The CCTV world continues to evolve at an amazingly fast pace. Regardless of whether you have been in the industry for years or you are a recent entrant, it has to be a challenge.
The change from taped recordings to digital storage feels like something that happened a lifetime ago. This change then paved the way for the IP world to move into CCTV.
We have seen the IP CCTV system maturing and producing results that have great benefits, but the analogue solutions have not died. In fact, they appear to be trying to challenge the IP revolution.
Just when we thought that the PC-based NVR would be the only way forward, we see that embedded recorders continue to play their part. In fact, we are seeing hybrid (incorporating both analogue and digital) embedded recorders that are very good.
Thermal imaging cameras then made their appearance, the idea being to solve some of the problems experienced with optical cameras in very low light conditions.
The thermal camera suddenly looked like taking over the challenge of night CCTV solutions, but optical camera manufacturers took up the challenge and extra low light cameras hit the market. These cameras are producing results that seem impossible to believe in terms of picture quality under extremely low lighting conditions.
The talk is now that new cameras are on the horizon which will combine thermal and optical camera technologies, to provide the optimum solution. The disadvantage is that these amazing technological advances are taking place at a time when we have a dire shortage of skills to implement the solution. And to make it all a bit more difficult, the solution has to be used by people/operators/security guards who do not usually have this sort of technology as their core education.
What tools do they need to understand the solutions we are putting in from of them? And from the technology design point of view, does the head-end software have the flexibility to provide the requirements and user interface that the operational task requires. In fact, what is the task?
This all leads us to ask: Can we be sure that we are offering our client the best possible solution, to provide the best outcome, and that we have the infrastructure to support new technology for, say, the next ten years?
We should also reconsider the name we continue to use. We still call it CCTV ('Closed Circuit' TV). It is no longer a closed system. We connect the system to networks and Internet and get 'open' access. This introduces a new risk, and should be called OCTV.
When we consider all these facts, and many others as OCTV practitioners, we have a big responsibility and much to consider in providing quality and relevant solutions for our clients. Are we up for the challenge?
How do we develop an approach to achieving this quality solution? Clearly this article will not solve this dilemma. What will go a long way to achieving the best result, is to focus on a few important considerations:
a. The outcome must be operationally practical and add value to the client’s security operation. If the system is difficult to operate and does not provide the results required, it is a failed system.
b. The system must function efficiently under all situations. The situation could be an environmental issue, power failure, network failure or operator failure.
c. The system must have adequate product support and if this is no longer available, equipment can be replaced with an alternative.
d. Let somebody else try the ground breaking technology first. Each camera must be placed for a very valid reason.
e. Don’t put the new 'unbelievable' technology into your client’s project. Solutions must be tried and tested.
f. If you can’t write down the job description of each camera and describe how the system must be operated to achieve the outcome, don’t build it.
Change is ongoing, so defining your design and selection process and then measuring the outcome on a regular basis, is important. We all need to make this part of our way of operating. Enjoy being part of the evolution, and helping the industry to mature. Your client will be satisfied and you will have a viable business.
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