Security Camera

When taking a look around a public place, one may observe an increase in the use of surveillance cameras. This is partially due to technological advances that have introduced new benefits for businesses and law enforcement agencies that implement video surveillance. Current technology allows an operator to view live surveillance footage from a remote location by transmitting the video over the Internet or through other cables. From the operator’s room, digital analysis of the video lets the operator detect intruders, alert authorities of suspicious or violent activity, and possibly identify criminals. This article discusses the principles involved in bringing these newer capabilities to light, from obtaining video footage to discovering whether there is a potential intruder.

Security Camera
Home Security

Who's watching?
Virtually every large U.S. company employs video surveillance—mounting cameras on buildings (to monitor people's movements from as far away as one city block), on elevator ceilings, and in some cases even focusing them on workers' offices. There are at least 2,400 outdoor surveillance cameras in Manhattan alone, many of them installed by corporations, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union. Municipal governments have also embraced the technology: More than a dozen cities, including Memphis, Tennessee, and Hollywood, California, have placed video cameras on street corners, hoping to catch criminal activities such as drug deals or robberies.

Security Camera

Most companies say they keep videotapes for 30 days, and the Washington, D.C., police department—which hopes to expand its surveillance capabilities from 12 cameras to 1,000—has tried to placate privacy advocates by saying it might destroy footage after 72 hours. But no laws limit how the cameras must be used or the tapes archived. Researchers at the University of Hull in England have found that when a human operator is controlling surveillance cameras—whether at a police station or behind a security desk—they are often used improperly: to spy on women, monitor political protesters, or for racial profiling. And the tapes can get into the wrong hands. A British video called "Caught in the Act," available on the Internet, consists of a compilation of sex acts and illegal activities captured by surveillance cameras; the "filmmaker" created it from tapes he'd purchased from private companies and police departments.

Some surveillance technology goes well beyond mere videotape. Several airports across the country, including Logan Airport in Boston and Oakland International Airport in California, are testing software that scans people's faces as they pass through checkpoints and compares those digital photos to a database of mug shots that includes suspected criminals and people on watch lists supplied by the CIA, FBI, and other agencies. Visionics' FaceIt system can scan as many as 15 faces a second. For now, though, the technology is far from foolproof: Sunglasses, smiles, and hats can confuse it.

A massive amount of hard evidence now exists that nursing home residents are too often abused and neglected at the hands of bad providers. Nationwide, more than 1 of every 4 nursing homes are cited for causing actual harm to residents or for placing them at risk for death. In Illinois 1 of every 3 nursing homes are cited for actual harm and risk for death

In Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington 1 of every 2 homes are cited for causing actual harm or placing residents at risk for death. (HCFA- January 2001) 40% of these homes are repeat offenders. 18.5% of nursing homes nationwide are cited for abusing residents.

As seen on Good Morning America on 2-15-01, a number of states are proposing legislation that will make the use of surveillance cameras, by residents and their guardians, a routinely used tool to help maintain their health, dignity and safety.


Impressive CCTV growth but analog technology lags behind
Since the introduction of analog recording systems in the early 1970s, reliance on CCTV to deter crime and aid in criminal investigation has increased with each passing year. In 2000, factory revenues for the CCTV/Video Surveillance market topped $2 billion globally, with $1 billion of that coming from the U.S. market1. While still a relatively small subset of the estimated $100 billion U.S. security market, J.P. Freeman and Co., Inc. project the CCTV and video surveillance segment will continue to achieve impressive growth and will increase nearly 80% by 2005.

Security Camera

Traditionally, CCTV has been recorded to VCRs (video cassette recorders). These systems are highly labor intensive because of the need to change tapes and perform system maintenance; and tape wear and tear is an ever-present problem. With the introduction of digital video recorders (DVRs), the storage media were no longer dependent on operator intervention or tape quality. Images are stored as separate units on disks. As the migration to digital has gained momentum, the many advantages of digital recording and storage have become apparent: ease of use, advanced search capabilities, simultaneous record and playback, no image degradation, improved compression and storage, integration potential, remote management and so on. For new and/or larger CCTV installations, digital recording is fast becoming the technology of choice. As popular and exciting as digital technology may be, J.P. Freeman and Co., Inc.2 finds that currently only a small proportion of CCTV installations utilize digital video recording. While this figure is expected to grow significantly by 2005, that still leaves the vast majority of CCTV users still relying on a limiting and inefficient technology. Who are these users, and what options do they have between older analog technology and high-tech, but more expensive digital recording?

Security Camera System

The digital divide for smaller enterprises Aside from the major corporations, transportation hubs, casinos, correctional facilities, hospitals and schools who have made the move to digital, there are literally hundreds of thousands of different enterprises around the world who want to use their CCTV systems for improved security, asset protection and more:

• Small retail shops
• Gas stations
1 JP Freeman “2001 report on - The closed Circuit TV & Video Surveillance Market” 2 JP Freeman “2001 report on - The closed Circuit TV & Video Surveillance Market”
• Franchise and retail chain individual outlets
• Small workshops
• Warehouses
• Public utilities
• Dispatch and freight centers
• Cargo and luggage transportation depots

Axis offers organizations more flexible options for recording, storing and managing their security and surveillance images than either analog methods or any other DVR system. Each AXIS 2460 Network DVR provides the foundation for an autonomous security system, perfectly suited for the majority of businesses who need an easy to operate, maintenance free surveillance system. With the AXIS 2460, stored images are available and manageable from remote sites, via the LAN, WAN or the Internet simply using a standard web browser. The AXIS Network DVR makes video surveillance a more cost-effective and technologically sound investment for companies looking to expand or replace their current analog storage systems. When compared with outdated analog and cost-prohibitive digital systems, the Axis Network DVR solution offers small to mid-size enterprises the following highly targeted benefits:

• Efficient storage. Significantly longer storage time than VCR tape and other DVRs due to patent-pending APViS, a revolutionary new recording technology
• Reduce costs. Substantially reduced labor costs—no need to change, label, and catalog tapes
• Plug and play. Works directly from existing network infrastructure and records high-quality video to built-in hard disks—no costly installation or extensive cabling needed
• High quality images. Guaranteed consistent image quality over time and no tape breakage or deterioration
• No maintenance. System functionality and simplicity with long-term maintenance-free operation
• Safe. Reliable, secure storage through distribution of images on several hard disks
• Integration. Integration with many standard configurations including existing analog cameras
• Migration path. A gradual, affordable path toward an all-digital system
• Stable. Completely embedded, non PC-based system, so no reliance on potentially unstable software
• Flexible. Firewall functionality and user level access control

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