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7 Technology Trends that Are Transforming Surveillance as We Know It

July 9, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Emily Roberts, Independent Technology Author

Technology has been evolving at breakneck speed, and surveillance technology is no exception. In fact, it is being forced to change to keep up with customer needs, criminal behaviour, and even the law. Here are six technology trends that are transforming surveillance as we know it. We’ll also discuss a few things that are almost certainly on the horizon and long-term trends shaping the surveillance industry.

Shifts in CCTV Design

Closed Circuit Television systems have been in use for years. CCTV installation has become more common in urban areas to increase security and aid in catching those who do commit offences. CCTV systems send video camera images to monitors when it is part of a real-time surveillance system. Others record images to servers for later recall.

There have been a number of shifts in CCTV, such as moving to wireless cameras, online file storage over VHS and local hard drive storage and applying artificial intelligence to the incoming data stream. The sheer challenge of setting up many different CCTV cameras correctly across a site is far beyond the do-it-yourselfer, though CCTV no longer needs to be hardwired. Instead, you can choose from hardwired, wi-fi, 4G mobile network connections, lasers, microwave relays, or a combination of all of the above. All of this can be tied to access control systems and lighting. Yet every network access point could be hacked, so hardware installed to increase your security adds a new risk, as well. This is why CCTV installers like ACCL who are one of the leading companies in London have seen the CCTV installation business explode.

Computing from the Edge to the Cloud

Edge computing refers to data processing close to the “edge” of the network instead of sending data to a central hub or repository where it is processed. Edge computing reduces network bandwidth because smart sensors and devices process data before sending the processed information to the hub and on to the data centre. This is necessary just to be able to handle the tidal wave of information expected to be created by the Internet of Things. In the IoT, sensors, devices, computers and servers will all be connected to each other.

That end destination is increasingly likely to be a cloud instead of a local server. The value of video surveillance data is starting to be appreciated, and the associated cost of going down is seen as too high. This is increasing demands for failover, redundancy, and backups from customers, much of which occurs through file transfers and storage on the cloud. A number of companies are offering cloud-based services for everything from storing footage from CCTV cameras to data analysis to redundant storage of critical files. This replaces the traditional on-premises CCTV system.

A side benefit of adopting CCTV systems integrated with the cloud is the major reduction in in-house IT services required to maintain it. This allows businesses of all sizes to have CCTV systems installed, maintained and supervised by third parties.

Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

CCTV systems can be integrated today with AI that can recognise someone’s licence plate and determine whether or not they should be allowed into a car park. They can incorporate facial recognition and use that to control access to facilities.

Deep learning takes this one step farther. It is already allowing law enforcement to scan footage to find missing people. Predictive analytics could reduce issues from terrorist attacks to shoplifting, slip and fall accidents to suicides. Deep learning has made significant advances in recent years; it is being applied to forensic video analysis, aiding but not yet replacing human analysts.

We’ve reached the point where we can start to realise the benefits of deep learning applied to the firehose of data flooding in. Any business that can find new ways to draw value from the mass of data will profit from it. Yet all of this has to be done while remaining compliant with government regulations and industry standards, including cyber-security. That hackers are looking for any vulnerability they can exploit will only lead to new technologies that try to collect and draw value from video footage, while protecting it from those who shouldn’t have access.

Privacy Regulations

The General Data Protection Regulation unifies data protection rules for people within the EU. These rules apply to any location where data may be held or used. This includes surveillance system footage. GDPR data requests could require an organisation to provide footage of any individual if the video of a publicly accessible area. If a company has a CCTV system that cannot handle GDPR requests, such as artificial intelligence capable of scanning footage for that person’s face, your staff will be forced to spend hours doing the work manually.

The Expanding Market

The global market is expanding, but the Chinese market is growing at an even more insane rate. China is not only expected to shape the future of surveillance technology but dominate the global market as well.

China’s market is different from the rest of the world in how concentrated it is since two major vendors, Dahua and Hikvision, account for the vast majority of sales.

In a recent report, surveillance analyst Jon Cropley reflected on the exceptionalism and dominance of China’s surveillance market. The country is set to account for a whopping 46% of all revenue generated by professional video equipment in 2018.

As we already know, the Chinese government also has no qualms when it comes to implementing widespread surveillance programs which would be viewed as intrusive in many markets. The difference is that the Chinese government not only has the means to implement these programs but has minimal resistance from the local population to do so. This is one of the major reasons why there is such a high demand for professional surveillance equipment and why the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

One of the many examples is the colossal Xue Lian Program, which aims to connect a wide network of surveillance cameras in villages, towns, and districts to a central surveillance hub at the national and county level. This central hub will be accessible to emergency services, law enforcement, and multiple government agencies. Not only will it facilitate access to this surveillance data but will also allow multiple levels of government and public servants to share information as well.

Traditional surveillance equipment vendors are also expected to make their products more cloud-enabled and add data centre-ready products as part of their portfolio to meet this new demand.


Drone detection is becoming a bigger priority. These drones may be malicious or enter one’s property accidentally but detecting them in time to deal with them is important, especially in any location with restricted airspace. This is happening even though the cost, regulations, and battery life issues slow the adoption of drones in security. For example, one prison has rolled out a virtual shield that detects remote control drones. Drones are stopped by disruptors that block their control and frequency protocols.


Video analytics is growing exponentially along with the number of cameras in use, the amount of data collected, and the amount of computing power available. While we can see a number of trends transforming the video surveillance industry, we’re only starting to learn what is possible.




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