Welcome back to the third and final segment in our series on 4K Technology. For those of you who missed the first two parts, you should consider going back for a look at what 4K surveillance is and is not, at who best can benefit from it and what costs a business might incur if they decide that a 4K system is an option worth exploring. In this last segment, we will take a look at the market side of 4K and look at where it might be headed in the future.

The 4K market now

When it comes to the 4K market, growth has been rapid. Companies have been showing large returns with IP cameras in general (http://www.securitysales.com/article/report_video_surveillance_market_to_reach_42b_by_2019) and 4K appears poised to build upon that momentum. While the traditional approach makes money on the sales of the cameras, the emerging trend with 4K is recurring/rental charges beyond the cameras. The money for the 4K industry comes from the network hardware, supplies and services that are needed to support the new technology. Industry experts vary wildly on the amount that this new market segment is worth, with estimates from 100 million to several billion.


Who will want to wait for a price drop?

When it comes to waiting, the truth is that many businesses can wait and probably should. As more early adopters come to the market, the prices will go down. Those on the cutting edge, in military or private defense, for example, are already looking towards the next upgrade. 7K systems are actually available right now but are also extremely expensive. As newer technologies move through the pipeline, the older solutions will typically drop in price.


Should you be getting ready for the next upgrade now?

Unless you work with highly specialized requirements and/or with very large budgets, you will not be ready to even think about 7K and may even want to wait for 4K to mature and drop in cost. Even with a large budget, finding display devices that can present in 7K may leave you limited to proprietary (aka- very expensive) solutions for a while. For the time being, a 4K system is the highest definition that you can get for a home TV and there is comparatively little content in that format (as an indicator of current level of adoption). The overwhelming majority of security needs tied to increased resolution/image fidelity will be met by the 4K standard. 7K tech may be more viable for ‘average’ consumers in the next 5-7 years but its viability will be heavily affected by the path that 4K adoption takes.


Final Thoughts

In the end, 4K surveillance is a small part of the market but with the high costs for even a modest system and an ever-present desire to continually improve the resolution/visible detail in recorded images, this market looks to be highly profitable one. Not every business is a match for 4K (as we discussed in the second piece of this series) as significant increases in the image resolution and zooming capability can actually exceed tolerable thresholds for detection in situations where secrecy/privacy are paramount. For those who choose to adopt 4K for their surveillance, a careful analysis of needs versus costs will be key. Lastly, 4K appears to be just the next stage in a continual stream of ever-improving camera sensor resolution and detection sensitivity so keeping an eye on what’s coming next will help you make better decisions about what to upgrade and when.

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