Long before computers and the digital era, video played an important role in security and surveillance. There were CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) cameras connected by coaxial cables to a desk or room full of television monitors, and possibly also to one or more VCRs, whose tapes had to be changed — or (to the frequent dismay of the cops on television shows) reused several times a day.
Over the past decade, however, digital video, a.k.a. IP (as in Internet Protocol) video, has been replacing traditional analog CCTV for security and surveillance tasks — and also creating new security/surveillance markets and applications, thanks to constantly improving product price/performance, new features. It is seeing greater understanding and acceptance by integrators, installers and facility security managers.
A growing number of organizations, from businesses, hospitals and banks through schools, retail establishments, gas stations, cities — and any security-conscious organization with parking lots or parking garages — is using video as part of its security and surveillance solution.
For example, Cisco reports its IP video products are used by places like Amtrak’s maintenance yards in California, Elon University and the Joliet, Illinois police department. Surveillance reseller Security Management Systems, Inc. has provided video security solutions for corporations and healthcare organizations including Time-Warner, Pfizer, Memorial Sloane-Kettering and the Empire State Building.
In addition to classic security monitoring, video surveillance can be used to help make weather-based decisions, like “Call the snow-plowing company? Or decide to close the school, office, etc.?”
Other areas where digital video is replacing analog CCTV include where organizations need more detail, like seeing faces or license plates, matching faces with clothing — perfect for parking lots, banks, hospitals, stores and elsewhere.