As the popularity of voice-controlled smartphone apps and speakers has propelled smart home technology into the mainstream, demand for smart security devices has accelerated. The global smart home security market is expanding at a dynamic compound annual growth rate of 20.6 percent, putting it on track to reach a value of over $7.95 billion by 2027, Transparency Market Research projects.
Technology innovations are helping drive this vibrant growth, feeding consumer demand for automated security monitoring devices such as smart motion detectors and alarms. As demand for these devices grows, manufacturers are constantly upgrading the sophistication, efficiency and practicality of surveillance systems. Here’s a look at four technology trends that are transforming the face of home security.
High Resolution Surveillance
One of the most important recent advances in home protection is the emergence of Full HD and 4K Ultra HD security camera systems. Paralleling advances in TV and computer screen resolution, high-resolution cameras enhance image quality by increasing the number and density of pixels. Like Full HD television screens, 1080p security cameras use 1,920 horizontal pixels and 1,080 vertical pixels, delivering a more detailed, sharper image than traditional resolution, which only uses 858 x 480 pixels. 4K Ultra HD takes this a step further by increasing the number of pixels to 3,860 x 2,160, equivalent to four times the pixels of HD.
This increase in picture quality enables high-resolution security cameras to pick up critical details that might have gone undetected with traditional surveillance. For instance, a license plate number on a suspicious car that might have been too blurry to read with traditional resolution may be picked up by an HD or Ultra HD surveillance camera.
Long-Range Night Color Vision
Innovations in night vision cameras are also helping improve the quality of security surveillance footage. One of the most dramatic improvements is the introduction of color night vision. Traditional night vision technology combines ambient light with near-infrared light that is converted into electrons, amplified and converted back into photons, which produces black-and-white images. The latest night vision technology surrounds the camera lens with LED lights to illuminate the subject and collect more visible light, producing a color image even in low-light conditions. This allows night vision cameras to capture surveillance details such as suspect eye and hair color that would escape conventional cameras.
The use of LED lights also increases the range of night vision cameras. Today’s top long-range night vision cameras can see up to 250 feet away in low light.
Ultra Wide-Angle Viewing
Another recent advancement in surveillance camera technology is the development of ultra wide-angle viewing lenses. Traditional camera lenses are forward-oriented, providing limited peripheral input. Ultra wide-angle lenses may increase the horizontal viewing area to 120 degrees, 180 degrees or more. Some wide-angle lenses also include expanded diagonal coverage.
When applied to surveillance, this makes ultra wide-angle lenses perfect for monitoring areas such as large rooms, streets in front of properties or backyards. This can cut costs by allowing one wide-angle camera to take the place of several cameras with narrower lenses.
Two-Way Talk and Listen
Audio innovations are also helping advance smart home security. Improvements in wired microphones and wireless communications have made it easier to integrate audio capability into security camera systems. This allows surveillance cameras to record audio as well as video, enabling them to capture additional details and even provide information about off-camera activity within audio range.
Going a step beyond this, two-way audio systems allow security system monitors to not only hear sounds picked by microphones, but also talk to individuals standing near the camera via an attached speaker system. This allows surveillance systems to be used as “video doorbells” that allow home and business owners to confirm the identity of visitors and carry on conversations with them remotely. This can be coupled with smart door locks to allow automatic door opening for authorized personnel. Audio surveillance systems can be muted when audio monitoring is not desired. For instance, a home or business owner may not wish to record audio surveillance due to state privacy laws in some areas. Audio surveillance systems are typically mute by default and must be activated to start recording.
Innovations in camera systems such as HD and 4K, color and long-range night vision, and ultra wide-angle viewing are enhancing the quality and functionality of visual surveillance. Two-way talk and listen systems are supplementing this enhanced visual security with audio capability. Developments such as these are making it easier for home owners to monitor suspicious activity, screen visitors and stay safe.