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New forms of Video surveillance

The world has changed a lot since the first video surveillance system was introduced in 1968. Today, the little camera at the corner has become intelligent in ways that were unimaginable 4 decades ago, and is used for more than just ‘watching’ shoplifters and airports. Today’s video surveillance systems, and the video they generate, are put to a variety of uses, and can be analyzed to yield much more information than the older CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras.

In some places, “Talking CCTV” cameras have been installed as video surveillance. In this system, an operator continuously monitors the CCTV footage being shown and can also communicate instantly with the offender being observed. This system was developed because, in recent times, the CCTV cameras have been damaged by criminals seeking to avoid the uninvited attention that these cameras give them.

There are many industrial processes that need to be under video surveillance, because they are conducted in conditions unsuitable for human beings. These processes include those that use dangerous chemicals or nuclear processes which cannot be directly observed by people. For such video surveillance, special CCTV cameras known as thermographic cameras are used, which can measure temperature during a process. Temperature readings are often a vital piece of information about such processes.

Another form of video surveillance is automatic number plate recognition. This system tracks the number plates of all vehicles passing through a particular point, reads them, and matches them with a database of vehicle numbers to detect criminals or people who have committed traffic offences. A new development is called Closed-Circuit Digital Photography (CCDP). With this technology, instead of recording video, a high-resolution camera is used to take good quality images of the scene at a regular time period, or on detecting a change in the scene – such as movement, or when sunlight changes. This system can be used to replace the high cost and storage requirements of traditional ‘video surveillance’.

A very interesting form of video surveillance is the use of fake cameras. These fake cameras can be bought separately, and are sometimes made to resemble actual models of working cameras. The kinds of fake cameras that are sold include broken cameras, cameras that are found defective during manufacturing, and empty camera cases with blinking lights and motors for movement. Such cameras look exactly like the real cameras they imitate, and even experienced criminals can be hard-pressed to spot the difference. This system is cheaper and just as effective when it comes to deterring crime, though it can’t obviously record any video, or perform any of the other traditional functions of video surveillance.

A new form of video surveillance utilizes what are known as “IP Cameras”, which can be accessed by homeowners or storeowners through internet on a computer or a 3G-enabled mobile phone. Some new systems can record in ‘Night vision’, communicate using two-way audio much like a video phone call, and even work over a wireless network.

However, the most interesting use of video surveillance has to be that some independent artists have used the footage for artistic purposes, such as in music videos and ads.