The New Advidia A54 OD Security Camera

The Hardware

The ADVIDIA A-54-OD is nice and sleek with a darkened dome to protect/hide the camera. Once you remove the dome cover, you’ll find an easy-to-access set of controls and ports. In addition to the PoE network port, you’ll find a slot for a micro-sd card, ports for incoming and outgoing alarm signals, ports for audio in and out and even a port for outputting the video feed directly from the camera. The direct video output is a very handy solution for situations where you need to troubleshoot a camera at the actual unit (aka- one person job). Another minor but appreciated addition to the box was a protective sleeve that screws into the camera body to protect the network cable and port. Out of the box, you get the camera, protective cable sleeve, small CD with camera finder and user guide, disc with Video Insight VMS application, short network cable, external monitor adapter cable, mounting kit and an allen wrench for opening/closing the dome cover. Pretty much everything you need minus the PoE injector and screwdriver are provided.

The Advidia A-54-OD camera  advertises the following hardware feature set:

  • 3MP lens (2048 x 1536)
  • Motorized VF lens
  • IP66 rated
  • True WDR 120db
  • Built-in Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot (up to 64GB)
  • Scalable Video Coding
  • IR cut filter with auto switch
  • 3-axis (p/t/r) positioning
  • Advanced detection (ie- face, license plate)

The set up

I tested from both indoor and outdoor locations and mounting the unit is a fairly straight forward process. I used the provided (4) screws to attach the unit to a wall and, in the case of the outdoor location, routed the network cable to the test location. After attaching the camera to the wall, the next task was to angle the lens to get the best view of the test area. In order to adjust the angle so it pointed where I needed it, I had to use a phillips head screwdriver to loosen a screw on each side of the lens housing. While using a tightened screw to hold proper angle doesn’t seem like a great idea, the primary issue was the fact that the screws were locked down tight and I ended up having to use both hands and finesse in order to avoid cracking the thin plastic that the screws were secured through. Other than this one small concern, the rest of the hardware setup experience was brief and intuitive.

            The second half of setup was getting the camera an IP address and then configuring preferences. Before I describe the hurdles I ran into, I should point out that I was testing a pre-production model of the A-54-OD camera so some loose ends are to be expected. Now, I hit a couple obstacles with this part of the setup as the disc that came with the camera that should have contained the “camera finder” software was blank. The work around was simply to check my routers’ assigned addresses list to identify the newly assigned number. After I had the assigned IP, I was able to direct connect to the unit via a web browser and configure my preferences there. I installed the provided Video Insight software and used the camera’s IP address to setup a connection so the VMS software could monitor and control the camera.

 

The User Experience

The camera offers it’s own UI via a web browser but is really intended for use with VMS software. I used the included “Video Insight” application for the VMS portion of the testing and checked the direct, browser interface in Chrome, Firefox and IE 11. During my testing, I used the browser interface to set and edit the detection “Events” but the rest of the testing was performed via the VMS application.

Advidia_A-54-OD_DomeAdvidia_A-54-OD_Dome_VMS

Very quickly after starting testing I found that I was not able to successfully capture events that should have been creating recordings and notifications. Checking online, I found some information but failed to find the specifics I really needed. As I stated previously, I was testing a camera that was not production-ready yet so, working with adjusted expectations, I called the support line. I’m happy to report that the individual that assisted me was very helpful and patient. The end result was a conversation that provided me with several useful data points for my testing as well as options for getting around the immediate blockers. Bonus points for an excellent customer support experience.

Once I had detection working in general, I was able to start reviewing the long list of eventing options available with this unit. While I was not able to exhaustively test the options, the testing that was performed was successful. Here are the detection options included with the product that can be used individually or in combination:

  • Motion detection – this is the tried-and-true option including view segregation so you can create sections of the view that you want monitored leaving others ignored.
  • Video Tampering – this is essentially notification when the lens is covered.
  • Face Detection – Yep, alerts based on detected faces.
  • Audio Exception – Notifications sent based on detected audio conditions such as steep increase or decrease in volume.
  • Line Crossing – You can add ‘lines’ to the camera view and then specify if you should be notified when something crosses the line in one direction, the other or both.
  • Intrusion Detection – You can add shapes to the view to define regions to get notified when something moves from outside to inside the enclosed region/shape.
  • Defocus Detection – You can set notification preferences for when the focus of the camera changes.
  • Scene Change Detection – This allows you to generate notifications when what the camera is pointed at changes.
  • People Counting – This is what it sounds like. The camera is capable of detecting ‘people’ and keeping a count of how many have have met specified conditions.

Once you have your detection preferences set, you can use the VMS software to review recorded activity. The Video Insight product provides three options for checking activity: the “Recent History” button in the live view pane (which offers only the most recent few hours), you can open a “Synchronized Player” from the Tools menu that will allow you to load up all detected events that are stored on the machine or you can use the tree view (left pane) to select from the recording dates. The interface provides time line markers to help you more easily identify when and how many times events were detected

Advidia_A-54-OD_timeline

The number of detection options produces a very large number of permutations for the combinations of events that one might want to monitor. While you could set a camera like this up to just monitor for motion, you’d be missing out on the combination of options that would make the camera much “smarter”. I’m referring to situations like enabling Motion detection with Scene detection and Video Tampering. The more of these options you strategically enable together, the more robust your detection setup can be.

I would call the picture quality excellent in both day and night shots. While I tested both indoors and out, the most representative shots came from the outside. Regardless of the lighting or weather conditions, the picture quality was still great.

Advidia_A-54-OD_outdoor

Advidia_A-54-OD_night

Pros/Cons

Cons:

  • Lens angle adjustment required screwdriver and felt dangerous to the camera.
  • Provided CD was blank.
  • Not a lot of helpful information online.

Pros:

  • The picture is excellent.
  • The external appearance of the unit is nice and sleek.
  • The number of detection options is excellent.
  • Customer support experience was very good.

 

Conclusion

From an aesthetic standpoint, the ADVIDIA A-54-OD ip camera does a great job of blending in and when you do notice it, it’s pleasant. From a functional standpoint, it offers a great selection of tools for monitoring an area and managing the content that is collected. If you are looking to outfit your business or (very large) home with discreet, professional-quality IP cameras, you should definitely consider the A-54-OD from Advidia. –  Learn more

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