Are Public CCTV Cameras an Utter Fiasco?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jul 21, 2009

The UK's love-hate relationship with CCTV cameras continues. This time, the head of the UK's police video imaging division called their use an "utter fiasco." Setting aside the prudence of creating an international bruhaha, it's quite damming given the UK's leadership in the use of CCTV technology.

For background information on this debate, see the BBC's report on why CCTV is failing to cut crime, and its report on why CCTV is not being used properly. For general background information, see our special report, "Is Public CCTV Effective?"

What's the Problem?

The UK chief stated, "we've got enough cameras, let's stop now, we don't want any more cameras.'

The problems stated:

  • Tedius job of shifting through recordings
  • Lack of a system to retrieve, process and distribute CCTV crime scene images
  • Too much spent on equipment, too little spent on people and processes

What's the Solution?

The BBC article mentions that, in an effort to improve effectiveness, that the "unit is also looking at ways of using software which can follow distinctive brand logos on the clothing of unidentified suspects." Probably not a good idea to try scientific experiments to solve an utter fiasco.

Spend More on People?

While I am sure that operator training has value, the technological problems are likely to be too severe to overcome through mere training. Systems that cannot interoperate and systems that require extensive manual video review only benefit so much from training.

Implement PSIM and Video Analytics?

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

There are two clear emerging product categories within video surveillance that address these issues. PSIM would provide a sytem to retrieve, process, distribute, etc. Video analytics would reduce the amount of time sifting through video.

Why the Solution is Hard?

Even if you had the money and the will to implement these solutions, the logistics are daunting.

Retrofitting video analytics on existing cameras can be expensive, complex and hold long term risks. Do you change out the current analog cameras for smart IP cameras? Do you add in intelligent encoders at the camera? Do you add analytic servers at the headend? How do you tightly integrate it with video management systems? Plus, forensic video analytics are not mature (e.g., searching for objects, colors, etc.) and incompatible with one another - creating risks of poor performance, limited use and demands for upgrades in the next few years.

How do you deploy a PSIM solution for the government? Do you choose one PSIM provider and then integrate everything to it? Since there are no standards and hundreds of video management manufacturers, how do you integrate them all together? What happens when some systems do not fully function because of limitations of the recorder?

Most of this is not technologically revolutionary (though tracking brands on clothing would be). In the absence of widespread system interoperability standards, it's just logistically difficult to pull all of this together without spending a billion pounds and not facing risk of failure. The cost would likely be this high even if you only integrated a fraction of the UK's estimated 3-4 Million cameras (assuming a conservative $1,000 USD cost per camera to add in analytics and PSIM).

What do you think? I am too pessimistic? Are there better options?

Related Reports

Hitachi Taking On Security Industry on Feb 09, 2017
Hitachi, bigger than Sony and Panasonic overall, with $89 billion USD 2016 total revenue, is expanding into the security industry. They are...
Milestone App - PSIM Lite (Alesys) on Feb 09, 2017
Milestone has many features in their VMS, but it is not a PSIM. Italian PSIM developer Alesys thinks sensor integrations and alarm management can...
$18.7M PSIM Acquisition Examined (IDV / Everbridge) on Feb 06, 2017
This may be the biggest deal for a PSIM developer ever. In a segment that has disappointed for more than a decade, a recent IPOed company has...
Veracity Acquires PSIM Manufacturer on Feb 03, 2017
Most well-known for their Ethernet extenders, with their own video surveillance storage offering, Veracity has now acquired a PSIM. UK-based...
Axis CTO: Deep Learning 'Exciting Space' But Urges Caution on Dec 27, 2016
Deep learning interest is rising in video surveillance. 2016 saw: Hikvision's partnership with Nvidia Movidius launch a neural networks chip...
For Sale: PSIM Provider Seeking Offers on Dec 19, 2016
2016 saw a lot of acquisitions, and more are expected in 2017, now PSIM vendor Fortem is hoping they can get in on this action, and are marketing...
2017 Video Surveillance Predictions on Dec 15, 2016
2017 should be an active, if not rocky, year for the security industry, according to predictions from IPVM integrators. We surveyed integrators,...
Axis Partner Elder Care Video Analytics (Smartervision) on Dec 07, 2016
Can video analytics be used to improve the care of the elderly? Axis and a video analytics startup, Smartervision, are working together to do so....
Top Surprises in the Video Surveillance Industry 2016 on Nov 29, 2016
  The top 3 surprises of 2016 for integrators surveyed by IPVM were: The race to bottom, repeating 2015's Top Surprise Result New -...
Hikvision's ImageNet Win Analyzed on Nov 28, 2016
Hikvision is pushing hard to move up market and win at video analytics. One notable sign is Hikvision touting their #1 ranking for an ImageNet...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Artificial Intelligence Robot Assistant (ACTi) on Feb 23, 2017
Has artificial intelligence come to the video surveillance industry? ACTi has released 'SARA' which it bills as an 'AI assistant that brings...
Cutting Costs 70% Using Milestone With HD Analog on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog and enterprise VMSes are often thought of as being on opposite sides of the spectrum, with HD analog best for small jobs due to its low...
Dahua 4K HD Analog Cameras Announced on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog has been gaining popularity (even if Axis hopes otherwise). Last year, HD analog's max resolution doubled from 1080p to 4MP (see our 4MP...
Uniview (UNV) IP Cameras Tested on Feb 22, 2017
"We're #3," in China says Uniview (UNV). While the company significantly trails Hikvision and Dahua in total sales, one notable difference is that...
Glass Doors and Access Control Tutorial on Feb 22, 2017
The biggest challenge for many access control systems are glass doors. Here's what happens when a maglock is improperly installed to an existing...
Exacq Favorability Results on Feb 22, 2017
For years, Exacq has been one of the most frequently favored VMSes in IPVM integrator statistics (e.g., see Favorite VMS Manufacturers...
The Hot RMR Company - Electric Guard Dog on Feb 22, 2017
The financiers at the Barnes Buchanan conference praised a company named 'Electric Guard Dog'. While the name sounds fairly low tech, the money and...
Hikvision Leads Multi-Manufacturer Sales Promo on Feb 21, 2017
Earlier this month, Hikvision launched new 'super value' kits, with 40% discounts, and now Hikvision is offering another promo, but this time they...
Washington DC MPD's Surveillance Equipment on Feb 21, 2017
The Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department's surveillance system was hacked in January 2017. Two immediate questions were: Whose...
Hikvision Ezviz Mini 360 Plus - $80 Autotracking Camera Tested on Feb 21, 2017
Autotracking, integrated IR, local storage, full HD, cloud access: $80. That is the claim of Hikvision EZVIZ's new Mini 360 Plus. But for this...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact