Public View Monitors

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 14, 2012

Showing that video surveillance is in use can be a powerful crime deterrent as criminals seek out environments where their illegal activity cannot be observed. A common method of doing this is with Public View Monitors. These monitors show the public what security cameras see. In this note, we examine these devices, where they are commonly deployed, and how effective their use is considered.

Monitor types

Two major types of public view monitors are commonly deployed:

  • Monitors displays a feed from a DVR/NVR/VMS. These displays are commonly commercial off-the-shelf LCD displays that are hung from ceiling or wall mounts and connected to head end servers via component connections or HDMI adapters.
  • Monitors that include an integrated camera, displaying the local field of view immediately in front of the monitor. These type of monitors often include an output that can be connected to a DVR or NVR for recording. The views on these displays are generally fixed to display only the integrated camera. 

Setup

Setting up a monitor with an integrated camera is easy. The video displayed is a local output from the connected camera. These units can then be directly connected to a DVR or via encoder to an VMS. Video from these units are then recorded just like any other analog camera.

The other major type is connecting the 'head end' DVR/NVR via a local video output jack to the public view monitor. The video connection formats are not always standard among displays and head end units. For example, if an (analog) 12 or 15 pin VGA output is available on the head end, then attention must be paid to ensure the display has the appropriate inputs. Increasingly, DVI or HDMI (digital) inputs are supported by flat panel displays, and external adapters may be required to make proper connections. Care should be taken to plan cabling runs with exotic AV formats. VGA or HDMI terminated cables can be purchased in 50 foot (and longer) lengths, but these type of cables are not field terminated. Pulling these factory terminated cables could be difficult in the field. Other options for running these cables include UTP converters or specialty connector packaged cabling. We covered this subject in our update titled "Extending Surveillance Monitor Signal / Cable Runs".

If the recorder does not support outputs to local displays or if the physical distance is too great to connect monitors via AV cabling, then a dedicated workstation may be required. This situation is especially common when leveraging IP solutions hosted on server hardware not designed to support local video outputs. In this case, connecting a low-end workstation to the network and running the monitor from that computer may be necessary. This is a costly approach were analog components and systems have a market price advantage.

How are they used?

'General' public view monitors are hung in a central area like a lobby or front desk to show outward evidence to all visitors that video surveillance is in use facility wide. These monitors may have some operational benefit to show 'trouble spots' at a glance, in a fashion similar to a formal video wall. These monitors are configured to 'carousel' through preassigned views or 'pop up' views where some type of trigger has occurred, like a motion detection event or door contact break.

'Hotspot' monitors show one specific view. This primarily is used as a method to deter shoplifting or pilferage in the local area. One specific camera view is displayed to all people within the area. This type of monitor is favored in retail to make it plainly obvious the area, or customers, are being watched. Beyond deployment in main entry areas, like the image above depicts, retail operators will sometimes deploy these monitors in 'high value' areas. These areas might be pharmacy departments, electronic displays, liquor shelves, or any other floor space where expensive, easy to shoplift items are located. The justification for this deployment is that an activity like shoplifting stands a much greater chance of being seen via Public View Monitors and is thereby discouraged from taking place.

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

Are they effective?

Public View Monitors prove to be a common equipment deterrent to crime. The use of Public View Monitors qualify as a CPTED strategy. Observing CPTED places great value on the use of landscaping, lighting, signage, monitoring, fencing, and architecture to influence offender decisions. In our informal LinkedIn poll, respondents overwhelmingly voted Public View Monitors as 'useful'. The common adoption of this tool in retail also indicates apparent effectiveness. Many of the world's largest retailers have adopted Public View Monitors as part of their surveillance deployments.

Restricted Use

In some areas, regulation may govern the use of Public View Monitors. In the UK, use of public view monitoring is restricted for use in that "Viewing of live images on monitors should usually be restricted to the operator unless the monitor displays a scene which is also in plain sight from the monitor location." 

In the US, the 'Privacy Rule' clause in the HIPPA Act may restrict position of public view monitors depending on what information can be seen by surveillance cameras. The commonly cited 'reasonable expectation of privacy' may also prohibit deployment of these monitors near changing rooms or restrooms.

4 reports cite this report:

Installing Cameras in Plenums Tutorial on May 15, 2018
There is often confusion about plenum ceilings, with misinformation about what is required when running cables through them and mounting cameras...
QSR Video Surveillance Best Practices on Jun 21, 2017
Fast food restaurants or QSRs (quick service restaurants), are frequent victims of crime and fraud. Because they are open late, deal with cash, and...
Gas Station Surveillance Best Practices on Jun 07, 2017
Gas stations are a frequent crime target. They tend to be open late at night, do a large volume of their business in cash, and have few employees,...
Testing $50 Mini NVR on Jan 14, 2015
As an NVR, this performed very really badly. But, as a member suggested to us, could a $50 mini NVR be used as an IP / HD spot monitor? Adding...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 22, 2018
  This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals. Register now. Lots of network training exists...
Installation Hardware for Video Surveillance - Indoor Fasteners on Jun 22, 2018
As part of our Installation for Video Surveillance series, in this note, we cover drywall anchors. A key part of installing security hardware is...
Introducing Effective PPF (ePPF) - Improving Video Surveillance Designs on Jun 11, 2018
Pixel density (PPF / PPM) is the best metric the industry has to define and project video quality. It allows simple communication of estimated...
Powerline Networking For Video Surveillance Advocated By Comtrend on Jun 08, 2018
Powerline networking, using existing electrical wiring, has been around for many years. Indeed, over the years, some video surveillance providers...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jun 07, 2018
H.265 support has improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and more manufacturers...
Keypads For Access Control Tutorial on May 31, 2018
Keypad readers present huge risks to even the best access systems. If deployed improperly, keypads let people through locked doors almost as if...
Installing Box Cameras Indoors Tutorial on May 22, 2018
This tutorial starts our physical installation for video surveillance series, starting with Box Cameras, one of the oldest and most basic types....
Installing Cameras in Plenums Tutorial on May 15, 2018
There is often confusion about plenum ceilings, with misinformation about what is required when running cables through them and mounting cameras...
Access Visitor Management Systems Guide on May 11, 2018
"Who are you, and why are you here?" Facilities that implement Visitor Management Systems hope they never need to ask that question to anyone,...
March Networks Targets Cannabis Market on May 10, 2018
Will the next March Networks customer appreciation event be held a steakhouse or at a Taco Bell at 2 am? Can March sell the types of systems to the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 22, 2018
  This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals. Register now. Lots of network training exists...
Installation Hardware for Video Surveillance - Indoor Fasteners on Jun 22, 2018
As part of our Installation for Video Surveillance series, in this note, we cover drywall anchors. A key part of installing security hardware is...
Hikvision ColorVu Integrated Visible Light Cameras Examined on Jun 22, 2018
When it comes to low light, infrared light has become the defacto standard in surveillance. But IR is limited to monochrome images, making colors...
'Secure Channel' OSDP Access Control Examined on Jun 21, 2018
Despite claiming to be better than Wiegand, OSDP's initial releases did not address the lack of encryption between reader and controller, leaving...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
GDPR / ICO Complaint Filed Against IFSEC Show Facial Recognition on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM has filed a complaint against IFSEC’s parent company UBM based on our concern that the conference violates core GDPR principles on...
IFSEC 2018 Final Show Report on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM attended the IFSEC show for the first time this year. The Chinese took over the show, centered on Hikvision, flanked by Dahua, Huawei and a...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Cybersecurity Startup VDOO Disclosing 10 Manufacturer Vulnerabilities Starting With Axis And Foscam on Jun 20, 2018
Cybersecurity startup VDOO has uncovered significant vulnerabilities in Axis cameras along with many others not yet disclosed. In this report, we...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...

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