From the editor's desk: The more things stay the same

CCTV Handbook 2020 News

It is rather redundant to say that the surveillance industry is going through significant changes and that there are some incredible advances in technology happening. You can read about a small number of them in the CCTV Handbook 2020.

However, despite the potential of new technologies, such as edge processing to name just one, the role of surveillance is pretty much the same as it has always been. The only major difference is the human factor. Today, much of the boring work is being handled by technology that raises an alert when something actually happens. And the destination of these alerts is no longer only a control room as mobile alerts are common.

Andrew Seldon.

In the past, these alerts kept users and control rooms running at a hectic pace because many of them were false alarms – animals crossing a line or foliage blowing in the wind etc. The advances in artificial intelligence (AI) (and some would say the natural evolution of analytics software) has led to more reliable alerts, which allow control rooms to do more than watching a screen. But are today’s operators ready to handle more complex jobs that require more insight and decision-making on their part?

We asked that question to some people in the control room space and it seems that the control rooms of the future will be divided into two sections. One will include well-trained people that are able to take the latest technical advances and enhance them, the other will include low-level employees who are required to push a button and call someone when something happens. It would be nice to think that the later have a limited lifespan, but the reality is that security is still a grudge purchase and there are those wanting to pay the least amount possible simply to be able to say they have done the necessary to avoid liability – the security of people and assets does not seem to be a top priority.

And when it comes to doing more, the edge is the focus of much development these days with S&ST; offering manufacturers a common operating system for cameras, allowing analytics to be run on different manufacturers’ devices. There is potential for this to change the game, but it is still early days and we will have to see how broad the uptake is. There is a link in the associated article that will allow you to see the various edge-based applications currently available on this OS.

The utility of edge processing leads to the question of the future of video management systems (VMS), which we also cover in the handbook.

We hope the handbook is an enjoyable read and offers valuable surveillance insights. If you have any comments or criticisms, please feel free to send them to


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