Invented back in WWII as a means for the German army to test and monitor weapons, CCTV has moved on a long way since then. In the UK, we now have more surveillance cameras than any other country. Used for personal, public and private sector security, cameras are becoming more commonplace on many of our streets and in residential areas.
Approximately £2.25 billion is spent on video surveillance each year, which brings with it certain challenges. Rules on privacy and data protection have changed dramatically in recent years which has a direct impact on how footage is used. Plus, as technology advances, CCTV is capable of far more than providing footage after a crime has occurred. So what exactly does the future hold for CCTV?
1. A more sophisticated form of criminal detection
As technology progresses, so do the capabilities of CCTV. Once grainy and pixelated, images and videos from surveillance cameras now offer a much clearer picture, making criminal detection easier.
Facial recognition was near on impossible when pixelated images were all that cameras could produce. However, as video resolution improves, HD cameras are enabling police to identify suspects far easier.
4K or 8-megapixel imaging technology is 4 times the resolution of standard video. It’s relatively new to the CCTV industry as, given the high-quality format, it takes up a comparatively large amount of hard drive storage space. However, new technology is being developed, making it easier to compress and store the footage.
With this recording technology becoming more accessible, criminal detection will be made far more sophisticated. This is already apparent with some councils planning to instal HD cameras where drivers will be fined £200 if seen ‘touching’ their phone whilst driving.
This just goes to show how sophisticated advancements will enable criminal detection on a much higher level.
2. A preventative measure
Historically, CCTV cameras could only provide evidence after a crime had been committed. With this still came hefty court fees, excess costs and damages for homeowners and businesses. However, as the technology behind surveillance has advanced, cameras are now able to prevent crime before it happens.
At Re:sure, we have developed surveillance cameras which can detect suspicious activity and alert a 24/7 control centre before any damage is done. Once alerted, highly trained security staff in our control centre intervene live and use audio commands to deter the criminals. When necessary, our staff also alert the emergency services and property owners who can be on the scene within minutes.
This form of real-time CCTV is a preventative measure which provides a virtual security presence 24/7. In the future, this type of surveillance is only set to grow as businesses and homeowners take a more proactive and less reactive stance to their security.
3. More compliance for businesses and homeowners
New data protection laws in the last few years have set out certain stipulations for CCTV. Human rights can be breached when people are filmed without prior warning. Businesses must now have a valid reason for installing CCTV and this must be communicated to all staff members.
Footage must also be stored correctly for a maximum of 30 days unless there is a valid reason why. Usually, in the case that a business wishes to store footage for longer than 30 days, an external risk assessment will be conducted to validate the reasons for doing so.
It’s now essential for businesses to comply with all CCTV laws when it comes to data protection as failure to do so could invalidate the footage.
Thanks to technological advances and recent innovation, CCTV has advanced far beyond what it once was. HD recording paired with real-time intervention means that a once reactive security measure is becoming more and more proactive.
That said, as more businesses adopt higher quality surveillance infrastructure, it’s imperative to be clear on new data protection laws. Otherwise, these advanced crime prevention measures could be easily invalidated.