The Growing Scope For IP-Based Surveillance

The value of camera surveillance at a property has always been recognised, but when it comes to home security for the consumer there have been barriers preventing the widespread adoption of this technology.

CCTV is the most common type of video surveillance but as a consumer proposition it’s something that will never appeal to the mass market because it’s not a cheap or self-install solution.

The UK is one of the heaviest users of CCTV in the world and over the last 10 years CCTV cameras have become more and more commonplace, but there has frequently been strong opposition to widespread CCTV on the grounds that it infringes on the privacy of the public. However, over time, attitudes towards cameras have relaxed slightly. Consumers are more comfortable with CCTV on the streets and this familiarity has led to a greater acceptance of the technology in the home.

As an alternative to CCTV, IP camera technology has evolved to become a genuine substitute for the closed circuit systems. IP cameras have had the potential to take off in the mass market due to their low relative cost but have been held back by poor quality, tricky installation processes and the lack of integration with other security systems. Now, technology advances and the growth of cloud computing means IP cameras are Plug ‘n’ Play and web-enabled straight out of the box, so there’s no need to delve into your router’s settings or try port mapping to enable remote monitoring.

Additionally, taking data from the camera to the cloud allows for integration with other systems in the home, broadening the feature set and enabling access via fixed or mobile networks. Processing the data on a web based platform benefits the user because it means they can access their camera from anywhere in the world. Via an online account the user can view steaming images direct from the home, record clips and, if the camera is integrated into a security system at home, receive alerts by SMS text message whenever a burglar alarm or other event has triggered the camera to record.

With improved quality, quick and simple installation procedures, and web connectivity offering additional functionality, today’s IP cameras are an excellent half-way-house for those who don’t have the expertise, budget or need for a fully wired CCTV system, yet would like to keep an eye on their home, especially in the case of a burglary.

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Kevin Meagher is CEO at Intamac Systems. Kevin is a chartered engineer with an MBA who has become recognised as one of the global pioneers of the connected home. Formerly a group captain in the Royal Air Force, he opted for a dramatic career change when he saw how a new generation of Web-based platforms could be used to monitor and control devices in the home. He founded Intamac in 2001 to exploit the technology and launch a range of new value-added services for the mass market. Kevin remains keen on sports and plays squash, golf and soccer – when anyone will have him in the team.