CCTV has transitioned from traditional analogue technology utilising coaxial cabling to digital technology using local and wide area networks for transmission of video and data (IP CCTV or Network Video).
CCTV installations are now usually IP (Internet Protocol) 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 authorisation.
IP camera images are viewed on Video Management Software (VMS) run on a PC or server.
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 recorded. 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.
Existing analogue CCTV system can be migrated to an IP system using encoders and decoders, which convert video signals from an analogue to a digital format. Video compression is utilised to reduce the bandwidth, and ever improving digital storage allows the retention of megapixel resolution images for longer time frames.
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.