Advances in CCTV technology
You only have to look at the poor quality of video evidence that has been presented to the public on televised crime watch programmes to realise that advances in CCTV technology are needed and, indeed, warranted.
In today’s highly charged socio-political climate, the necessity for quality-driven evidence-based systems is absolute. This applies equally to CCTV solutions that have come to form a critical element in the armoury of employers and agencies charged with safeguarding our safety and security.
CCTV as crime prediction
CCTV by necessity has had to become more than a means of deploying a visible deterrence or evidence gathering. It has had to become a tool of crime prediction. Unbelievable? You might think so, but it’s not impossible. For example, one method by which this is achieved is via reliable behavioural analysis software or video analytics (VA) – the development, deployment and suitability of which is entirely dependent upon the technology advances associated with digitising CCTV optical data, higher pixel densities, compression algorithms and HD picture rendition.
It is said that CCTV as a reliable solution resulting from the above advances is undergoing something of ‘a renaissance’ in terms of a ‘must have’. In fact the more accurate term would be ‘a revolution’! The migration from analogue to digital, especially in regard to storage, was, in its time, a major step change. However, the more recent advances in digitalisation, emergence of end-to-end IP CCTV solutions and availability of meta-data for scene analysis has resulted in an unparalleled leap forward. Furthermore, the introduction of Power over Ethernet (PoE) has resulted in solutions becoming more affordable to deploy.
This in turn means more units can be deployed than might otherwise be the case. The combination of these benefits alone has significantly contributed to the further mitigation of risk, through higher levels of deterrence, higher conviction rates and use of predictive data for crime prevention.
Remote Video Surveillance
One other area of significance that research and development in CCTV technology has influenced for the better is centralised Remote Video Surveillance (RVS). The effectiveness of a remotely managed service and its positive impact on a client’s operational costs has undergone its own evolution. The efficiencies that technology advances have introduced to the control room environment means that, operationally, more can be managed with significantly less resource. The result is a more cost-effective service.
The increased quality of surveillance information and automated event responses provides for better prioritisation and reaction to situations. The convergence of technologies and its data that IP has engendered opens client access to real time service outputs and performance measures. As a consequence, client confidence in the delivery of remotely managed services is on the increase and is fast becoming viewed as representing true value for money.
So, who should own CCTV as part of their infrastructure?
Traditionally, the deployment of CCTV results from capital expenditure (CAPEX) and, as such, ownership at completion transfers to the buyer. Consequently, management of the system invariably falls to the buyer’s appointed personnel. For example, security (in-house or otherwise), estates, FM service providers or, more recently, IT departments. Invariably thereafter, the system sits unchallenged, growing old, decreasing in beneficial use and becoming more expensive to maintain. This fact of depreciating value and the need to address current threats with current technology in a cost-effective manner are some of the drivers challenging the traditional views of ownership and management. In light of issues such as these, end-users are necessarily seeking alternative revenue streams to the CAPEX model and its accompanying limitations.
Consideration should be given to solutions aligned with revenue streams available through the operating expenditure (OPEX) model. These structures not only bring added commercial expediency in the form of ROI, but also guarantee the deployed technology remains up to date and current for the lifetime of the contract. Full ownership and responsibility of the CCTV solution and its 100% uptime, move away from the end-user (traditionally the buyer) to the service provider.
In conclusion, it is important for service providers to recognise the impact of ongoing research and development in the fields of CCTV technologies and service provisions. Equally to be fully cognisant of the importance of providing value for money without compromising the security and welfare of the client’s staff, assets and the general public. In turn this means endorsing and investing in technology advances within this industry and delivering best of breed IP-ready products and facilitating the road to change in respect of system ownership, its management and complementary deliverables.