The Coming of Smart Technology
Surveillance systems have been in use for 80 years since they were first introduced in Germany in 1942. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) was the earliest type of surveillance system architecture and was based on the transmission of video signals within a fixed region for playback on a closed circuit device.Surveillance system applications can be broadly defined using the following periods:
Analog camera + video tape storage
Video is transmitted via co-axial cable from the front-end camera to the surveillance server. The video is then stored on (Beta/VHS) video tapes. This was similar to how early video tape recorders were used to record TV programs that you wanted to watch later.The storage media was easily affected to ambient humidity or wear to the magnetic tapes after extended use. This resulted in loss of fidelity or noise when the recorded video was replayed.
Analog camera + Disk storage
Analog cameras remained in use but the video tape recorder was replaced by Digital Video Recorder (DVR). Video capture technology in the DVR converted analog video signals to digital video files for storage on magnetic disks. This generation of product also went through the following iterations:
- CIF / D1 video capture format evolved into high-definition analog (CVI / TVI / AHD) while video resolution also evolved from 720P (HD) to 1080P (FHD) then 5M and 8M UHD, 4K image quality).
- Video compression technology evolved from MJPEG, MPEG-1/2/4 to H.264 and H.265.
- DVR began featuring a remote web login interface.
- DVR can be accessed via mobile app.
- DVR began supporting AI computing applications.
- DVR evolved into the Hybrid specification that can not only be connected to analog cameras but also IP cameras as well.
IP camera + HDD or NAS storage
The camera itself supports network connectivity. Captured video undergoes video compression before being transmitted over the network. The video stream is then transmitted to the Network Video Recorder (NVR) for storage, or uploaded to NAS storage media.The main difference between DVR and NVR is that NVR can accept video from all IP cameras over a single network cable. DVR however requires each camera to be connected to the video recorder via a separate co-axial cable.
4. IP camera + Cloud storage + Cloud service
Another product distinct from professional surveillance products is the home surveillance product (also known as consumer products). The hardware specifications do not prioritize dust or tamper resistance, and the software is mainly based on mobile apps. Video can not only be stored locally in the camera on a SD card but also uploaded to cloud for storage or playback.The size of the cloud storage and other value-added services can be selected via a subscription model. For advanced applications, the camera can use networking protocols to integrate different product peripherals to construct a smart home environment. Related applications include: IFTTT / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant /Apple HomeKit。
Despite their lower cost, the conversion of analog systems to digital technology is an inevitable trend. The coming of smart technology means subscribing to related information services over the Internet is now gaining increased acceptance. A changing of the guard in products and services are now global trends and businesses that go with the flow will be able to reap the benefits.