Though available for many years, Auto-Tracking PTZs are generating renewed interest with Axis' recent release of their 233D camera. The claim is that "auto-tracking enables a single PTZ dome camera to cover a large area and to automatically detect, follow and record video of moving persons or vehicles."
Auto-Tracking has never become an widely adopted feature despite its introduction and marketing by various manufacturers. The question then becomes: should you use it and where should you use it?
Below view a video of Axis demonstrating auto-tracking PTZ functionality or download the clip. After, we will consider its value.
The demo provides a very honest portrayal of the key issues involved in setting up and using auto-tracking PTZs. Essentially, the tracking is designed to track the object with the most movement or greatest size. There are some major drawbacks including:
- The feature can track irrelevant objects like flags or other uninteresting moving objects.
- The feature can switch tracking from a relevant to an irrelevant object simply because the second object was bigger.
- These problems increase as the size of the area and the amount of activity increases. For instance, this would likely work extremely poorly in a football stadium parking lot during game day as hundreds of cars and people move around.
As such, it seems this feature is likely most useful in small areas with light traffic. This is where I have used this feature with other camera manufacturer's in the past. Often, we wind up turning it off because the camera made mistakes and the security manager found setting a wide field of view preset or a continuous pan to be the least confusing setup for the PTZ.
Today, I would prefer to use a 2MP - 5MP camera for the type of scenario pictured in this demo. Rather than risk the problems of incorrectly tracking, the megapixel camera guarantees evidence across the entire area. Operators can then use digital zooms either in real time or for investigations to get exactly the image they need.
Even on a cost basis, a megapixel camera plus the addiitonal storage is no more expensive than a PTZ. For instance, the 233D costs about $3,000 USD while a megapixel camera costs around $1,000 with an extra $2,000 or so for more storage.
I see this as part of the general trend why megapixel is gaining rapid acceptance and positive satisfaction while video analytics are still dealing with accuracy and optimization issues. While megapixel does not offer as much as video analytics, what it does it does well. The reduced risk and increased simplicity spurs uptake. I see this as the better choice to auto-tracking PTZs. Thoughts?
Related Reports on PTZs
LAST DAY - Camera Course Winter 2017
on Feb 02, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified.
IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
PTZ Camera Guide 2016
on Sep 15, 2016
Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras remain critical parts of many surveillance systems, especially in large security operations. Because of this it is important...
Axis Laser Focus PTZ Camera Examined
on Sep 08, 2016
How do you make a PTZ focus better and faster? If you are Axis, you add a laser to it.
In this report, we examine Axis' new Q6155-E, looking at...
Hikvision ~$300 Mini PTZ Tested
on Jul 08, 2016
A PTZ camera at fixed dome prices?
That is the promise of Hikvision's new DS-2DE2103, a compact PTZ with 3x optical zoom in a package smaller than...
$260 IR Outdoor 'Speeddome' Tested
on Apr 20, 2016
Just $260 for an outdoor 'speeddome' form factor with integrated IR, wireless, HD video and more?
Pricing has certainly come down (e.g., we...
Hikvision IR PTZ Tested
on Mar 07, 2016
Hikvision continues to break low cost barriers, now with a 1080p IP IR PTZ for under $800 online, the DS-2DE5220I-AE, half the price of past...
Bosch IR PTZ Tested
on Feb 26, 2016
PTZs have historically struggled in low light, with integrated IR being uncommon. In the past few years, this has changed, as some integrated IR...
Airport Video Surveillance Guide
on Jun 30, 2015
This 20-page guide explains the key uses, design factors, and players in the Airport Surveillance market.
A global group of 40 integrators and...
Most Recent Industry Reports
Hikvision Removing Auto 'Phone Home'
on Mar 24, 2017
Facing pressure over their cameras auto phoning home and their Chinese government ownership, Hikvision has begun quietly removing automatic...
OpenEye Takes Aim At Exacq
on Mar 23, 2017
First Milestone targeted Exacq with a takeover offer, and now OpenEye is gunning for them with an offer to swap out Exacq for their cloud-managed...
Lock Keyways For Access Control Guide
on Mar 23, 2017
Lock keyways can be the difference between a lock working or not. Understanding keyways is important for access control. Indeed, a member recently...
ADI Favorability Results
on Mar 22, 2017
150 North American integrators provided feedback on 6 distributors, and why they do (or do not do) business with ADI.
ADI is clearly a big name in...
Glass Break Sensor Tutorial
on Mar 21, 2017
Burglars often break glass windows to get into a house. Using glass break detectors in conjunction with alarm contacts is a good way to protect the...