We will examine the question of the increasing technicality of the closed circuit video industry from three perspectives; The Manufacturer, the Specifier, and the Integrator.  

History Of Closed Circuit Video Industry 

Before we begin examining this subject, let's take a look briefly at the history of the Closed Circuit Video Industry.

  • 1920s: Tubes were invented (Cathode, Image Dissector, Iconoscope)
  • 1940s: CCTV first introduced to monitor rocket launches
  • 1970s: The “Chip” - Charged Coupling Devices
  • 1980s: Multiplexers and Switchers
  • 1999-2000: DVRs
  • Late 1990s: Internet Protocol (IP) Technology
  • 2003: Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • 2000s: HD, Megapixel, Multi-megapixel

As you can see, the industry is relatively young (less than 100 years), with the majority of innovations occurring in the last fifty years.

The Manufacturer
Looking at the timeline above it is clear that innovation is accelerating year over year which in turn drives more solutions for the security professional. Advances that used to be measured over decades are now happening annually. This rapid pace has proven difficult for the specifier and integrator community to stay abreast of new technology which slows adoption of a solution. A clear example of this was the introduction of Network Cameras which are widely accepted today but took close to a decade to reach that level. Integrators discovered that they needed a new skillset, computer networking, to be successful. In turn, manufacturers began focusing on developing products that were easier to install. In many ways this dynamic is playing out in the video analytics market today with many vendors realising that their initial solutions were to complex and could not meet original expectations.

With regards to video surveillance
the shift to digital has been largely
due to forensic uses cases where
advances in resolution have
analog solutions

With regards to video surveillance the shift to digital has been largely due to forensic uses cases where advances in resolution have outpaced analog solutions. Analog still has its place but its market share decreases each year as the price of networked cameras drops and customers’ expectations increase. Those expectations include moving video from a reactive tool to a proactive one that mitigates risk on the fly so that security professionals can respond to an incident as it unfolds.

Adding intelligence at the edge using something as simple as Video Motion Detection (VMD) or other more advanced analytics such as cross-line detection, tamper alarms, or even audio triggers could enable security professionals the ability of a more timely response. Most network cameras come with embedded a microphone so adding a simple analytic that monitors and alerts on aggressive voices or yelling could be the difference in a recording of a fight vs preventing one. There are many more examples but are these technologies actually being used? Are manufacturers adding features just because they can or are there real needs that drive the development of the solutions? 
Manufacturers should spend more time listening to end-users, integrators and specifiers so that they develop products that fill gaps and deliver solutions that close those gaps. They must be mindful of the capabilities of their channel partners and if necessary provide the education to properly deliver solutions. Manufacturers need to innovate, educate and support solutions that address security industry needs. If they don’t then they won’t be around for long.

With regards to video surveillance the shift to digital has been largely due to forensic uses cases
It is critical for the designer/specifier to remember the mission and purpose for the systems to be deployed

The Specifier
First and foremost, it is critical for the designer/specifier to remember the mission and purpose for the systems to be deployed. Critical elements of this process include ensuring that the design matches the operational definition of success, designs should incorporate and include critical usages (day to day, investigations, emergencies), and incorporate provisions for timely and effective response. So how is this to be done efficiently and effectively? Here is a brief list of considerations the specifier needs to have addressed and answered:

  1. A great design in the wrong application yields low return
  2. Field & Angle of view are Critical
  3. Lighting has to be sufficient, appropriate, and positioned
  4. Fast motion requires fast image rate
  5. Operators must have proper context to correctly interpret video
  6. Video can’t do it all – Effective integration may be required 
  7. Big video requires big infrastructure 

Feature vs. Value 

Basically, it comes down to Features vs. Value:

  1. Does the video system show what is needed and required?
  2. How uniform is the light?
  3. Are there enough pixels on target?
  4. Is the system compatible for the needs?
  5. Angles? Coverage? Direction? How Displayed? Compatible with camera data feeds?

The Integrator

Integrators face many challenges in the closed circuit video industry, as we read in the manufacturer's section, the terminology is constantly evolving, with new terms added almost daily. They are faced with having to keep up with the "latest and greatest" technologies the manufacturers produce (and market to the end users). The systems can become a blend of various and sometimes complicated technologies, so it is imperative that integrators stay abreast of these evolutions. Since the integrator is the last contact point with the end user, it is important that they understand as well the customers' expectations, the specifiers expectations, and the manufacturer's intent of product use. In other words: are we providing the most efficient and effective solution?

Systems designed and deployed
today are very complex in nature,
consisting of large numbers of
cameras, as well as unique
transmission, recording, and
storage methods

Many of the systems designed and deployed today are very complex in nature, consisting of large numbers of cameras, as well as unique transmission, recording, and storage methods. It is crucial for the integrator to not only be aware of these items but most importantly know simply "what was told and sold" to the end user. The integrator needs to have knowledge of the end users expectations of the video system being deployed in order to adequately deploy the proper technology. In other words: does the technology meet the client's needs or is it too complicated to achieve the goals? Sometimes (actually more often than not) simpler is better. 
Ongoing Training To Resolve Issues 
How can we remedy the potential issues? One word - EDUCATION! 
But who do we educate? Most manufacturers have regular training programs that are geared to the technician, but what about training for the sales team, the specifiers, and the end users? Education needs to be a collaborative effort including all who touch these highly evolved systems. Each device designed into a system needs to have a clear defined purpose and function. The software should be easy to operate and function cleanly- remember who is operating these systems - typically a guard or administrative person- not someone who is necessarily technically skilled in our industry! 
Ongoing training and communication are the key elements to a successful system deployment and use. When in a training or continuing education class on these systems ask questions, if something is not clear to you, investigate it until you feel that you clearly understand. 
In closing, we believe that technology in the video industry has made some amazing and significant strides in providing clear, storable and retrievable images, however it is up to all of us to try and keep the operations as simple as possible. Remember - if the end user cannot operate the system effectively, we have all failed.  








Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Disruptive Innovation Providing New Opportunities In Smart Cities
Disruptive Innovation Providing New Opportunities In Smart Cities

Growth is accelerating in the smart cities market, which will quadruple in the next four years based on 2020 numbers. Top priorities are resilient energy and infrastructure projects, followed by data-driven public safety and intelligent transportation. Innovation in smart cities will come from the continual maturation of relevant technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), fifth-generation telecommunications (5G) and edge-to-cloud networking. AI and computer vision (video analytics) are driving challenges in security and safety, in particular, with video management systems (VMSs) capturing video streams and exposing them to various AI analytics. Adoption of disruptive technologies “Cities are entering the critical part of the adoption curve,” said Kasia Hanson, Global Director, Partner Sales, IOT Video, Safe Cities, Intel Corp. “They are beginning to cross the chasm to realize their smart city vision. Cities are taking notice and have new incentives to push harder than before. They are in a better position to innovate.” “Safety and security were already important market drivers responsible for adoption of AI, computer vision and edge computing scenarios,” commented Hanson, in a presentation at the Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS) 2021. She added: “2020 was an inflection point when technology and the market were ripe for disruption. COVID has accelerated the adoption of disruptive technologies in ways we could not have predicted last year.” Challenges faced by cities Spending in the European Union on public order and safety alone stood at 1.7% of GDP in 2018 Providing wide-ranging services is an expanding need in cities of all sizes. There are currently 33 megacities globally with populations over 10 million. There are also another 4,000 cities with populations over 100,000 inhabitants. Challenges for all cities include improving public health and safety, addressing environmental pressures, enabling mobility, improving quality of life, promoting economic competitiveness, and reducing costs. Spending in the European Union on public order and safety alone stood at 1.7% of GDP in 2018. Other challenges include air quality – 80% of those living in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed World Health Organization (WHO) limits. Highlighting mobility concerns is an eye-opening statistic from Los Angeles in 2017: Residents spent an average of 102 hours sitting in traffic. Smart technology “The Smart City of Today can enable rich and diverse use cases,” says Hanson. Examples include AI-enabled traffic signals to help reduce air pollution, and machine learning for public safety such as real-time visualization and emergency response. Public safety use cases include smart and connected outdoor lighting, smart buildings, crime prevention, video wearables for field agents, smart kiosks, and detection of noise level, glass breaks, and gunshots. Smart technology will make indoor spaces safer by controlling access to a building with keyless and touchless entry. In the age of COVID, systems can also detect face mask compliance, screen for fever, and ensure physical distancing. 2020 was an inflection point when technology and the smart cities market were ripe for disruption, Kasia Hanson told the MIPS 2021 audience. Video solutions Video workloads will provide core capabilities as entertainment venues reopen after the pandemic. When audiences attend an event at a city stadium, deep learning and AI capabilities analyze customer behaviors to create new routes, pathways, signage and to optimize cleaning operations. Personalized digital experiences will add to the overall entertainment value. In the public safety arena, video enables core capabilities such as protection of people, assets, and property, emergency response, and real-time visualization, and increased situational awareness. Video also provides intelligent incident management, better operational efficiency, and faster information sharing and collaboration. Smart video strategy Intel and Milestone provide video solutions across many use cases, including safety and security Video at the edge is a key element in end-to-end solutions. Transforming data from various point solutions into insights is complicated, time-consuming, and costly. Cities and public venues are looking for hardware, software, and industry expertise to provide the right mix of performance, capabilities, and cost-effectiveness. Intel’s smart video strategy focuses around its OpenVINO toolkit. OpenVINO, which is short for Open Visual Inference and Neural network Optimization, enables customers to build and deploy high-performing computer vision and deep learning inference applications. Intel and Milestone partnership – Video solutions “Our customers are asking for choice and flexibility at the edge, on-premises and in the cloud,” said Hansen in her presentation at the virtual conference. “They want the choice to integrate with large-scale software packages to speed deployment and ensure consistency over time. They need to be able to scale computer vision. Resolutions are increasing alongside growth in sensor installations themselves. They have to be able to accommodate that volume, no matter what causes it to grow.” As partners, Intel and Milestone provide video solutions across many use cases, including safety and security. In effect, the partnership combines Intel’s portfolio of video, computer vision, inferencing, and AI capabilities with Milestone’s video management software and community of analytics partners. Given its complex needs, the smart cities market is particularly inviting for these technologies.

What Are the Physical Security Challenges of Smart Cities?
What Are the Physical Security Challenges of Smart Cities?

The emergence of smart cities provides real-world evidence of the vast capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT). Urban areas today can deploy a variety of IoT sensors to collect data that is then analyzed to provide insights to drive better decision-making and ultimately to make modern cities more livable. Safety and security are an important aspect of smart cities, and the capabilities that drive smarter cities also enable technologies that make them safer. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the physical security challenges of smart cities?

New Markets For AI-Powered Smart Cameras In 2021
New Markets For AI-Powered Smart Cameras In 2021

Organizations faced a number of unforeseen challenges in nearly every business sector throughout 2020 – and continuing into 2021. Until now, businesses have been on the defensive, reacting to the shifting workforce and economic conditions, however, COVID-19 proved to be a catalyst for some to accelerate their long-term technology and digitalization plans. This is now giving decision-makers the chance to take a proactive approach to mitigate current and post-pandemic risks. These long-term technology solutions can be used for today’s new world of social distancing and face mask policies and flexibly repurposed for tomorrow’s renewed focus on efficiency and business optimization. For many, this emphasis on optimization will likely be precipitated by not only the resulting economic impacts of the pandemic but also the growing sophistication and maturity of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), technologies that are coming of age just when they seem to be needed the most.COVID-19 proved to be a catalyst for some to accelerate their long-term technology and digitalization plans Combined with today’s cutting-edge computer vision capabilities, AI and ML have produced smart cameras that have enabled organizations to more easily implement and comply with new health and safety requirements. Smart cameras equipped with AI-enabled intelligent video analytic applications can also be used in a variety of use cases that take into account traditional security applications, as well as business or operational optimization, uses – all on a single camera. As the applications for video analytics become more and more mainstream - providing valuable insights to a variety of industries - 2021 will be a year to explore new areas of use for AI-powered cameras. Optimizing production workflows and product quality in agriculture Surveillance and monitoring technologies are offering value to industries such as agriculture by providing a cost-effective solution for monitoring of crops, business assets and optimizing production processes. As many in the agriculture sector seek to find new technologies to assist in reducing energy usage, as well as reduce the environmental strain of modern farming, they can find an unusual ally in smart surveillance. Some niche farming organizations are already implementing AI solutions to monitor crops for peak production freshness in order to reduce waste and increase product quality.  For users who face environmental threats, such as mold, parasites, or other insects, smart surveillance monitoring can assist in the early identification of these pests and notify proper personnel before damage has occurred. They can also monitor vast amounts of livestock in fields to ensure safety from predators or to identify if an animal is injured. Using video monitoring in the growing environment as well as along the supply chain can also prove valuable to large-scale agriculture production. Applications can track and manage inventory in real-time, improving knowledge of high-demand items and allowing for better supply chain planning, further reducing potential spoilage. Efficient monitoring in manufacturing and logistics New challenges have arisen in the transportation and logistics sector, with the industry experiencing global growth. While security and operational requirements are changing, smart surveillance offers an entirely new way to monitor and control the physical side of logistics, correcting problems that often go undetected by the human eye, but have a significant impact on the overall customer experience. Smart surveillance offers an entirely new way to monitor and control the physical side of logistics, correcting problems that often go undetected by the human eye. Video analytics can assist logistic service providers in successfully delivering the correct product to the right location and customer in its original condition, which normally requires the supply chain to be both secure and ultra-efficient. The latest camera technology and intelligent software algorithms can analyze footage directly on the camera – detecting a damaged package at the loading dock before it is loaded onto a truck for delivery. When shipments come in, smart cameras can also alert drivers of empty loading bays available for offloading or alert facility staff of potential blockages or hazards for incoming and outgoing vehicles that could delay delivery schedules planned down to the minute. For monitoring and detecting specific vehicles, computer vision in combination with video analysis enables security cameras to streamline access control measures with license plate recognition. Smart cameras equipped with this technology can identify incoming and outgoing trucks - ensuring that only authorized vehicles gain access to transfer points or warehouses. Enhance regulatory safety measures in industrial settings  Smart surveillance and AI-enabled applications can be used to ensure compliance with organizational or regulatory safety measures in industrial environments. Object detection apps can identify if employees are wearing proper safety gear, such as facial coverings, hard hats, or lifting belts. Similar to the prevention of break-ins and theft, cameras equipped with behavior detection can help to automatically recognize accidents at an early stage. For example, if a worker falls to the ground or is hit by a falling object, the system recognizes this as unusual behavior and reports it immediately. Going beyond employee safety is the ability to use this technology for vital preventative maintenance on machinery and structures. A camera can identify potential safety hazards, such as a loose cable causing sparks, potential wiring hazards, or even detect defects in raw materials. Other more subtle changes, such as gradual structural shifts/crack or increases in vibrations – ones that would take the human eye months or years to discover – are detectable by smart cameras trained to detect the first signs of mechanical deterioration that could potentially pose a physical safety risk to people or assets. Early recognition of fire and smoke is another use case where industrial decision-makers can find value. Conventional fire alarms are often difficult to properly mount in buildings or outdoor spaces and they require a lot of maintenance. Smart security cameras can be deployed in difficult or hard-to-reach areas. When equipped with fire detection applications, they can trigger notification far earlier than a conventional fire alarm – as well as reduce false alarms by distinguishing between smoke, fog, or other objects that trigger false alarms. By digitizing analog environments, whether a smoke detector or an analog pressure gauge, decision-makers will have access to a wealth of data for analysis that will enable them to optimize highly technical processes along different stages of manufacturing - as well as ensure employee safety and security of industrial assets and resources. Looking forward to the future of smart surveillance With the rise of automation in all three of these markets, from intelligent shelving systems in warehouses to autonomous-driving trucks, object detection for security threats, and the use of AI in monitoring agricultural crops and livestock, the overall demand for computer vision and video analytics will continue to grow. That is why now is the best time for decision-makers across a number of industries to examine their current infrastructure and determine if they are ready to make an investment in a sustainable, multi-use, and long-term security and business optimization solution.