Taking Surveillance 360-Degrees: Benefits of the ‘Fish-eye’ Lens

As IP surveillance technology has taken hold across numerous industries, the many different camera options and capabilities available to end users have grown exponentially. The surveillance industry is especially seeing a growing demand for 360-degree/hemispheric fisheye cameras, which are ideal for covering large areas.

For companies in a wide range of verticals, 360-degree cameras offer a host of benefits. The technology is especially helpful in any industry that requires effective coverage of spacious rooms, intersecting hallways or wide outdoor areas. Since one 360-degree camera can significantly reduce the number of cameras, infrastructure and security personnel needed to monitor a large area, which helps them to save money now and in the future. In fact, in some installations, one 360-degree camera can view an area that previously required four to eight cameras.


Let’s take a look at some of the industries where 360-degree cameras are especially helpful:

Retail: Many of today’s larger retailers can benefit greatly from 360-degree surveillance since their stores and parking areas are so spacious. Imagine the last Walmart or Home Depot you shopped. These retailers need to secure thousands of square feet of both indoor and outdoor space in order to protect against theft, employee fraud and liability claims. Using 360-degree cameras enables them to do so with a minimum number of cameras, helping to save money in an industry with slim profit margins.

Healthcare: Modern hospitals and surgery centers often feature large, sprawling campuses, huge parking areas and buildings with wide open spaces. And with hundreds of patients and visitors moving through every day, highly detailed surveillance technology is a must.

Transportation: Public transportation facilities and assets such as airports, rail stations and trains require the most effective surveillance available. Many of these locations have spacious, open areas that nevertheless need to be secured, including terminals, tarmacs and waiting areas. 360-degree cameras can help to minimize the number of devices required, while providing a complete view of a given area. These cameras are also highly effective in long hallways or on trains and buses, since a single camera is able to capture all 360 degrees.

Critical infrastructure: Similarly, critical infrastructure facilities require the best possible surveillance technology. Many of these sites also include large, open expanses that greatly benefit from a 360-degree view.

Entertainment: Large music venues and sports stadiums are also an ideal fit for 360-degree surveillance. These enormous facilities often require hundreds of surveillance cameras to provide full coverage. By incorporating 360-degree surveillance, however, the number of cameras could be reduced by more than 50 percent in many cases.

In order to take advantage of the full value of 360-degree surveillance devices, end users must also incorporate a video management system with built-in de-warping functionality. De-warping takes original images from 360-degree cameras and ‘de-warps’ them to allow users to view portions of the full video image without distortion. To the operator these “virtual camera views” appear as standard cameras in their user interface, providing intuitive camera selection. New VMS systems also store the original 360-degree images to ensure video data can be presented and verified in a court of law, increasing the opportunity to mitigate crime and prosecute offenders in every industry, while minimizing the amount of actual video being stored. Make certain your VMS of choice can de-warp on recorded video to provide the same viewing flexibility while ensuring nothing is ever missed.