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Digital Video Surveillance: A Modern Security Solution

Luz A. Berg Comments

Video surveillance was first used by the military in the 1940s. In the early ’70s, analog cameras or closed-circuit television (CCTV) prevailed in the market, giving criminals second thoughts.

As the name implies, CCTV is a closed system. Video is transmitted to a limited set of monitors using coaxial cables. Today, the technology has evolved to digital to the point that it has truly revolutionized video surveillance. Digital video is dominating modern-day security for homes, businesses and public entities. In this article, we’ll take a look at why digital video has become so widespread, its advantages and costs.

What Is Digital Video Surveillance?

The continuously increasing computing powers of personal computers (PCs), the greater availability of high-speed Internet access, networks, and the advent of wireless technology have propelled the emergence and popularity of digital video surveillance. CCTV or analog systems transmit video to specific local monitors for viewing and are confined to that physical location. Digital video systems, however, can be transmitted to multiple viewing and/or storage sites by utilizing network infrastructures and IP (Internet Protocol) technology to transmit video over a network or the Internet. Before the digital world, CCTV cameras were hooked up to a VCR for recording video. Today, the same CCTV cameras can be digitized using a digital video recorder (DVR), network video recorder (NVR) or network DVR.

What’ so great about digital? Going digital has added more functionality and flexibility to video surveillance. Video can now be transmitted wirelessly. Camera systems are no longer tethered to cables, thus, larger areas and locations—once impossible to cover due to lack of connectivity—can now be covered by cameras without degradation of video quality. Video can now be stored digitally without the need for a massive amount of ancient VCR tapes. These systems also allow remote access to cameras using a PC connected to the network or the Internet, or even your personal cell phone.

A new breed of digital camera, the IP or network camera has emerged in the last few years. IP cameras operate over a computer network. No special recording box is required—any PC can be used as a recording mechanism. These cameras produce high-quality images. Some have advanced features that include tools such as video analytics, compression technologies, remote video monitoring and enhanced search capabilities. With these technologies, finding specific events or points in time are faster, easier and more economical.

Why Change to Digital Video Surveillance?

The most common security measures employed by self-storage companies are access control, alarm systems, perimeter barriers, video surveillance and traditional guard services. Compared to alarm systems, video surveillance is simply more effective. Police have been understandably reluctant, slow at best, to respond to reported alarms due to their high frequency.

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