Impacts of technology on CCTV

Perhaps you are not in the right story if you think CCTV does nothing but standing still to capture what is around within a targeted area. As technology advances, CCTV do more than what our imagination can contain, not only footages come in distinct colours with high resolutions but also recognition features that work just like or even better than human eyes. Here are what you may have missed.

Currently, majority of the CCTV footages are digitized and directly stored in computers rather than recording tapes; with the amount to be stored varies upon the sizes of hard drives. To achieve this, the CCTV system is usually accompanied by a video encoder which changes the video signals and sends them to the internet, for individuals’ viewing and storage. Viewers from different areas are able to view the same footages at the same time, as long as they process the right password to unlock these videos.

Similarly, CCTV also comes in High Definition (HD) just like our home television. For example in UK, certain street surveillance systems are armed with 16 megapixel HD cameras, so that faces within one kilometer are clearly captured. The latest CCTV systems are also sensitive to specific movements such as fights and cameras are able to automatically zoom in or turn into the direction which the detected actions are taking place. In the multi-camera tracking system, one camera is able to pick up from where the previous camera had left off. Traditionally, when a person left the targeted area, a camera would literally lose track of this person, but in this case, the next camera in the same system would be able to continue the tracking, so that the monitoring is intact.

Likewise for recognition capabilities; facial recognition had become more accurate with enhanced software whereby the walking style of a person can be easily identified now. Moreover, certain CCTV systems are also able to capture sounds and divide them into categories like human voices (i.e. if they belong to a whisper, quarrel, or violence etc.), sounds of objects (i.e. hitting or banging of doors, breaking of glasses, or moving of equipment etc.), and even gunshots.

On the other hand, some systems are equipped with memory functions so that faces of suspicious or targeted individuals will be scanned and aligned onto topography maps, in which facial features are picked out for the system to remember, so that similar information can be extracted out again, when individual with the same or similar facial features reappears. Thermal imaging technology taps onto the advancement by allowing us to “see through” the walls, to detect if a stranger is loitering outside, and if a possible break in is going to happen.

Sizes of CCTV camera turned even smaller despite the added features, modern CCTV systems can be as minute as pinholes for individuals to insert them into a clock or put into their shirt pockets; while controlling these machines can be easily achieved via simple mobile applications, on site or off site.

For example, the Remote Network Monitoring (RMON) replaces the roles of traditional monitoring company as individuals are able to keep track, examine, and notify relevant authorities when emergencies take place, all remotely done without being exposed to the possibility of being harmed. A new mobile application known as “Manything” had successfully turned old and unused iphones into portable CCTV cameras, as long as it is connected to the application and another iphone is present to receive the footages. Thus far, this application had helped both UK and US police in solving many neighbourhood break-in cases, because footages of crime taking place are directly linked to the police officers’ phones.

One may be spoilt for choices if they are new to the CCTV market, hence do not skip the opportunity to consult relevant agency on the best available option. For existing holders, it is also advisable to consult your CCTV agency regularly to keep an update on the ever advancing technology.

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