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

Free VMS Software Directory on Jan 13, 2017
Many Video Management Software (VMS) providers offer free versions, either open source, for a limited number of cameras or for a limited amount of...
Milestone Essential Subscription Removed on Jan 12, 2017
Subscriptions may be the future for Milestone and VMSes but not right now. Responding to negative feedback, Milestone has removed subscriptions...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...
HD Analog Usage Rising But Barriers Growing on Jan 09, 2017
The good news for HD analog is that its usage is rising, fairly significantly since our 2015 HD analog usage statistics. The bad news for HD...
How Axis Can Beat Hikvision on Jan 09, 2017
Hikvision has rocked the industry globally, bullying former video surveillance revenue leader Axis even in the Western world. What can Axis...
Cisco Favorability Ratings - Positive In Networking, Negative In Surveillance on Jan 06, 2017
Cisco is the big name in networking, but they have not been able to leverage their brand and sizable sales channel in the security industry to the...
DeskCamera ONVIF Screen Capture on Jan 05, 2017
Recording PC screens have historically been an expensive proposition, requiring dedicated hardware or specialized, proprietary software. However,...
Surveillance Cameras 2017 Review on Jan 02, 2017
This report concisely explains the developments and most common options for surveillance cameras offered in 2017, including resolution, H.265, HD...
Lux Rating / Minimum Illumination Guide 2017 on Dec 23, 2016
Lux ratings are one of the poorest specifications to use in selecting cameras. Now, with the rise of integrated IR, they are increasingly...
The PPF / PPM Video Surveillance Guide on Dec 23, 2016
Pixels per foot / Pixels per meter is the most fundamental and valuable, though imperfect, metric for specifying video surveillance image...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Top ISC West 2017 Booth Trends on Jan 16, 2017
There are significant moves among many major manufacturers on the ISC West show floor, and very few prime spaces left unoccupied. In this report we...
Genetec Favorability Results on Jan 16, 2017
In the race to the bottom and flight to 'solutions', Genetec has taken a contrary path. The company remains independent, focusing up market,...
Free VMS Software Directory on Jan 13, 2017
Many Video Management Software (VMS) providers offer free versions, either open source, for a limited number of cameras or for a limited amount of...
Milestone Essential Subscription Removed on Jan 12, 2017
Subscriptions may be the future for Milestone and VMSes but not right now. Responding to negative feedback, Milestone has removed subscriptions...
Alarm Reporting Formats Overview on Jan 12, 2017
Alarm reporting formats are methods for communicating complicated information quickly, using plain old telephone service. It is still the main...
Amazon Sales of Hikvision China Cameras on Jan 12, 2017
Hikvision has become widely available in the US, including on popular retail outlets like Amazon, with over 2,600 results: 4MP Hikvision outdoor...
Last Day IP Networking Course January 2017 on Jan 12, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...
Honeywell Ademco Vista Intrusion System Tested on Jan 11, 2017
One of the biggest brands in security holds one of the most common intrusion lines. We bought and tested a Honeywell Vista 15P intrusion...
ADI Battles Manufacturer Partners on Jan 11, 2017
ADI is battling their manufacturer partners, building up their own competitive house brand W-Box, while manufacturers still fund ADI's business...

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