CCTV has had a huge effect on the way in which we treat security systems, protect our valuables and monitor illegal activity. It is certainly something we take for granted considering its recent emergence and high-tech characteristics.
You are likely to find CCTV everywhere in the public domain as well as in domestic and commercial properties. There’s no doubt CCTV has become something we simply accept for what it is, so how exactly has it turned into one of the most important security features of our generation?
The vast majority of businesses nowadays will take full advantage of CCTV to prevent intruders from getting away with stolen property. In addition, consumers have invested millions in having CCTV installed for their premises to encourage tighter security that reduces the risk of theft. Ultimately, it helps prevent anxiety surrounding the potential for robbery and theft and gives both domestic and commercial property owners peace of mind.
Over the years, CCTV cameras have taken many different shapes and have subsequently developed to become more efficient in catching criminals in the act, from bank robberies to speeding. Here’s how this fascinating bit of tech has evolved over the years.
Before Commercial Use
CCTV was actually first introduced to monitor V-2 rockets in 1942 in Germany, with engineer Walter Bruch using the technology for monitoring purposes only. This is the earliest documented use of CCTV. However, it was soon as introduced on a commercial scale and in 1949, the system was promoted by an American government contractor.
This was CCTV in its infancy, so it could do little more than monitor live events and didn’t have the capability to capture or record events. This meant that anyone using these systems would have to be watching a live feed and note down anything suspicious.
The First Video Recordings
It was recognised that the data provided by CCTV could be incredibly valuable to detectives and government officials, so methods of capturing and recording this data were thought up and tested. These were first introduced as highly primitive reel-to-reel recording systems which used magnetic tapes.
These tapes needed to be swapped manually which cost a lot of money and proved to be both difficult and unreliable. These systems were relatively rare due to the cost of manufacturing, so it’s no surprise operatives soon got tired of threading tape from the used reel through the recorder onto a new empty reel.
The Age of VCR’s
It wasn’t until the introduction of VCR’s that surveillance technology was unearthed once again and rapidly developed to create far more reliable, cost-effective and efficient CCTV systems. VCR’s, or video cassette recordings, were widely available in the 70’s and it was this technology that was passed over to those working on new and improved surveillance cameras.
Thanks to this new technology, CCTV was given a new lease of life and could now be used in many different ways. Screens no longer needed to be monitored by staff, with systems running by themselves and recording collected data. Business found this new form of CCTV to be extremely handy, especially when it came to catching thieves who, unexpected to them, had been caught stealing private property overnight.
Like most groundbreaking technologies, these CCTV cameras were far from perfect and still had their flaws. Only so much data could be stored on one tape, meaning that any criminal investigation required shelves upon shelves of tape recordings to be stored like a library, taking up plenty of office space.
The Introduction of DVR’s and NVR’s
VCR’s could only take CCTV so far and soon enough, in the 1990’s; DVR’s (digital video recorders) were introduced. It was these systems that enhanced the user-friendly experience of CCTV cameras, with installation and the collection of data becoming far easier. Digital recorders meant that video tapes were no longer required, so the age of countless amounts of tape stored on shelves was eradicated to the relief of many.
This takes us right up to date and to the introduction of NCR’s, or network video recorders. These systems process and encode footage before streaming it to NVR’s for storage purposes or remote viewing. If a firm has multiple site locations or various departments, NCR’s are incredibly useful and allow for CCTV throughout an entire network.
CCTV has reached greater heights since its introduction in 1942 and, with the technology in such high demand, it’s likely that it will continue to develop and give us even more assurance about our levels of security on both a domestic and commercial level.
Article provided by Stephen Parkes of www.rentrifone.com, a London based Security Company specialising in door entry systems, CCTV, access control systems and digital satellite TV systems.