key trends...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact