Each camera had its own monitor. One camera, one monitor.
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CCTV systems were introduced in the US and the UK during the 60s and 70s.
CCTV systems are over a thousand times more advanced than the basic camera and monitor configurations that first appeared in the 1960s. Systems from the 60s were basic, consisting of very low resolution black and white cameras connected by coaxial cable. Each camera was connected to a black and white monitor. A 16 camera configuration required 16 monitors. New applications of camera security systems include: underground trains and stations, sports stadiums, retail stores, shopping centers, public facilities, community parks, garages and parking lots.
CCTV Technology Evolution The basic technology evolved in the 60s. First of all, cctv switch boxes were added. A switchbox would allow the operator to switch between cameras. Operators now could see multiple camera views on one monitor. Only one camera could be viewed at a time. The 70′s brought Multiplexers, VCRs and solid state cameras. Multiplexers allowed the screen to be broken into multiple frames on the same monitor. VCRs allowed easy recording and video distribution. Solid state cameras helped improve reliability and the integration of VCRs.
‘First generation’ CCTV technology was initially impeded by some fairly major performance related problems.
In the 80s we learned that VCR recorders had many problems. VCR recorders were temperamental. The quality of the recordings was very poor. The combination of low resolution camera images, poor quality video tapes and low tech solutions meant that grainy and unclear images couldn’t be relied on even for conclusive identification purposes.
VCR technology couldn’t allow the operator to review and record events simultaneously and it was a very time consuming process to find and review specific events.
There was no motion detection capability and no way of viewing events from a remote location.
Expensive for what you get Even though early CCTV systems provided only relatively basic functionality and moderate performance, they were quite expensive – both in terms of the initial equipment cost and the installation. Since this is still a new growth industry, there is still a lack of qualified and skilled installers.
The Next Generation CCTV The ‘next generation’ of CCTV system arrived in the mid 90s. The new technology was a computer based Digital Video Recorder (DVR) DVRs allow images to be recorded at much higher resolution than previously. DVR eliminated a major problem with first generation CCTV systems – Video Tape! Worn out, forgot to change the tape, VCR recording tape.
DVRs are automatic and never require user intervention. When it is time to look at recorded images, the DVR continues to record. Images are time and date stamped and are very easy to review. DVRs using IP (Internet Protocol) technology allow authorized remote users to view, transmit two way audio, fully control the cameras and system itself over a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN) or via the internet. With such flexible access, the modern generation of CCTV cameras may be operated remotely from a control center or, in fact anywhere with internet access. Equally, high quality digital images may be streamed anywhere and captured at a convenient and secure location. But it isn’t only the operating platform that has developed significantly; camera technology too allows far more functionality.
Today’s generation cameras can PTZ – pan, tilt and zoom, have higher resolution options, a large variety of lenses and are also capable of operating in ‘night vision. Audio is also now part of CCTV DVR technology. An operator is now able to synchronize motion based video events with audio analysis. Two way audio transmission allows the operator to question possible intruders, give instructions to staff and to record/search/replay in both audio and visual form. Next generation DDTV DVR systems are compatible with earlier camera technology, and are scaleable, flexible and can be integrated with a broad range of other management systems, such as access control and building management systems.
CCTV has certainly come a long way since the 1960s; it’s clear that the future of CCTV is secure and that technology will continue to develop to meet the needs of the surveillance market.
Security Camera Benefits for a Business
Twenty first century businesses cannot afford to be subjected to unnecessary expenses, especially those associated with crime. One of the biggest benefits to businesses in preventing crime related deficits is the investment in a sound security system which includes surveillance cameras and recorders.
In the 1950s it was not uncommon for a local “downtown” business to employ a 24 hour human-staffed security force while on the exterior, the local policeman “walked his beat” every night, providing additional security surveillance. However, it’s no longer 1950, few police departments can afford to staff beat-walking policemen, and few businesses can afford the expense of staffing a full time 24/7 security force. Yet, crime and vandalism still prevails and must be dealt with accordingly to prevent large losses to businesses.
So what is the solution? On of the biggest benefits to businesses in promoting safety and preventing crime (both internal and external) and vandalism is the security surveillance camera. The advances in recent technology have made the security camera cheaper and easier to use and with internet connectivity, have made security monitoring ubiquitous.
In fact police departments themselves have been employing security cameras to assist in monitoring activities. London, England now has the greatest number of police security cameras per square foot of any city in the world. This system often referred to as “The Ring of Steel,” was responsible for tracking and identifying the individuals that were involved in the subway terrorist bombings in 2005.
Some cities in the United States are also utilizing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). According to CNN.com’s Manav Tanneeru, August 3, 2007 article titled “’Ring of Steel’ coming to New York,” Baltimore, Maryland police officials told CNN that they had over 500 CCTV cameras and crime had been reduced 17% in the areas where the cameras were located. In an article written by Jennifer Lee, published in the May 31, 2005 New York Times, “The New York Police Department supports its contention that surveillance cameras actively deter crime by citing the changes in the 15 housing projects equipped with the cameras. Crime dropped an average of 36 percent from the year before the cameras were installed to the year afterward, according to Joanne Jaffe, chief of the housing bureau.” Jeff Shields, a Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer stated in an article published on October 23, 2007 titled “More Police Cameras to go Up” that the Philadelphia police department estimated a 37% drop in crime after the implementation of CCTV cameras.
Obviously, if police departments about the United States and around the world are utilizing security and surveillance cameras, businesses can benefit from their use as well. Security cameras can be used to identify and record actual acts of crime, and can be submitted later as evidence to enhance results in legal proceedings. The mere presence of a security camera has proven to deter theft, not only by individuals external to the business, but by employees as well. There probably is no better example of this than the extensive use of CCTV cameras and recording equipment in gambling casinos to monitor employees and customers and to protect them as well.
One of the biggest benefits of security cameras is the prevention of loss to businesses. However, they also have applications besides crime prevention. Businesses can use CCTV to enhance staff productivity and enhance the safety of their employees. Further, businesses can reap the benefits of a CCTV camera system to provide security while eliminating unnecessary personnel expenses to provide the same service. CCTV cameras don’t require payroll services, workers compensation coverage, overtime, and other personnel expenses.
Finally, all types of businesses can benefit from the use of security camera systems. Besides businesses that deal with the direct exchange of money such as banks, retail stores, and convenience stores, there are other widespread uses of security cameras. Hospitals, extended care facilities, museums, college campuses, elementary and high schools, day-care facilities, and even laboratories are just a few of the businesses making use of security camera systems.
The facts speak for themselves; it’s obvious that security cameras are becoming ever more popular and useful for 21st century businesses. Technology improvements including internet protocols, 4G telephone service and digital camera component enhancements are all contributing factors to making security cameras a necessity in today’s business world.
CCTV is an incredibly useful tool for employers for a large variety of reasons. Some of these are fairly obvious – such as preventing thefts and other crimes, aiding the police and watching employees. However there are many aspects and elements that you may not have considered that make CCTV not just useful, but invaluable, and make it a system that every manager should employ. Bellow are just some of the extra hidden benefits of owning CCTV.
Protecting Employees – In many jobs your employees are vulnerable to physical or verbal attacks from the general public. In high pressure or stressful situations, it’s not unusual that customers will lash out at a company representative. Knowing that they are being watched by CCTV however can minimize these cases and empower them to calmly deal with them. Furthermore, it can protect them against false allegations which can also be common depending on the nature of the business.
Preventing Crime – Of course CCTV can help you identify how a crime happened and to spot it in action, but it can also prevent it from occurring in the first place simply by them knowing they’re being watched.
Preventing Employee Theft – Theft and crime doesn’t just occur when customers or members of public pocket goods; a lot of the time it is employees themselves who are steeling from the business. Statistics and focus groups suggest that the reason for this isn’t often need but rather opportunity. If your staff know that they’re being watched it will make this far less likely.
Employee Satisfaction – However, should you be experiencing a fair amount of employee theft, it may suggest that your employees aren’t happy with their work and that this is a way of ‘lashing out’ at the company. Watching CCTV can give you an idea of life in the shoes of employees which can help you to streamline the business and to ensure they enjoy their work.
Settling Disputes – Sometimes, if a customer has a complaint about your service, it can be hard to know who’s in the wrong. Customers will regularly claim they’ve been short-changed or that they’ve been purposefully sold poor goods. Similarly they may try to claim that an accident that occurred on your premises was due to a breach in health and safety regulations. Unfortunately it’s hard to identify the cases where this is true and the cases where it’s fabricated. Even just mentioning that you have a record on CCTV however can make the con artists back down.
Placing Blame – If a serious mistake has been made, or something has been stolen, it may well be that a member of staff needs to be reprimanded or pointed in the right direction. If no employees don’t own up to the mistake however then mistakes can be allowed to slide or the wrong member of staff can be penalized.
Keeping Records – CCTV also acts as an automated system for keeping records and can allow you to prove to clients and check yourself that their shipments were indeed deployed etc.
Inspiring Confidence – CCTV can also be useful for the customers themselves by creating a safe feeling environment. It can allow you to spot crimes against customers (particularly in bars etc) and even accidents on the work premises