Recently I took a look at the Arecont AV8185 180 degree Panoramic 8 PIXC camera…..wow, what a completely astonishing beast it is ! It got me thinking….a single camera that can span through 180 degrees both pre and post recording with amazing detail…… some of their AVI samples show retail environments and warehouses where, on full wide angle, objects at distance are merely specks on the picture….but using zooming techniques, detail can be achieved at huge distance without compromising quality……. So, could one single 180 degree camera replace a PTZ camera?? Well, in essence, yes it can….. the advantage to a 180 or 360 degree camera is the ability to see EVERYTHING and zoom later, as opposed to the PTZ dome or similar only seeing what it is looking at – move it to another area and it is no longer looking the other way……and whilst the optical zoom produces great images on PTZ cameras, newer megapixel technologies are producing similar results post zoom through electronic magnification…. But, and there is a but…….megapixel IP cameras cannot ‘follow’ someone…..so, no matter where a person is within a scene, there is no ‘dynamic’ zooming or detail enhancement….it is simply a camera that is looking at everything and if real detail is required, then the operator just has to hope it will show up on post zoom… So what is the answer?? Well, maybe megapixel should complement PTZ cameras? co-exist? Work together??? Scenario…… 1 x Megapixel 180degree Panoramic camera looking at EVERYTHING 1 x PTZ camera, centrally located 1 x Analytic box/widget/software that takes the feed from the EVERYTHING seeing megapixel camera, feeds it to the PTZ camera to DYNAMICALLY move, zoom and track the object….. Utopia ! Of course, real utopia would be for the PTZ to ALSO be using megapixel or HD cameras…..and we hear rumours of such products coming up soon from the likes of 360 Vision, March Networks and similar… but how much are they?….. what is the price?………if the price is right ….. the best of both worlds? Maybe !!