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

IP Camera - 15 Year Shootout on May 22, 2017
How far have IP cameras come? We bought and tested 4 cameras across the past 15 years to understand how much and where performance has...
48MP 180 Camera (Digital Watchdog) Test on May 10, 2017
Camera resolution continues to advance, with Digital Watchdog offering the MegaPIX PANO 48MP 180° camera, the highest resolution mainstream camera...
Hanwha 9MP Fisheye Camera Tested (PNF-9010R) on May 09, 2017
12MP sensor fisheye panoramic cameras are becoming increasingly common. We have tested Hikvision's DS-2CD63C2F as well as Panasonic's SFV481 4K...
Panoramic Camera Usage Rising 2017 on May 08, 2017
Panoramic camera usage (including fisheye and multi-imagers) continue to rise rapidly. However, the race to the bottom is hindering even stronger...
Avigilon Discontinuing Rialto Analytics Line on Apr 27, 2017
Avigilon is informing dealers/partners that the legacy VideoIQ Rialto products have been discontinued, recommending the newer ACC ES Analytics...
Eagle Eye Exec On Mountain Of Servers - VSaaS Growth Analysis on Apr 25, 2017
Eagle Eye VP of Operations, Hans Kahler, posted a picture of himself sitting on top of a shipment of new servers, as a testament to the companies...
Chinese 'Attacking Us From Every Direction', Says US FBI on Apr 25, 2017
"Chinese eating our lunch. Attacking us from every direction" said the US FBI's Deputy Director Andrew McCabe at the ASIS 2017 CSO Summit. .@FBI...
PureTech Video Analytics Examined on Apr 21, 2017
PureTech's analytics were chosen for a US border protection system (see related post), which the company claims no other analytics vendor was able...
Axis Network Horn Tested on Apr 18, 2017
We bought and tested the Axis network horn C3003-E, examining setup and calibration, event audio, VMS integration, and sound pressure levels...
Aqueti 100MP Mantis Camera Profile on Apr 14, 2017
One of the original gigapixel camera startups, Aqueti, which we first covered in 2012, is back. This time, they have partnered with NVIDIA,...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis Criticizes OEMs: "When You Buy An Axis Camera, An Axis Camera Is What You Get!" on May 19, 2017
When you buy a Honeywell camera, you likely get a Hikvision, Dahua or some other company's product. The same goes for easily 100 different...
Hackable 125kHz Access Control Migration Guide on May 19, 2017
Despite being one of the most popular credentials, 125 kHz credentials are easily copied and insecure as we showed in our test results, video...
Forget The Backdoor, "ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS" On Sale on May 18, 2017
Less than 2 weeks after the Hikvision Backdoor was confirmed, Hikvision has launched a sale "ON ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS". In this note, we examine...
Amazon Techs Installing IP Cameras Tested on May 18, 2017
In 2015, Amazon started offering video surveillance installation. Now, Amazon has made it a lot easier, with automatic add-on options and...
Hanwha Recorder Vulnerability Analyzed on May 18, 2017
ICS-CERT has released a vulnerability notice for Hanwha SRN-4000 recorders.  Hanwha provided additional information to IPVM about this issue,...
ShotSpotter To IPO, Facing Low Revenue and Losses on May 17, 2017
A rare event for North American security manufacturers is upcoming. ShotSpotter is planning to IPO on the NASDAQ, aiming to raise $34.5...
DMP Video Doorbell / Access Reader Examined on May 17, 2017
Consumers increasingly demand video doorbells, with "doorbells selling like hotcakes, everyone wants a doorbell", according to ADT's CEO. At ISC...
FLIR Is Giving Away $3,000 Demo Kits on May 17, 2017
Everybody likes free stuff, and FLIR is using that concept to attract dealers by giving them $3,000 worth of demo gear for attending a...
Shark Tank Startup Guard Llama Mobile Panic Tested on May 16, 2017
A Shark Tank TV show appearance has attracted big attention for Guard Llama, a security startup touting a 'panic button' paired with mobile app...
Axis Beats Avigilon Growth Rate (AVO Q1 2017) on May 16, 2017
In what is likely the first time ever, Axis beat Avigilon's revenue growth for Q1 2017. Inside this note, we examine Avigilon's Q1 2017 financial...

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