How Video Surveillance Systems are Evolving in the Security Industry

Monday 17 June 2024 -

The growth of video surveillance systems has led to fixed and mobile cameras becoming more mainstream and affordable. We often see these technologies in the form of wireless cameras, personal CCTV and smart doorbells. The development of complex technologies and AI is also evolving the market of video surveillance. 


Although there are many considerations for video surveillance, many businesses, organisations and even individuals at home believe this technology is a necessity in keeping themselves or their businesses safe. Advanced technology in video surveillance is helping deter crime and capturing offenders with systems with artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition technology (FRT). 


Technology has advanced to phenomenal levels, and yet companies within the security sector are not catching up with it. This could be due to the nature of the business, costing, storage, or many other reasons which we will explore in this article.


Considerations for video surveillance  


Video surveillance often faces scrutiny and concern due to privacy. Processes must be fair and lawful, and businesses should only handle personal data in a way that people would reasonably expect. There are places where individuals may expect to see video surveillance systems, but organisations must ensure that those under surveillance are aware they are being recorded. 


Transparency is the best way to ensure you are responsibly utilising video surveillance systems. Complying with data protection law means you must provide information about the surveillance to individuals who may be affected. Signs that are displayed in and near to areas with video surveillance is a great way to be transparent.  


Video surveillance for businesses and organisations  


Video surveillance systems are a necessity for many businesses. These systems help improve overall safety by deterring criminals and providing necessary footage for conviction in the instance of a crime. Video surveillance can also be monitored by a team of security professionals; security professionals are able to alert relevant personnel about potential threats. 


Commercial surveillance systems can deter theft and other crimes. With well-placed video surveillance systems, businesses and organisations can monitor areas, help criminals think twice before committing a crime, and occasionally spot known offenders to prevent them from reoffending.  


Of course, there are still instances where crimes may occur. However, with video surveillance, footage of offences can be used to arrest and prosecute criminals. Advanced video surveillance can provide reliable footage in these instances. 


Facial recognition technology in surveillance  


Facial recognition technology (FRT) is advanced technology that can identify or verify faces through images or video – whether recorded or captured in real-time. Many cameras have compatible biometric technology to capture facial features and metrics, providing extra security in the face of crime. 


FRT is often use in security and law enforcement, including video surveillance installation. With FRT and video analysis software, biometric data runs against a database of face images to identify individuals. This gives video surveillance advanced security benefits – particularly in sectors such as retail, organisations and office/manufacturing-based business.  


This technology can identify suspicious behaviours, crimes, movements and other security risks to ensure businesses and organisations remain safe, and in the event of a crime or incident, offenders can be identified and prosecuted.  


The implementation of complex technologies 


As technology evolves, so does video surveillance. However, commercial services aren’t as quick to adapt to technology, even with its advances – particularly in a such a sensitive industry. For video surveillance in particular, organisations need to be certain that new technology is beneficial.  


Despite this, technology in the security industry is advancing at a rapid rate. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been featured in surveillance for many years, and most modern cameras will have AI technology embedded. Video surveillance systems use the most vetted and reliable technology solutions to advance their mission in keeping communities and organisations safe.  


Where can we improve? 


Through our own extensive research, we have discovered several areas for significant improvement. Firstly, private enterprises are using video surveillance systems to benefit the safety of customers and employees. However, the public sector remains chronically underfunded – creating problems.  


Local authority including the police rely on an inefficient system of looking for video surveillance or running public appeals for evidence, then asking the users to hand over their recordings. This means that without private recording devices, many cases would not have the relevant evidence.  


Without making the most out of video surveillance systems, many users are not appropriately storing data. Cloud storage (which is currently at 31% of users) is a beneficial way to integrate security data. Without cloud-based systems, it is inefficient to analyse video which is recorded locally in multiple remote locations. 

Furthermore, without appropriate regulation,


The Bigger Picture: our findings 


The BSIA provide comprehensive research into video surveillance systems, understanding these technologies and how they work in business practice. We released our first document “The Picture Is Not Clear” in 2013, following up with the updated and comprehensive “The Bigger Picture” in 2022. 


The Bigger Picture explored the primary and secondary use of video surveillance systems and the risks of these cameras. The aim was to estimate the number of these devices within the UK, focusing on 11 key sectors and representing over 70% of the video surveillance market.  


The research also quantified what type of cameras are typically used, the resolution of these cameras, whether they were analogue or IP technology and if these devices had embedded AI analytics. The Bigger Picture investigated several key features, including storage methods, transmission mechanisms and the future of surveillance.  


From this research, it can be deduced that although technological advances are available to video surveillance systems, companies are slow to adapt them. With AI becoming taboo, companies are missing out on technology that can streamline inefficiencies, automate repetitive tasks and ultimately, provide more accurate data.  


AI applications can assess and analyse mass amounts of data. This can monitor critical security threats on cameras, providing even more security. 


Our full report, The Bigger Picture, is available to BSIA members; along with the latest updates on technological advances.