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Camera Surveillance

Camera Systems General Information

Electech is dedicated to providing a hand crafted, specifically tailored surveillance system for each and every one of our clients. We will present multiple solutions every time. We understand that there are hundreds of surveillance product companies, methods of install, and placement options for every new project we take on. Our standard practice is to show three options on every project, and we will make countless revisions to dial in the system to specifically what is needed by our clients.  Above all we are fairly priced, easy to work with, and highly effective at what we do.
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Below is general information on surveillance camera technologies, their differences, and some of the pro’s and con’s of IP solutions:

History of CCTV

The first CCTV system was installed by Siemens AG at Test Stand VII in Peenemünde, Germany in 1942, for observing the launch of V-2 rockets. The noted German engineer Walter Bruch was responsible for the technological design and installation of the system. CCTV recording systems are still often used at modern launch sites to record the flight of the rockets, in order to find the possible causes of malfunctions, while larger rockets are often fitted with CCTV allowing pictures of stage separation to be transmitted back to earth by radio link.

The earliest systems required constant monitoring because there was no way to record and store the information. Recording systems would be introduced later, when primitive reel-to-reel media was used to preserve the data, where the magnetic tapes had to be changed manually. It was a time consuming, expensive and unreliable process; the operator had to manually thread the tape from the tape reel through the recorder onto an empty take-up reel. Due to these efforts, video surveillance was rare. Only when VCR technology became available in the 1970′s, which made it easy to record and erase information, did video surveillance start to become much more common.

During the 1980′s video surveillance began to spread across the country specifically targeting public areas. It was seen as a cheaper way to deter crime compared to increasing the size of the police departments. Some businesses as well, especially those that were prone to theft, began to use video surveillance.

During the 1990′s digital multiplexing, which allowed for several cameras at once to record, and introduced time lapse and motion only recording, increased the use of CCTV across the country, and increased the savings of time and money. From the mid-1990′s on, police departments across the country installed an increasing number of cameras in various public spaces including housing projects, schools and public parks departments. Following the September 11 attacks, the use of video surveillance has become a common occurrence in the country. CCTV  has become very common in banks and stores to discourage theft, by recording evidence of criminal activity. In recent decades, especially with general crime fears growing in the 1990′s and 2000′s, public space use of surveillance cameras has grown exponentially.

The History of IP Cameras

The first centralized IP camera was released in 1996 by Axis Communications. It was called the Axis Neteye 200 and was developed by the team of Martin Gren and Carl-Axel Alm. It used a custom web server internal to the camera. In late 1999, the company started using embedded Linux to operate its cameras. Axis also released documentation for its low-level API called “VAPIX”, which builds on the open standards of HTTP and real time streaming protocol (RTSP). This open architecture was intended to encourage third-party software manufacturers to develop compatible management and recording software.

The first decentralized IP camera was released in 1999 by Mobotix. The camera’s Linux system contained video, alarm, and recording management function, thus the camera system did not require licensed video management software to manage the recording event, or video management.

The first IP camera with on-board video content analytic’s (VCA) was released in 2005 by Intellio. This camera was able to detect a number of different events, such as if an object was stolen, a human crossed a line, a human entered a predefined zone, or if a car moved in the wrong direction.

IP cameras are available at resolutions from 0.3 (VGA resolution) to 29 megapixels. As in the consumer TV business, in the early 21st century, there has been a shift towards high-definition video resolutions, e.g. 720p or 1080i and 16:9 widescreen format.

IP Camera Standards

Analog closed circuit television uses established broadcast television formats (e.g. Common Intermediate Format (CIF), NTSCPAL, and SECAM). Generally speaking, each make of IP camera will differ in its features and functions, video encoding (compression) schemes, available network protocols, and the API to be used by video management software.

In order to address issues of standardization of IP video surveillance, two industry groups were formed in 2008: the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) and the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA). While the PSIA was founded by 20 member companies including Honeywell, GE Security and Cisco, and ONVIF was founded by Axis Communications, Bosch and Sony, each group now has numerous members. As of January 2009, each group had released version 1.0 of their specification.

Potential advantages of IP Cameras

  • Two-way audio via a single network cable allows users to communicate with what they are seeing (e.g. gas station clerk assisting a customer on how to use the prepay pumps)
  • Flexibility: IP cameras can be moved around anywhere on an IP network (including wireless).
  • Distributed intelligence: with IP cameras, video analytic’s can be placed in the camera itself allowing scale-able analytic’s solutions.
  • Transmission of commands for PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras via a single network cable.
  • Encryption & authentication: IP cameras offer secure data transmission through encryption and authentication methods such as WEP, WPA, WPA2, TKIP, AES.
  • Remote accessibility: live video from selected cameras can be viewed from any computer, anywhere, and also from many mobile smartphones and other devices.
  • IP cameras are able to function on a wireless network.
  • PoE – Power over Ethernet: Modern IP cameras have the ability to operate without an additional power supply. They can work with the PoE-protocol which gives power via the Ethernet cable.

Potential disadvantages of IP Cameras

  • Higher initial cost per camera
  • High network bandwidth requirements
  • As with a CCTV/DVR system, if the video is transmitted over the public Internet rather than a private IP LAN, the system becomes open to a wider audience of hackers and hoaxers. Criminals can hack into a CCTV system to observe security measures and personnel, thereby facilitating criminal acts and rendering the surveillance counterproductive.