CCTV is currently in a state of transition, moving from traditional analogue technology utilising coaxial cabling to digital CCTV using local and wide area networks for transmission of video (IP CCTV or Network Video).
CCTV installations are now usually IP based. IP cameras are plugged into a network socket on a Local Area Network (LAN) in the same way as a PC. This then makes the camera’s video available to all network users who have the necessary passwords.
IP camera images are viewed on Video Management Software (VMS) run on a computer, such as Milestone.
IP CCTV has many advantages, including the ability to capture and transmit images of much higher quality (Megapixel Cameras) and removing the need for specialist CCTV recording hardware such as DVRs (digital video recorders), which are replaced by standard IT servers.
The move to network video has increased the ability to analyse video data, both live and stored. Video analytics enables live images to be monitored by software for suspicious incidents, for example by drawing “virtual tripwires” on a scene. Forensic search enables the intelligent searching of stored video for incidents by specifying image characteristics such as colour and direction of movement.
The migration of an analogue CCTV system to an IP CCTV system is possible using encoders and decoders which convert video signals to and from digital or analogue format. There are a number of algorithms which are used to encode video, with H.264 being popular..
Good CCTV system design remains fundamental. Whether to use CCTV, where to place cameras and which cameras to use so as to maximise effectiveness in enhancing security remains key.