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Basics of CCTV

Advances in CCTV technology are turning the video surveillance into one of the most valuable loss prevention, safety/security and management tools available today. Retailers use CCTV to monitor for shoplifters and dishonest employees, compile recorded evidence against bogus accident claims and monitor merchandising displays in stores that may be hundreds of miles away. Manufacturers, Governments, Hospitals and Universities use CCTV to identify visitors and employees, monitor hazardous work areas, thwart theft and ensure the security of their premises and parking facilities. 

Security Applications

  • Observe and record theft or violence by covertly monitoring retail floor space, office buildings, building perimeters, warehouses, loading  docks and parking garages.
  • Monitor sensitive areas where infrequent activities occur (i.e. confidential records, safes, etc...)
  • Monitor point-of-sale exceptions (cash register voids, over-rings, etc...) reducing cashier theft.
  • Observe and record shoplifting activities.
  • "Walk a beat" by programming a moving camera to pan, tilt, and zoom within a defined pattern.
  • Perform covert surveillance (where legally applicable)
  • Integrate with access control systems to provide video of persons entering  and leaving the premises.
  • Complement asset tracking systems to provide video when a tagged asset leaves the premises.

 Safety Applications

  • Allow operators to see into areas where the environment is hazardous to life or health
  • Monitor potential accident areas.
  • Monitor residence halls, common areas, or high-risk areas to ensure safety of an educational institution's students and faculty.
  • Help reduce the severity of some incidents by the timely dispatch of police, fire, and emergency personnel.

 Management Tools

  • Train employees, check stock on store shelves and monitor retail sales floor coverage, production lines, etc.
  • Demonstrate management's due diligence towards protecting employees, clients, and visitors, and perhaps avert or minimize litigation and negative publicity
  • Document video images on magnetic tape or optical hard drives to record events. This information may be reviewed and later presented as evidence for prosecution of criminals, or as a training tool.     

 Getting Started

Many elements must be considered when designing and installing CCTV systems, such as :

  • Recording
  • The scene and light
  • Color vs. Black and White
  • The Camera
  • Fixed and PTZ Cameras
  • Dome Cameras
  • The lens (optics)
  • Field of view


DVRs explained,
What is a digital video recorder ,A DVR is a device that stores video data in a digital format for later playback. The main difference between a DVR and a VCR, is that a VCR uses an analog format to store data on a magnetic tape. A DVR stores its data in a digital format on a non-removable storage device, just as a computer stores its data to a hard drive. The amount of video data that can be stored on a DVR depends upon the size of the storage device. For residential applications this may be only hours of storage, while for commercial applications this may be months.

Basic Functionality of DVRs

A DVR is a stand-alone device that has an input for a video signal and an output for a TV or monitor. Inside the DVR is hardware, which will take the video signal and then write/store the signal to a hard drive. In most cases the video signal will be analog (except with digital cable or digital cameras), and so the DVR will also use hardware to convert the analog video signal into a digital format. This hardware will also compress the video signal into a smaller size for easier storage (just as computers compress files into .zip or .jar formats, DVRs use formats like MPEG, JPEG etc).

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