Q&A: Dave Muscat, Christie

Tim Kridel talks with Christie's senior director of Visualization, Simulation and Control Room Solutions for the Americas Region. Together they try to determine how to improve the quality of surveillance in today's modern, tech-savvy world.

TK: I often see TV and newspaper stories about crimes such as bank holdups that include surveillance footage so grainy that it’s nearly useless. Obviously there are things that can be done on the camera side to improve image quality, such as using higher resolution cameras, positioning the cameras in better locations and illuminating the spaces. So let’s say that an organization does all those things. Then what should it consider on the C&C side? For example, what kinds of product features and specs should it look for when choosing projectors, displays and other C&C infrastructure to ensure that the C&C now isn’t the weak link?

DM: Resolution is an important consideration in the installation of video walls. With decisions often made based on visual elements, a low-cost display can severely limit the user’s ability to catch the smaller visual details. Resolution should therefore be as good or better than that of the information displayed to ensure there is no lost of data. Room size and design can also play a factor in choosing a display system. Projectors with edge blending features allow you to create larger video walls without a loss of brightness or resolution by using multiple projectors. High ambient rooms could benefit from products such as Christie MicroTiles, lightweight and shallow rear projection modules that can be scaled to any size, shape and orientation, forming a digital canvas that is virtually seamless. In addition, the Christie Entero HB 70” HD front access video wall cube is an excellent option for installations that need true HD LED display cubes in a 70” 16:9 form factor.

Another consideration is the content management platform, which needs to be scalable to allow for future expansion, as well as versatile, to enable seamless access and control of the widest range of audio-visual data, regardless of the user’s location. Solutions like the Christie Phoenix™ can be used by multiple parallel participants, single offices or in the field through mobile technology.

TK: What are some tips and best practices for maximizing surveillance quality on the C&C side? What are some common pitfalls and mistakes that you’ve seen, and how can they be avoided? Besides technological aspects, feel free to discuss the human element, such as ergonomics to minimize C&C staff fatigue, or strategies for minimizing a sense of overload as the number of feeds increases.

DM: A common pitfall is the installation of low-quality and/or low-reliability products to save money upfront, rather than considering what’s necessary to ensure your C&C facility operates at optimum efficiency for the long term. Installing high quality products from trusted brands can go a long way in minimizing the chances of system failure at a critical moment. It is equally important to future-proof your investment by installing equipment that can be scaled cost-effectively as you expand your surveillance capabilities, allowing for technology upgrades that may become available. As well, take into consideration the image quality of the video wall. A poor quality image will lead to eye fatigue more quickly, as will an image that isn’t bright enough to overcome the ambient light in the room. Sharp, bright, high resolution images will reduce eye stress, as well as provide enhanced image quality.

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