The CCTV industry needs regulation

December 4, 2009

Mark Harraway, Country Manager at Controlware calls for the need for CCTV standards

Both the introduction of CCTV conformity standards and creating the right approach to security design are needed to take our industry forward. And our industry does need to move forwards. Already we are seeing the Police start to say that CCTV is only one of their tools when it should be viewed as their primary tool: CCTV is the eyes of any security system, and as such when systems are well designed and managed CCTV is both proactive and clearly provides the most damning piece of evidence.

In the meantime however there is something that we can do to support our industry. We should start talking in a common language and encourage our industry bodies to take a more proactive leadership role. We should also be prepared to commit to universal testing regimes. Those of us that work in distribution – matching end-user requirements with manufacturers diverse portfolios, and having the knowledge and expertise that spans IT, IP and security industry knowledge – should be prepared to better support consultants by undertaking continued assessment and testing in order to promote the right product for the right project and, as best practice look at the OR as the driving force behind design.

At Controlware, we remain firmly committed to these values, and to moving the industry forwards. We use our expertise in system design, working with consultants, systems integrators and end users to provide guidance and understanding concerning the integration of security expertise with IT and IP knowledge.

The article “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” can be read in full here

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The importance of the CCTV Operational Requirement

December 3, 2009

Mark Harraway, Country Manager at Controlware explores the importance of the Operational Requirement.

However, one of the biggest issues facing consultants is managing customer expectations and creating the CCTV Operational Requirement (OR). It’s the historical trend for manufacturer’s functionality to drive the OR but this is the wrong way round, OR should drive product selection. Another common issue is when poorly-educated specifiers base a solution on budget. Without proper regard for what is actually needed, a solution is created that does not meet the OR required today, or in the longer-term by not being reliable, or providing poor quality video footage that cannot be used for evidential purposes. This leaves consultants stuck in the middle. At Controlware we have a different approach. Every expert design we undertake begins with an OR. The OR determines the functionality specification, which in turn drives budget requirement. This enables our partners, customers and the consultants who work with us, to make informed and realistic choices for the right system to meet the end-user’s needs i.e. the budget may determine the selection of a cheap PTZ or a high quality static camera but it should be the OR that dictates the final choice.

The article “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” can be read in full here


CCTV consultants: Between the devil and the deep blue sea

December 2, 2009

Mark Harraway, Country Manager at Controlware explains why CCTV consultants are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea….

Consultants are also placed in a difficult position of having to talk to manufacturers to understand what is being developed and what can be offered to their clients as “the best solution” or deliver solutions that are “fit for purpose”, but they also must remain neutral in their selections in order to meet due diligence requirements.  There is also the need for them to learn a different set of regulations, system specifications and terminology in order to specify either Cat-5 or Cat-6 cable, HD or megapixel, RAID5 or RAID6. And it also doesn’t help that the IT industry regards CCTV as a big margin opportunity because of high bandwidth, storage requirements and associated hardware – but yet they don’t understand the Information Commissioner’s Office guidelines, Home Office evidence submission guidelines, transmission without pixilation, reliability of storage and footage retention, camera / lens selection or positioning. This results in conflicting or plain misleading information being given and passed on by the IT industry.

The following statements have been taken from real tenders provided by consultants, where I have been asked to help design solutions:

All new IP static domes are to be IEEE Power over Internet powered. – Power over Internet – or should that be Power over Ethernet.

All new IP static domes are to be 802.3af PoE compliant and powered from a local fused spur – Why would you want to do this? – Either you want PoE or not?

Storage Profile:  48 Cameras / D1 resolution / 25fps / zero compression / MPEG4 / 31 days retention = 3 Tb storage – So zero compression? – How are you going to fit that on 3TB without sacrificing one of the other elements?

All new IP camera points are to be cabled to CAT-5 standards using STP cable and 75ohm termination. – Does the installation require Cat-5 or Coax?

These errors highlight the issues facing our industry. The future of CCTV requires a knowledge-base which spans both in-depth knowledge of operational security requirements and also in-depth IT and IP knowledge, so that the best and most efficient security systems can be deployed.

The article “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” can be read in full here


A little CCTV knowledge is a dangerous thing…

December 1, 2009

Mark Harraway, Country Manager at Controlware explains why a little CCTV knowledge is a dangerous thing.

There have been some interesting and conflicting industry comments regarding the Home Office Scientific Development Branch’s (HOSDB) newly proposed test targets; many welcome the new initiative, while a number of consultants point out that they could be ineffective in driving the uptake of manufacturers to show compliance for their equipment, although the test targets and the scoring system need further review to ensure that they meet their goals. What is clear is that we live in an evolving industry, which is trying to discover for itself a clearer sense of direction, and is crying out for leadership from our industry regulatory bodies to develop a comprehensive set of achievable benchmark standards across manufacturing, installation and maintenance in order to meet useable evidence requirements.

As the industry moves forward to IP-based solutions, consultants are placed in an unenviable position of being trapped between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. There is so much confusing and conflicting information in the marketplace and the industry is moving forward so fast it’s impossible for many consultants to keep up with the knowledge required to specify IP-based solutions.

The article “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” can be read in full here