A Brief History of CCTV

It is 2021 and CCTV is so common that it surprises anyone. Today, there are approximately 5.2 million CCTV cameras in the UK, with a ratio of 1:13 cameras to people.

CCTV technology has come a long way and continues to evolve, protecting us more than ever. But have you ever wondered about its origins?? Let’s take a look.

The invention of CCTV

The very first application of CCTVtechnology took place in Germany, during the Second World War..

At the time, German scientists were developing and testing new types of weaponry. They needed a way to observe shots without being present at the test site. That is where Walter Bruch and his CCTV came in.

The CCTV devices would send motion picture film to a projector to display images and moving footage. But humanity saw a different potential in what was originally developed for tracking missile activity.

London uses CCTV for the first time

Not many people know it now, but London installed its first video surveillance system in the year 1961, at a train station. This was the first time CCTV was being used for public welfare.

Back then, a section of track near Dagenham was experiencing a surge in cases of vandalism that were causing many delays and costing thousands of pounds for repairs. The CCTV allowed police to monitor the perimeter more carefully and remotely in hopes of bringing down the crime rate.

This also got the attention of many companies and shop owners. As a result, in 1967, CCTV manufacturers decided to sell the devices to corporations and retail outlets to help them catch shoplifters.

CCTVs become a part of our day-to-day lives

Met Police installed permanent cameras in London’s Parliament Square, Whitehall, and Grosvenor Square. A total of 67 CCTV cameras were installed in the capital in 1969. This number was only set to grow after the emergence of VCRs in the ‘70s.

The invention of VCRs evolved video surveillance technology. VCRs replaced the use of video cassettes and made it easier to record and view video surveillance footage. People no longer needed to monitor live footage for safety. They could simply install them and let the feed record.

The government also set up CCTVs to monitor traffic on the major roads in and around London in 1974 and later used them in four London Underground stations to monitor crowds at football matches in 1975.

DVRs as the future of security

Digital video recording, or DVR, was first introduced commercially in the late ‘80s. Unlike previous recording mediums such as VHS tapes, which took hours to record and playback from a centralized location, DVRs allowed for real-time recording from one location to be observed from another.

This meant that people could go back and review footage to find specific clips without having to spend hours sifting through tape.

And this was only the beginning of digitization!

The rise of digital multiplexing

Manufacturers developed digital multiplexing – a technique that revolutionized CCTV systems.

The result of digital multiplexing was a super-fast image feed, which was much clearer than previous systems. This new innovation made CCTV technology more user-friendly and brought it into mainstream use.

Digital multiplexing transmitted multiple signals into a single monitor over a shared medium.

The presence of surveillance cameras also became a boon for the law as they made it convenient for law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes.

The present and future of CCTV

The ‘00s saw some major advances in CCTV devices. In 2000, the first facial recognition technology was developed, making security systems more sophisticated than ever.

Facial recognition technology allowed for two major improvements. First, it provided law enforcement agencies with a forensic database, which made finding and catching criminals incredibly convenient.

Second, it allowed business owners to identify and register anybody who walked into their stores, ensuring their stores are protected at all times. Besides, “customers feel cared-for and comforted when they notice CCTV installations around them,” as rightly pointed out by Flat World Solutions.

At Lee Security, we have a similar mission. With each CCTV device we install, we make your neighbourhoods more secure for you and your family. So, if you want to embrace this impressive technology, feel free to speak to a designer and find the right surveillance system for yourself.