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

Hikvision Partners With Intel Movidius For Artificial intelligence Cameras on Oct 25, 2016
The world's largest camera manufacturer is partnering with the worlds largest semiconductor company to create a series of intelligent...
Camio Natural Language Processing Tested on Sep 27, 2016
The ex-Googler led team from Camio has advanced its video monitoring offering to include natural language processing. Camio ingests video,...
Nest Cam Outdoor Tested - Analytics Strong, Installation Weak on Sep 23, 2016
After years of claiming an outdoor model was "coming", addressing their biggest user demand, Nest has finally released their Outdoor Camera, an...
History of Video Surveillance on Sep 22, 2016
This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade.  The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand...
Directory Of 67 Video Analytics Suppliers on Aug 22, 2016
This directory provides a list of video analytics providers to help you see and research what options are available. [premium_content] Video...
Logipix 20MP, 140MP and 200MP Cameras Examined on Jul 20, 2016
Looking for an Avigilon alternative? Logipix, based in Hungary, has created their own super high resolution end-to-end solution, featuring 20MP -...
Hikvision Nvidia Supercomputing Partnership on Jul 18, 2016
Hikvision is gearing up its supercomputing efforts. Partnering with Nvidia, one of the US' largest tech companies, doing $5 billion revenue...
US Government Agency Highlights Analytics Failure on Jul 15, 2016
Count the US government among those not satisfied with video analytics. A US government agency held a workshop on video analytics for public...
Qognify Suspect Search Examined on Jul 01, 2016
All you have is a description of a suspect? White guy, black hair, mustache, heavy, green jacket? No problem, says Qognify, formerly NICE...
The Real Samsung Is Back, Launching Extreme Video Analytics on Jun 30, 2016
No, this is not about Hanwha / Techwin. This is about the real / original Samsung group. After selling Techwin, which included their video...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Dahua Says They Are Botnet Attack 'Victims' on Oct 26, 2016
'Victim' or 'accomplice'? Dahua has issued a new press release, referring to their products as 'victims' of the massive botnet attacks hitting the...
Milestone Launches $50,000 Developer Contest on Oct 26, 2016
Milestone wants independent developers to enhance XProtect. In a hackathon-style contest Milestone is soliciting developers to submit ideas for a...
Smart H.265 Samsung Test on Oct 26, 2016
In our first test of H.265 cameras (including Samsung and Vivotek), H.265 benefits were essentially nil, both versus leading H.264 cameras and,...
The Xiongmai Botnet 'Recall' Will Not Work on Oct 25, 2016
The Xiongmai 'recall' has been the topic of global news, following the unprecedented bot net attacks that use their equipment, among...
Hikvision Partners With Intel Movidius For Artificial intelligence Cameras on Oct 25, 2016
The world's largest camera manufacturer is partnering with the worlds largest semiconductor company to create a series of intelligent...
Intel Movidius Targets Video Surveillance Market on Oct 25, 2016
The most commonly used chips in IP cameras come from Ambarella, Hisilicon or TI. Now, Movidius, who Intel announced acquiring in September, is...
Favorite Access Control 2016 on Oct 25, 2016
Integrators told us "What is your favorite access control management software/system? Why?", and the responses are interesting indeed. While no...
Video Surveillance Manufacturers Risk Lawsuits For Botnet Attacks on Oct 24, 2016
The unprecedented scale of internet outages on October 21st from botnet attacks risk triggering lawsuits against video surveillance manufacturers,...
Mobile VMS Top Integrator Problems on Oct 24, 2016
In an IPVM survey, integrators report 4 problems most consistently with using mobile VMS applications: Network setup / cybersecurity...
Chinese Company Xiongmai Threatens Legal Action Against Western Accusers on Oct 24, 2016
The Chinese video surveillance manufacturer, Xiongmai, whose equipment numerous sources blame for driving massive Internet attacks over the past...

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