How Multi-Sensor Cameras Cut the “Tree” for a Better View

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Have you ever seen multiple security cameras grouped in one spot in a stadium or parking garage? More than one camera may be required to provide full coverage of large areas. But a “camera tree” that mounts a camera off of each branch, or one massive enclosure that houses four full-size brick cameras, is awkward — and ugly.

One way to gain coverage without the tree effect is with a multi-sensor camera. This is essentially two, three or four cameras in one unit. 

The value proposition of a multi-sensor camera is that you gain the benefits of multiple cameras in one small housing. This looks better and decreases all related installation and management costs.

Fewer Cameras; Lower Costs

Using fewer cameras decreases costs across the board. Consider the cost of the whole system, not just the camera. Covering a wide area at high resolution with fewer cameras reduces costs for cabling, accessories, labor and licenses.

A multi-sensor camera requires only a single network drop. Most major video management system publishers recognize a multi-sensor camera as one camera on the network. That means the system only needs one video recording license, even though the camera is delivering multiple video streams.

Two qualities matter most with surveillance cameras: image quality and frame rate. Image quality is subjective and is best proved with a product shootout. Frame rate is how many frames a camera records per second of video, measured in frames per second (fps). If image quality is similar between two IP megapixel (MP) cameras, frame rate is often the deciding factor. Higher fps requires greater recording storage, however. The secret sauce for some cameras is how manufacturers improve the frame rate and manage the storage bandwidth.

Frame the Search

Until recently, the frame rate was fairly low for multi-sensor cameras, which transmit multiple video streams at the same time. Some newer multi-sensor cameras now offer up to 30 fps with image resolution as high as 48 MP. However, better quality isn’t always necessary. Typical security applications can often make do with average image detail.

Multi-sensor cameras may not be the perfect solution for every surveillance need. Designing these cameras with better resolutions offers a more convenient (and attractive) alternative to the camera tree.


The opinions expressed in this piece are solely Digital Watchdog's. They do not necessarily represent WESCO’s views.


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