Video Surveillance

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Video surveillance has been around almost since television cameras became portable. It is a way of keeping tabs on employees, locations, entryways, and more that is becoming more widespread every day. Its original purpose was safety, and that continues to be the main reason for its use today even as video surveillance moves quickly into home usage.

Businesses use video surveillance systems to monitor employees handling cash, to provide alerts in case of fire or other disasters, to observe employees in areas containing valuable inventory, and to monitor approaches to buildings. Video surveillance is also used in department stores to reduce shoplifting and in banks and convenience stores as a deterrent to robbery. Parking lots and garages, remote areas on college campuses, and hospital basements are all good places for video surveillance cameras as are the locations of ATMs.

Current Trends and Future Uses

Most video equipment today is only referred to when there has been a qualifying event such as a robbery, theft, or personal injury. This is because, while a company may have twenty cameras in service, it would not be cost effective in most cases to have a human trying to monitor multiple screens. The best use of a human monitor is often a dispatcher who has one monitor that cycles from camera to camera.

A better use of video surveillance would be real-time notification of burglaries, detecting and reporting accidents on highways, patrolling national borders, and even counting endangered species. Improvements in technology may soon result in object recognition, a monitor that can distinguish between a person and an animal, a van or a bicycle and more. This technology will then allow the system to notify the appropriate parties while there is still time to take remedial action. In addition, more advances will allow for the collection and dissemination of valuable data regarding activity trending which can result in better safety measures.

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