Edge-based surveillance technology and cloud-based analytics are expected to be major drivers of new product development in 2022 and years to come.
In this article, we will explain these new features by reflecting on the development of CCTV technology over time.
In the beginning of CCTV, there were analogue security cameras. As their name suggests, analogue cameras transmitted data via analog signals (i.e. over cable). These systems were unable to offer sophisticated analytics, instead relying on close professional supervision, which left a lot of room open for human error.
Next came IP cameras, transforming the way security systems operated by supporting video transmission over network cable rather than coaxial. As a solution to the problem posed by analogue technology, IP cameras were developed so that footage could be analysed automatically through the use of algorithms, largely removing the need for professional monitoring.
From IP cameras then came Video Management Software (VMS). A centralised management server which controls multiple cameras from a centralised location and offers analytic tools such as motion detection, pathway analysis and the ability to create virtual tripwires.
Originally, these analytics were all being carried out at the Network Video Recorder portion of the VMS. However, developers soon realised that a major limitation of the way in which these systems were set up was the large and consequently expensive amount of bandwidth required for all video footage to be sent to the recorder before it could be processed and analysed.
In recent years, more and more security systems are processing analytics at the level of the camera (known as the ‘edge’ of the network). The advantage of this approach is that footage can be analysed locally, without having to be sent across the network – saving substantial costs when it comes to bandwidth and storage.
For example, a camera with motion detection will only send through footage (and an alert) when motion is detected. This approach has made the use of CCTV analytics more accessible, particularly in domestic scenarios, and has reduced operating costs for business using CCTV by largely removing the need for an operator to monitor video feeds.
Another advantage of edge-based systems is that they tend to be less costly than server-based solutions, as there is no need to purchase proprietary software licenses to use analytics. That said, traditional VMS systems are still beneficial in the sense that each cameras can be assigned to apply different analytics.
More recently, a third way to implement video analytics has been developed – via the cloud. This approach boasts advantages of server based-systems such as centralised top-down control, but without the cost and maintenance requirements of servers.
When it comes to small businesses, analytics via the cloud are typically delivered as Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS), removing the need for upfront costs, while remotely delivering services such as video recording, storage, remote viewing, management alerts and cyber security.