17,000 Cameras in Korea Wasted?

By: John Honovich, Published on May 08, 2013

A Korean newspaper bemoans the waste of money spent on 17,000 surveillance cameras. The cause? "97 percent [of cameras] are unable to distinguish the faces of people or license plates of cars entering the grounds." While this may sound bad, the rationale used and specifics claimed misunderstands key surveillance technologies.

Let's first review the claims / asssumptions the newspaper makes:

  • "[CCTV in schools] project started in 2009, and now there are some 100,000 of them in 11,000 schools, or an average of nine for each school."
  • "It takes a camera with a resolution of more than 500,000 pixels" to distinguish faces or license plates
  • "A security camera with a 400,000-pixel resolution costs W200,000 [~$200 USD], and one with 500,000 costs around W300,000 [~$300 USD], and the price tag rises to W2-3 million [$2,000 -$3,000 USD] for over 1 million pixels. But that is a price worth paying in schools where there is a lot of coming and going." [Note: 1 US = ~1000 Won]
  • "30 percent of the 1,707 schools the BAI checked have CCTV cameras that face the wrong way or are blocked by trees or other obstacles"
  • "Two out of every 10 schools put the monitors in the night watchman's room so they could not be viewed during the day."
  • "Analysis of the various measures that have been taken to make schools safer, including security officers, police patrols and telephone hotlines, has found that CCTV cameras are the most effective."

Analysis

There are some obvious and fair criticisms made - especially with cameras being poorly positioned and recorders not properly set up for 24/7 viewing. Basic design steps can and should easily correct that.

The megapixel claims are far trickier. While more pixels help, there is no magic number that ensures faces or license plates will be distinguishable. It depends on the FoV and the lighting. Even with 1 million pixels, the newspaper's recommended number, even in a best case scenario, 25 feet wide would be the most one could expect (assuming an aggressive 50ppf). This still would not be enough for parking lots and larger indoor areas.

Additionally, the pricing differentials are hard to justify - with the assumption that a 1MP cameras is 10x or more that of an SD (i.e., 400,000 pixel) one. Today, the prices are far closer with 2x being a better rule of thumb (see Korea's biggest manufacturer's recent MP offerings). As such, justification for new MP cameras should be far easier than they imply.

However, the expectation that all, or even most, cameras can capture facial details and license plate numbers is troublesome. Even with higher resolution cameras that expand the range and percentage of objects identified, we are still years away from being able to capture such details in nearly every spot of larger facilities like schools.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Failure

"New" Arecont Fixes Failures "Without A Fight" on Jun 05, 2019
The "old" Arecont was infamous not only for its camera failures but for making their "partners" fight to get them fixed. IPVM drew the ire of...
IBM Shuts Down Intelligent Video Analytics on May 02, 2019
Abruptly, IBM has discontinued its Intelligent Video Analytics solution, it confirmed to IPVM. IBM's video analytics have faced recent media...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
Dahua Intercom Tested on Feb 07, 2019
Video intercoms are a growing market with video surveillance manufacturers expanding into this niche. IPVM is continuing its series of video...
Intersec 2019 Show Report on Jan 23, 2019
The 2019 Intersec show, held annually in Dubai, is now complete. IPVM attended for 3 days, interviewing numerous Chinese and Western video...
Foolish Strategy: OEMing Facial Recognition on Dec 13, 2018
Almost as 'hot' as face recognition marketing right now is OEMing facial recognition. Last year, they were a who's who of company's with...
Video Surveillance Hard Drive Size Statistics 2018 on Nov 08, 2018
What is the most common hard drive size for video surveillance? 150+ integrators answered: What size hard drive do you most commonly use? What...
Favorite Video Surveillance Hard Drive Manufacturer 2018 on Nov 06, 2018
Who is the favorite hard drive for video surveillance use? 150+ integrators answered: What is your preferred brand/model of hard drive for...
Video Surveillance Hard Drive Failure Statistics 2018 on Nov 02, 2018
Hard drive failures can be significant service problems but how common of an issue are they in video surveillance? How long do drives last when...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Genetec Synergis Cloud Link - Complex, Costly and Confusing on Jun 18, 2019
Genetec's Synergis Cloud Link is complex, costly and confusing compared to competitor access control architectures. Inside this note, we examine...
Startup Vaion Launching End-to-End AI Solution Backed with $20 Million Funding on Jun 17, 2019
An EU / USA video surveillance startup, Vaion, founded by ex-Cisco Senior Directors is launching an end-to-end VSaaS platform with $20 million in...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 17, 2019
While face and fingerprint recognition are used regularly for smartphones, it is not as common in physical security. In this note, we examine...
The Scheme Hikvision and China Importers Use To Avoid Tariffs on Jun 17, 2019
Hikvision and numerous China importers are avoiding 25% tariffs by including an SD card slot in their IP cameras to claim they are 'digital still...
Sighthound Transforms Into Enterprise AI Provider Profile on Jun 14, 2019
Sighthound is now rapidly expanding its R&D team, building an enterprise AI service. This may come as a surprise given their origins 6 years...
ADT Eliminating Acquired Brands, Unifying Under 'Commercial' Brand on Jun 14, 2019
ADT is eliminating the brands of the many integrators it has acquired over the past few years, including Red Hawk, Aronson Security Group (ASG),...
NSA Director Keynoting Dahua and Hikvision Sponsored Cybersecurity Conference [Canceled] on Jun 13, 2019
The technical director for the NSA’s Cybersecurity Threat Operations Center will be keynoting a physical security cybersecurity conference that is...
Farpointe Data Conekt Mobile Access Reader Tested on Jun 13, 2019
California based Farpointe Data has been a significant OEM supplier of conventional access readers for years to companies including DMP, RS2, DSX,...
Embattled $400 Million China Funded Philippines Surveillance System Proceeds on Jun 13, 2019
An embattled 12,000 camera surveillance system project that will cost ~$400 million will proceed.  The project contract was awarded, had its...

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