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

2018 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Dec 11, 2017
This report concisely explains the developments for surveillance cameras offered in 2017 and the state of offerings going into 2018, including...
Top 2017 Trends - Cyber and Analytics on Nov 09, 2017
The 2 clear top 2017 trends, according to IPVM integrator statistics are: Cyber Security Video Analytics This is a change from 2016...
Genetec Citigraf Big Data Platform Analyzed on Oct 26, 2017
A big industry debate is whether VMS software is now a commodity. However, Genetec believes it can charge a substantial premium for higher-end...
Deep Learning Tutorial For Video Surveillance on Oct 17, 2017
Deep learning is a growing buzzword within physical security and video surveillance. But what is 'deep learning'? In this tutorial, we explain...
ASIS Show 2017 Final Report on Sep 27, 2017
ASIS is in Dallas for 2017 and this is our final show report (compare to our 2016 ASIS show report). When walking in, one is greeted with Dahua's...
Startup Turing Video Segway-Based Security Robot Profile on Sep 13, 2017
If security robots can not replace guards, perhaps the next best thing is a robot the guard can actually ride.  Turing Video has raised $5...
CNL PSIM Profile on Sep 06, 2017
CNL has been one of the strongest advocates for PSIM, as one of the earliest entrants into the market releasing their command and control software...
BBC Featured Deep Learning Face Recognition Analyzed (Digital Barriers) on Aug 30, 2017
The UK's largest broadcaster, BBC, recently featured Digital Barriers (also based in the UK) on a segment highlighting face recognition technology....
Nvidia For Video Surveillance Examined on Aug 23, 2017
Nvidia is making a big push into the security market, claiming more than 50 partners, investing heavily in industry events, positioning their GPUs...
Healthy Skepticism for Deep Learning Is Prudent on Jul 26, 2017
The hype for deep learning in video surveillance is accelerating. Between the race to the bottom and dearth of a 'next big thing', certainly pent...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Imperial Capital Security Investor Conference Review on Dec 08, 2017
Investment bank Imperial Capital holds an annual Security Investor Conference where 60+ companies present, including this year: IPVM bought a...
Integrator GPS Vehicle Tracking Statistics and Success Examined on Dec 08, 2017
GPS vehicle tracking is a growing but somewhat controversial topic. On the plus side, tracking may increases productivity by providing greater...
Hikvision NA Biggest Sale of 2017 on Dec 07, 2017
Hikvision North America has been relatively disciplined the past 5 months, reducing the number of sales and the breadth of what is on sale. No...
Security Integrator IT Expertise Statistics on Dec 07, 2017
20 years ago, putting physical security systems on IP networks was just emerging. Today, almost every system is networked in some way, IP cameras...
Lighthouse Deep Learning Camera Tested on Dec 07, 2017
A Silicon Valley startup, Lighthouse, with a Stanford PhD CTO, has released a deep learning AI camera with 3D sensors for just $300. The company...
Access Control Course Winter 2018 on Dec 07, 2017
Learn more below about the Winter 2018 IPVM Access Control Course. Register here. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in...
Broken Hikvision App Exposes Hypocrisy on Dec 06, 2017
While Hikvision talks about a commitment to cybersecurity, their broken app and their insecure 'solution' exposes not only their engineering...
'Catastrophic Problem' For Videofied App on Dec 06, 2017
Less than 2 months after closing their DIY division DragonFly, Videofied has been hit with a problem the company calls 'catastrophic'. Now the...
ASIS Dumps 'ASIS' For Show on Dec 06, 2017
After 60+ years, ASIS is dumping its eponymous show name and replacing it with 'GSX'. This is a classic marketing mistake. For a show struggling...
Risks Of Managing End User Passwords (Statistics) on Dec 05, 2017
Integrators know admin passwords for nearly all end-user systems, according to IPVM statistics. But how do they manage them? How do they ensure...

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