Set Up Sentry Mode for the CP52-E

Learn how to benefit from live monitoring when an operator is unavailable

Updated today

Sentry Mode is a feature for all CP52-E Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras. With Sentry Mode, the PTZ becomes your vigilant eye, providing the benefits of live monitoring when an operator is unavailable.

Sentry Mode is part of Verkada's people analytics suite of computer vision technology. Similar to other people analytics features, the accuracy of Sentry Mode is highly dependent on the proper installation of the camera, people density in the scene, and the visibility and distance of the individuals that enter the camera’s field of view.

How it works

  1. When Sentry Mode is activated, the PTZ camera automatically detects people that enter its field of view.

  2. Once a person is detected, the camera zooms in to capture high-resolution footage of the individual and follows them for approximately 15 seconds before zooming out to regain full context of the scene.

  3. You can enable Sentry Mode 24/7 or according to a set schedule.

Setup and user experience

User permissions for Sentry Mode

Required. You must have Site Admin permissions to set up Sentry Mode on a PTZ camera. Learn more about Roles and Permissions for Cameras.




Site Admin

Full access

✔️ Can enable and disable Sentry Mode.

✔️ Can set and edit Sentry Mode settings.

Site Viewer

Limited access

❌ Cannot enable or disable Sentry Mode.

✔️ Can view, but not set or edit Sentry Mode settings.


No access

❌ Cannot see Sentry Mode on the camera toolbar.

Find the Sentry Mode option

  1. In Verkada Command, go to All Products > Cameras.

  2. Select a CP52 camera.

  3. To the right of the video feed, on the toolbar, click Sentry Mode .

Enable Sentry Mode

⚠️ Warning: Sentry Mode is inherently linked to the preset location that it is paired to. If you delete a preset location that is being used for Sentry Mode, the Sentry Mode setup is also deleted.

  1. Using the Add Location dropdown, select the field of views (preset locations) for the camera to monitor.

    • The list of presets correspond to the created preset views on that PTZ camera. If required, you can also create new preset views directly from the Sentry Mode settings. Note: The maximum number of presets that can be paired with Sentry Mode is 25.

    • The default view is the camera’s home position.

    • For best results, we recommend a wide field of view that captures the entire scene.

  2. (Optional) Define active regions for your Sentry Mode setup and click Save and Activate.

    1. Using active regions, you can draw polygons within the camera's field of view to specify a focused monitoring area for each preset.

    2. Once activated, Sentry Mode is only triggered when people are detected within the defined active region. It does not zoom in on any individual detected outside of the region.

  3. When using multiple preset views with Sentry Mode, you are prompted to enter a dwell time. This represents the amount of time the PTZ monitors each preset view before moving to the next location in the queue.

    Note: Dwell time values can range between 30 seconds and 24 hours. The default value is 30 seconds.

  4. (Optional) Disable Follow People to configure a more traditional PTZ patrol. This results in the camera alternating between the configured preset locations, without zooming in on any detected individuals.

  5. (Optional) Configure a schedule for Sentry Mode. This is useful for monitoring areas during specific times, such as nights and weekends. If the scheduling feature is disabled, Sentry Mode is on 24/7 once activated.

  6. Click Save and Activate. The PTZ will start to automatically capture high-resolution images of people within the camera’s field of view or active regions during the scheduled times.

  7. Under the People and Faces tabs, you can then view high-quality, close-up images of people captured during Sentry Mode.

Good to know

Factors that may affect accuracy

Sentry Mode relies on our people detection algorithm to accurately zoom in on people who enter the camera’s field of view. Environmental factors can affect this algorithm, causing Sentry Mode to occasionally miss individuals. These are the main variables that might affect Sentry Mode’s accuracy and general performance:

  • Obstructions. As a person moves through the camera’s field of view, they may be temporarily or permanently hidden from the PTZ’s line of sight by another object. This can cause issues for our tracking algorithms when it comes to accurately following individuals throughout the entirety of the scene.

Recommended. For optimal results, we recommend using Sentry Mode in areas with minimal obstructions.

  • Limited detection window. When configuring Sentry Mode, we recommend choosing a wide field of view that captures the entire scene you are looking to monitor. Individuals need to be visible for roughly 5 seconds for Sentry Mode to accurately follow their path. People who are running across a narrow field of view and/or appear for less than 5 seconds may be missed by the camera’s tracking algorithm.

  • High foot traffic. In areas with high-people density, such as airports, stadiums, and concert venues, Sentry Mode may miss individuals in the scene because the camera is already tracking another person or group of people. Although we have implemented camera movement constraints in scenes with large crowds (10+ people) and a zoom timeout mechanism, the camera may still miss certain people on the edge of the scene.

  • Distance to camera. Sentry Mode’s accuracy may decrease when individuals are more than 150 ft (50m) away from the camera.

Recommended. For ideal coverage when using Sentry Mode, we recommend pairing the PTZ with a fixed camera (for example, Dome, Bullet, or Fisheye) that monitors the entire scene. This helps to maintain general context of the overall area when the CP52-E is zooming in on specific individuals.

Expected behaviors

  • Camera bootup. Upon the initial bootup of the CP52-E PTZ, Sentry Mode may take 1–2 minutes before it detects people.

  • Obstructions. When objects obstruct the PTZ’s line of sight to a detected person who is being followed, the camera zooms out slightly and temporarily pauses to regain tracking of the subject. If the subject is not detected within 2 seconds, the camera reverts back to Sentry Mode’s home position.

  • Large groups. When following a group of people, the PTZ chooses the optimal zoom level to keep every person clearly visible inside the frame. If more than 10 people are detected within the camera’s field of view, the PTZ remains in Sentry Mode’s home position to retain full context of the scene.

Installation recommendations

Install the camera at a high vantage point

For optimal results, the PTZ camera should be installed at least 25 ft (8m) above the ground. The higher vantage point allows the camera to have as wide of a view as possible and fully utilize the 28x optical zoom.

Position the camera within 150 ft (50m) of potential subjects

The people detection algorithm is most accurate when individuals are within 150 ft (50m) away from the camera. While the camera may capture individuals at greater distances, Sentry Mode’s accuracy decreases.

Minimize obstructions

When setting up Sentry Mode, it is important to choose an unobstructed field of view in an area that minimizes interference from objects, such as trees or fencing. Obstructions may cause the camera to lose track of detected people in the scene.

Related resources

Need more help? Contact Verkada Support

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