Closed-circuit television (CCTV), also known as video surveillance, is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. Such systems are mostly used for surveillance in areas that require additional security or ongoing monitoring. The name closed-circuit translates from the fact that all elements from the cameras to the recording devices are directly connected in order to keep the video from being broadcast over public airwaves.
The technology could only be used to observe live footage, but it quickly developed into a recording system that allowed users to both view and preserve data hence making it the ultimate security technology.
Benefits and beneficiaries
Studies show that CCTV reduces crime by 24-28% in public streets. CCTV can be helpful in decreasing unruly behavior in massive gatherings and theft in supermarkets/mass merchant stores. Furthermore, CCTV has played a crucial role in tracing the movements of suspects or victims and is widely regarded by anti-terrorist officers as a fundamental tool in tracking terrorist suspects. When placed in homes, CCTV cameras are an effective deterrent to potential intruders as it increases the risk of identification through the camera footage.
CCTV footage can also help to identify criminals and can be used as evidence in criminal investigations. Whether for anti-social behavior near your property or a full-on break-In, a major benefit of having CCTV at home is that offenders are more likely to be identified, caught, and brought to justice. Modern CCTV systems can be monitored through mobile phone apps which allows people to view live footage of their house from anywhere they have internet coverage.
Traffic flow monitoring
Many cities and motorway networks have extensive traffic-monitoring systems, using CCTV to detect congestion, notice accidents, and automatically read number plates of vehicles entering the road. Footage from road CCTV systems can help traffic police to notice road safety offenders.
Sporting events can use CCTV inside the venue for fans to see the action while they are away from their seats. The cameras send the feed to a central control center where a producer selects feeds to send to the television monitors that fans can view. CCTV monitors for viewing the event by attendees are often placed in lounges, hallways, and restrooms.
Organizations can use CCTV to monitor the actions of workers. This helps to track the actions of workers, especially when they are making critical financial transactions, such as correcting or canceling a sale, withdrawing money, or altering personal information as well as employees’ reporting to work among others.
How CCTV technology works
A CCTV system consists of a camera, monitor, and a recorder. The camera picks up the images, which are then transmitted to a recording device and then a monitor. CCTV security camera systems are categorized into Analog and IP(digital) systems.
With analog surveillance systems, your standard analog camera is connected to a digital video recorder (DVR) via transmission cables. The DVR receives the video from the camera, compresses it, and then stores it on a hard drive for either live viewing or later viewing. This setup also allows you to transport the video over the internet for remote viewing. The DVR is used to compress, convert, store, and stream the video.
In an IP configuration, the camera itself does the compressing and converting of the video and it is streamed directly to someone’s computer over an internet connection.
Some types of CCTV cameras include;
- Bullet cameras
They are the go-to solution for basic surveillance needs. Their fixed mounting makes them instantly recognizable hence sending a strong message about surveillance, making them good for deterrence.
- Night Vision, Infrared (IR) CCTV Cameras
They are used for surveillance of areas where ambient lighting cannot always be maintained. Night Vision CCTV cameras are equipped with their own LEDs, typically in the IR spectrum, which can be used to illuminate the camera’s immediate environment.
- Single-lens Cameras
These are fixed lens cameras that can be used for small and medium distance, budget-efficient surveillance.
- Audio Cameras
Unlike the traditional video-only CCTV cameras, these are audio-enabled CCTV cameras, some of which have speakers and can relay your voice. These are called two-way audio CCTV cameras. They can allow security personnel to speak to an individual who is seeking permission to access the premises without face to face interaction.
- Facial Recognition Cameras
These are equipped with the ability to match faces in a picture against a set of known faces in a database. They can be used for example in scenarios where it is necessary to recognize people that have been banned from an organization’s premises
- Wire-free IP Cameras
These typically use Wi-Fi for data connectivity, and batteries or solar power modules as power sources. They are useful for outdoor surveillance, especially in places where running power cables is inconvenient, such as back or front yards.
In CCTV technology, the main investment is at the network deployment stage, and thereafter you just carry out routine maintenance of CCTV cameras hence making the cost of security affordable not just for cities but also for homeowners in any given location.
With four years’ experience in the rollout of safe-city (metropolitan CCTV networks) solutions, Infinity Computers and communications company (I3C) is a regional leader in providing public safety technology.