Charlie Pierce is a legend in CCTV and surveillance, having taught generations of new professionals. Pierce, the founder of LeapFrog Training and Consulting, has been in the industry for almost 40 years. We interviewed him to understand how the industry has changed, and how things have gotten better as well as worse.
Early Cameras Were High Price/Low Quality
Surveillance cameras and CCTV in the 1970s was vastly different than it is today. Now it is widely seen as the biggest and most powerful market segment but, back then, Pierce notes that it was, "the bastard child of the industry." Then it was primarily used by the government and on a limited basis, Pierce said. “It was expensive, bulky, and untried.” In the 80s, industrial security applications started up. In the mid-90s, retail stores started using cameras.
“If you were looking for a camera that could give you good night vision, it was either Panasonic or RCA ... but by the time you got done installing and putting everything in place, you were looking on average about $5,000-$6,000 per outdoor camera,” he said, noting that cameras were so expensive that it only made sense to put them on pan tilt motors.