Friday, 9 January 2009


When it comes to CCTV, colour is the new black ... and white

Well to be strictly accurate, here in the U.K.,  colour systems became the preferred option perhaps seven to ten years ago, which in itself does provide a somewhat tenuous link for this particular posting.

Having been in the business for just over thirty years, every now and again I try and take a few minutes to look back at material I'd previously written, and see whether the prophecies and predictions were really all that I thought they would be, when I actually sat down and wrote them.

As you might imagine some aspects of CCTV development were fairly easy to foretell although it wasn't always possible to be completely accurate on timescales. 

I only mention this because one particular area of somewhat rapid development which is currently subject to my less than detailed consideration, is the adoption of "Headcams" or "Body Worn Video" as some agencies prefer to call it.

The idea of equipping an individual with their very own compact CCTV system is not in itself completely new, but the main accelerant in it's increasingly enthusiastic adoption, now appears to be the rapid drop in pricing for the equipment.

In the last couple of years, police officers, traffic wardens, door operatives, security officers, hospital employees, bus and train inspectors, and would you believe even police dogs, to name but a few, have all increasingly been required to wear their own personal constantly recording video package, as part of their everyday work wear.

The deployment of these systems is often in the name of capturing anti social behaviour, although as the technology becomes more widely used, it does raise a number of questions which thus far have not really been addressed.

For example, there really is little or no discussion about the implications for using this technology. Quite apart from an individual being routinely recorded without consent, often  going about their lawful business, the fact that there are little if any controls or checks on the way the equipment is currently used, and what might eventually happen to the recordings themselves, does suggest that this may in some respects be the 'thin end of the wedge' when it comes to recognising what may or may not be an appropriate and justified use of the technology.

The Information Commissioner recently outlawed the widescale use of microphones as part of a CCTV installation, and yet Body Worn Video (BWV) sets routinely record speech along with pictures, and nobody dares to question the practice. Come to think of it, in relation to the Data Protection Act, personal data is being gathered, often without the consent or knowledge of the data subject, and there are no statutory signs to notify members of the public that the systems are being used.

Now to be equitable about this, there are obviously a number of situations where the appropriate use of BWV is both sensible and acceptable, but then where as a society do we decide to draw the line.

Twenty years ago, the idea of everyone and his uncle walking down the high street with their own camera phone, was quite literally an idea born from science fiction. 

So what if I were to suggest that in perhaps twenty years time, BWV will not only have permeated throughout society, but may indeed be a technology of fashion, with people reluctant to leave home unless their personal video system is both charged and recording.

Shoppers may use the evidence of their recordings to return goods to a store, demonstrating that the sales assistant promised on camera that the product would do something, which it was subsequently found to be quite incapable of achieving.

Covert cameras are already being sold at silly prices, with a range of clothing disguises from baseball caps, ties, handbags, buttons, belts, sunglasses, watches, and goodness knows what else, readily available from a number of far eastern suppliers, and in a range of styles.

Whilst it could be agreed that in the field of video surveillance, we've actually come a very long way in the last few years, many could quite justifiably argue that in some respects, we may already have gone just that little bit too far.

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Wednesday, 7 January 2009


CCTV Industry news in the last seven days

A very happy new year to you, and here's hoping you're fighting fit and really looking forward to what will undoubtedly prove to be ... a most interesting year ahead.

Personally, I hate new year resolutions, simply because they rarely last more than a week or two at best, but in a valiant effort to be more disciplined in my less than satisfactory attempts to regularly update this blog, I'm hoping to routinely post new content, particularly with regards to the latest industry news and general work in progress on my main site.

So to get things off to a well intentioned start, here's some brief details of some Press Releases that have been received in the last week or so ....

IQinVision have announced their 2009 'Summit' dates

Pelco's annual charity support has paid dividends for the "Toys for Tots" campaign, and they've also just picked up an award for their Sarix technology

Raytec have announced the launch of their latest "Fusion" Infra Red and White Light solid state illuminators. They've also just published details of their first successful PLATINUM Partner Conference

It's been announced that Adam Wiseberg has left AD Group

IndigoVision's IP-CCTV solution is being used to protect the "Pearl of the Orient"

And if you're interested to see some other recent manufacturers press releases, just have a quick browse through the archive index

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