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Casino Surveillance
Making the move to IP video
Oliver Vellacott, IndigoVision CEO, argues that recent developments
in IP Video technology will accelerate the move from analogue to
digital CCTV surveillance in Casinos
casino is typically a high-activity area
with staff and guests interacting with In contrast an IP Video system is distributed, with
large sums of money, creating a the Security Management Software (SMS) and the IP
demanding surveillance and security network creating a ‘Virtual Matrix’. SMS workstations,
environment. Local Gaming Board Network Video Recorders (NVRs) and cameras can be
requirements for surveillance are extremely strict and located at any point on the network. No single point
the commercial implications for unreliable and poor of failure exists. Digital video from each camera is
performing CCTV can be significant. All of this means streamed around the network and any operator with
that a casino must deploy high quality, reliable and the right permissions can view the video no matter
fully-featured surveillance. where they are located. Scalability is therefore
excellent – all that is required to add another camera
Many casinos are benefiting from digital is a local network point! Standalone fault-tolerant
surveillance solutions. IndigoVision alone has NVRs can be located around the network to increase
deployed IP Video systems in 27 casinos around the redundancy and reliability.
world. Nonetheless, the majority of gaming
establishments are still relying on traditional IP Video systems operate over standard corporate
analogue VCR/DVR CCTV systems. Recent networks and often share resources with other IT
developments in IP Video technology, in particular systems. As these networks typically span entire
High-Definition (HD) IP cameras and integrated organisations, so can any IP Video systems connected
security across IP networks, will make the move to to them. As traditional control room equipment can
digital surveillance even more compelling for casinos. be replaced by PCs it is possible and very cost-
effective to set-up remote or shared control rooms in
addition to the main casino monitoring facility.
The emergence of High-Definition (HD) IP cameras
will start to accelerate the migration to IP video in
casinos, simply because the benefits of HD video are
hugely significant and analogue systems cannot
support it - the maximum resolution attainable with a
composite video signal is only 4SIF.
Analogue vs IP Video CCTV
High-Definition (HD) Video
It is important to understand the fundamental
differences between these two technologies, and the Megapixel IP cameras deliver substantially higher
advantages that IP Video can bring to casino resolution images than conventional cameras. A high
surveillance. Traditional coax or fibre-based analogue quality 4CIF IP camera provides a resolution of 704 x
video systems are becoming increasingly difficult to 576 or around 400,000 pixels. Standard megapixel IP
maintain and expensive to expand. They are based cameras range from 1 to 5 megapixels (millions of
around a central switching matrix which is costly to pixels), with some specialist cameras exceeding 12
upgrade as new cameras are added. It is location megapixels. The problem with these very high
dependent, meaning each new camera has to be resolution products is the huge amount of data that
cabled back to a central point. However, the biggest needs to be streamed and recorded. This effectively
weakness of the switching matrix is that it represents limits their use for specialist applications only. The
a single point of failure – the matrix fails and the CCTV industry is starting to adopt the HD video
whole CCTV system goes down! standards developed for the TV industry, typically
26 OCTOBER 2009
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