In a few years time we will probably look back and realise that we are in the middle of the CCTV revolution/evolution.  Whatever the problem, it seems that somehow the CCTV camera is seen as the solution.

And then you bump into a recent CCTV installation owner who is excited about the new investment.  The key words are IP, mega pixel, high resolution, fully digital and more recently video analytics.

So you ask the new owner how it was decided to place cameras and what technology and system set up was selected.  This is usually the end of the discussion or if there has been some thought put into the solution, an exciting discussion on the risk analysis, defining the threats and development of a security plan is described.

If all is well, the conversation goes on to describe the careful integration of manpower and electronics to have an integrated solution.  This all led to the careful selection, position and setup of the system!  Wonderful.

Well sadly, the above, to be expected process is not often followed and there is a certain amount of confusion regarding the reason for such questioning.

The very same client/supplier would however never place security guards at posts without carefully checking how much it costs and what the job description of each guard is.

So why don’t we do the same for all the security components, access control, CCTV, alarms etc.

It’s just that we have forgotten that the electronics is performing a similar task to a person, placed at the same position, but with clear instructions or a “job description”.

So, it is time to integrate all CCTV designs by having a Job Description for each camera.  If there is no job description then you don’t need a camera.

The development of a job description can be a tedious process, but well worth the exercise.  It also leaves a record of the CCTV “battle plan”, as envisaged by the designer, for the operational staff to understand and use efficiently.

And how do you develop such a job description?  The most efficient approach for compiling this document is to tabulate the requirements for each camera.  For each camera you ask the following questions :

WHAT              :           Must the camera do and produce.

WHEN             :           Must the camera do what is required.

WHY                :           Is this video data required.

WHERE            :           Must the camera be looking.

HOW               :           Is the requirements going to be made available.

You may think that there cannot be so much that can be defined about a particular camera.

When  you  list all the possible variables, it is a fairly long list.  As a start, here are a few :

  • Colour or black & white, or both.
  • Frame rate.
  • Fixed, varifocal or telephoto lens.
  • Motion detection.
  • Recording – full, timed, on motion.
  • Lighting requirements.
  • Angle of view.
  • Storage period required.
  • Storage specification – frame rate, resolution.
  • Video loss alarm.
  • Alarm to record.
  • Access event recording.
  • Number plate recognition.

and so it goes on.

Well, it is time to put all your cameras to work and give them a full job description.  The result?  The correct camera, in the correct position, doing the correct job, and hopefully a reduction in crime.