What is a CCTV or IP camera?

Video surveillance through CCTV or IP cameras

A CCTV camera or IP camera is a Closed-circuit television (also known as video surveillance), is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place on a limited set of monitors through a software. This differs from television in which the signal is not transmitted in an open mode, although it can engage point-to-point (P2P), point-to-multipoint (P2MP), or wired or wireless connections. Although almost all cameras fall within this definition, the term is most often applied to those used for surveillance in areas where monitoring might be needed, such as bars, banks, casinos, schools, hotels, airports, hospitals, restaurants, military installations, shops and other areas where security is required. Video-telephony seldom is called “CCTV,” but the use of video in distance learning, where it is an important tool, is often called so.

Public surveillance using CCTV is common in many areas around the world. In recent years, the use of body-worn cameras has been introduced as a new form of surveillance. Video surveillance has generated a meaningful debate about balancing its use with people’s right to privacy, even when they are in public. There are approximately 350 million global surveillance cameras since 2016. Approximately 65% ​​of these cameras are installed in Asia. The growth of closed-circuit television slowed down in recent years. In industrial installations, CCTV equipment can be used to observe parts of a process from a central control room, for example, when the environment is not suitable for humans.

CCTV systems can operate continuously or only as needed to monitor a particular event. A more advanced form of CCTV, the use of digital video recorders (DVRs) (see CCTV camera software), can provide recording for many years with a variety of quality and performance and additional features (such as motion detection and email alerts). More recently, decentralized IP cameras, some equipped with image sensors, support recording directly to network-attached storage devices or internal flash memory, thus ensuring fully autonomous operation.

The history of CCTV cameras

The first CCTV system was installed by Siemens AG at Test Stand VII in Peenemünde, Nazi Germany, in 1942 to observe the launch of V-2 missiles. It should be noted that German engineer Walter Bruch was responsible for the technical design and installation of the system.

In the US, the first closed circuit television commercial system became available in 1949, called Vericon. Very little is known about Vericon except that it has been promoted as not requiring government authorization. Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the home security system. The patent was granted in 1969. Brown’s system had a set of 4 holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look through each. The system included a device that allowed an owner to use a TV to view the person at the door and hear the caller’s voice.

The technology behind CCTV IP cameras

The oldest video surveillance systems involved constant monitoring because there is no way to record and store the information. The roll-out of the media allowed recording from surveillance cameras. These systems requireda manual change of the magnetic strips, which was a time consuming, costly and uncertain process, the operator having to manually screw the tape onto the roll by a recorder on an empty pickup drum. Because of these shortcomings, video surveillance was not widespread. VCR technology became available in the 1970s, facilitating recording and deletion of information, and the use of video surveillance has become more common.

In the 1990s, digital multiplexing was developed to allow multiple cameras to be recorded at the same time as recording at intervals and motion detection. This increased time and money savings, which led to an increase in the use of CCTV. CCTV technology has recently been improved through a shift to Internet-based products and systems as well as other technological developments.


In September 1968, Olean, New York was the first city in the United States to install video cameras along the main business street in an effort to fight crime. Another early appearance was in 1973 in Times Square in New York City. The New York Police Department installed rooms in order to discourage crime in the area; however, the crime rate did not seem to fall much because of the cameras. However, during the 1980s, video surveillance began to spread across the country, targeting in particular public areas. It was seen as a cheaper way to discourage crime than the increase in the size of police departments. Some businesses, especially those who have been prone to theft, have begun to use video surveillance systems.

Since the mid-1990s, police departments across the country have installed a growing number of cameras in various public spaces, including dwellings, schools and public parks. Video surveillance later became common in banks and stores to deter theft by recording evidence of criminal activity. In 1998, 3000 surveillance systems were in use in New York City. A study by Nieto in 2008 found that many companies in the United States have invested heavily in video surveillance technologies to protect their products and promote a safe working environment. A national survey found that 75 percent of companies use video surveillance systems. In the private sector, video surveillance technology is operated in a wide variety of units, such as industry / production, retail, financial / insurance / banking, transportation and distribution, utilities / communications, health, hotels / motels .

Experiments in the United Kingdom during the 1970s and 1980s, including outdoor surveillance camps in Bournemouth in 1985, led to several large pilot projects later in that decade. The first use by the local government was in King’s Lynn, Norfolk in 1987. They were considered successful in the government’s CCTV: Looking For You government report issued by the Interior Ministry in 1994, and paved the way for increasing the number of surveillance systems installed. Today, systems cover most urban centers, as well as many stations, car parks and properties.

Use cases of CCTV cameras

The results of the study above are somewhat controversial. Previously, the similar meta-analysis by Walsh and Farrington in 2002 showed similar results: a significant decrease in car parking crime (41%) and an insignificant decrease in crime in public transport and public places. This study was criticized for including variables of confusion (eg notification of on-site surveillance cameras, street lighting improvement) found in the studies under review (including car park studies). These factors can not be distinguished from the effect of the presence or absence of cameras while the offenses were committed. Thus, a combination of factors may not be important for the reduction of crime, not just surveillance cameras.

The 2009 study acknowledged similar problems as well as issues related to the consistency of the percentage of areas covered by the surveillance cameras in the tested locations (eg car parks have more rooms per square meter than public transit). Another question in the effectiveness of police surveillance systems is the lifetime of the systems; in 2013, the Philadelphia City Auditor found that the $ 15 million system was only operational in 32% of the time. There is still much to be done to determine the effectiveness of video surveillance cameras to prevent crime before conclusions can be drawn. The video cameras in the Navy Yard complex captured Aaron Alexis during his shot.
One study found that the introduction of surveillance cameras in Stockholm metro stations reduced crime by about 25%, 15% of discouraged crimes were shifted to the area around stations where the cameras were not used.

There is strong anecdotal evidence that video surveillance helps detect and convict offenders; Indeed, British police forces are routinely looking for video after crime. In addition, video surveillance has played an essential role in tracking suspects or victims’ movements and is widely seen by anti-terrorist officers as a fundamental tool in pursuing terrorist suspects. Large-scale video systems have played an essential part in defending terrorism since the 1970s. Also, cameras have been installed on public transport in the hope of discouraging crime, and in police surveillance vehicles, often with automated plate recognition registration, and a network of APNI-connected rooms is used to manage the London congestion loading area. Even so, there is political hostility to surveillance, and a few commentators mitigate the evidence of the effectiveness of video surveillance, especially in the US. However, most of these assertions are based on poor methodology or imperfect comparison.

A more open question is whether most surveillance cameras are cost-effective. While low-quality internal systems are cheap, professional installation and maintenance of high-definition surveillance cameras are costly. Gill and Spriggs made a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of crime prevention systems that demonstrated little money savings by installing cameras because most of the foreclosed offenses resulted in minimum financial losses. Critics have noted, however, that non-monetary value benefits can not be captured in a traditional cost-effectiveness analysis and were omitted from their study. A 2008 report by UK police chiefs concluded that only 3% of crimes were solved by supervisory systems. In London, a report by the Metropolitan Police showed that in 2008 only one murder per 1000 rooms was resolved. In some cases surveillance cameras have become the target of attacks.

Cities like Manchester from the UK use DVR-based technology to improve access to crime prevention. In October 2009, the “Internet Eyes” website was announced, which would pay the public to see the pictures of the surveillance camps in their homes and report any offenses they were witnessing. The site aimed to add “more eyes” to cameras that could be under-monitored. Fighters for civil liberties have criticized the idea of ​​”a disagreeable and worrying development.” In 2013, Oaxaca hired deaf police officers to read conversations on the lips to discover a criminal conspiracy. In Singapore, as of 2012, thousands of video cameras have helped deter customers, throw garbage in public, and illegal car parks, according to government data.

Industrial processes and Traffic monitoring

Industrial processes that take place in dangerous conditions for humans are today often supervised by surveillance cameras. These are mainly processes in the chemical industry, inside reactors or nuclear fuel manufacturing facilities. Special cameras for some of these purposes include line scan cameras and thermographic cameras that allow operators to measure process temperatures. The use of surveillance cameras in such processes is sometimes required by law.

Many highway towns and networks have extensive traffic monitoring systems, using surveillance cameras to detect traffic congestion and accidents. Many of these cameras are nonetheless owned by private companies and transmit data to the driver’s GPS systems.

The British Highway Agency has a video surveillance network made up of over 3000 Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras that cover the British motorway network and main thoroughfares. These cameras are mainly used to monitor traffic conditions and are not used as radars. With the addition of fixed cameras for Active Traffic Management, the number of cameras on the Highway Agency’s video surveillance network is likely to increase significantly over the next few years.

The congestion charge in London is imposed by cameras located at the boundaries and within the congestion loading area, which automatically read the license plates of the cars. If the driver does not pay the fee, a fine will be imposed. Similar systems are developed as a means of locating reported stolen machines. Other surveillance cameras serve as surveillance cameras.

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