The Digital Disruption of CCTV


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A shift from analogue to digital, IP-based CCTV is currently taking place. What will happen in the future?

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  • Because analog-to-digital signal conversion should not be that tough (like H1 / digital back combos), so the sector could be maximizing the liftetime of its investment in legacy CCTV systems and just digitizing what is collected by big municipal clients (the Steinstrasse image is great from Hamburg) in some massive pile of surveillance ’collateral’. Then they dip into it on a need-to-search basis, Big-Brother-like, employing IBM’s shape recognition technology from the 90s and Carnegie Mellon’s delightful video chapter section marking (video indexing) to find thugs and criminals or anomaly movements out there. Very pointed and nice slide show essay. Thanks Christian.
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The Digital Disruption of CCTV

  1. 1. Our Big Brother has grown bigger and bigger over the last decades.
  2. 2. Video Surveillance has been a growing business, with high profits and a stable industry structure.
  3. 3. 9/11 implied a further increase in surveillance and people are increasingly concerned about Big Brother nowadays.
  4. 4. Few people, however, express their concern about the manufacturers of these cameras.
  5. 5. … And why should they?
  6. 6. Well, a technological shift is taking place…
  7. 7. … From analogue cameras…
  8. 8. … to digital cameras...
  9. 9. … which are connected over the internet.
  10. 10. Digital, IP-based CCTV offers many advantages over the old systems…
  11. 11. Less wires and cabling…
  12. 12. … Implies a lower installation cost…
  13. 13. … and cheaper maintenance.
  14. 14. In addition to this, once cameras are digital, surveillance can be made increasingly intelligent by using software.
  15. 15. And maybe more importantly, the image quality is better nowadays if you choose a digital surveillance system…
  16. 16. But why should this change make anyone concerned about the analogue camera manufacturers...?
  17. 17. Well, shifts to digital technology have with no exceptions created a lot of industrial turbulence…
  18. 18. Old, analogue companies have been destroyed or severely wounded in industry after industry…
  19. 19. Let me give a few examples…
  20. 20. Kodak employed 140 000 people in 1988 - today less than 25 000. In ten years the stock has declined from around 90 USD to 2-3 USD.
  21. 21. The shift rendered Kodak’s film business obsolete.
  22. 22. The manufacturers of mechanical calculators collapsed in the early 1970s when the shift to electronics took place.
  23. 23. The typewriter companies collapsed…
  24. 24. Back in the 1950s and 60s, analogue radio companies were extinguished…
  25. 25. … Transistor radios had removed the market for the former technology.
  26. 26. About 1000 Swiss watch manufacturers died during the period 1970-85…
  27. 27. … when digital watches became cult products.
  28. 28. While NCR survived the shift to electronic cash registers, most established firms went out of business.
  29. 29. Old TV manufacturers encountered a lot of problems…
  30. 30. … when TV screens became digital.
  31. 31. The same thing happened with telephones.
  32. 32. Do I even have to mention the music industry?
  33. 33. Interestingly, digital video surveillance has to a large extent been introduced and developed by entrant firms…
  34. 34. … such as Axis, Mobotix, Indigo Vision etc.
  35. 35. Analogue companies like Pelco, Siemens, Bosch Security, GE Security have so far failed to dominate the new technology.
  36. 36. IP surveillance has grown rapidly over the last five years, however, only about 20 percent of all sold cameras are digital today…
  37. 37. This figure suggests that the displacement of analogue cameras has just begun…
  38. 38. … and that some major industrial turbulence will take place over the coming years.
  39. 39. This has been the case in all industries that have shifted to electronics.
  40. 40. Why would the video surveillance industry be an exception to this stunningly consistent pattern?
  41. 41. Image attributions
  42. 42. Christian Sandström is a PhD student at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He writes and speaks about disruptive innovation and technological change. christian.sandstrom at