How CCT Has Evolved Over the Years to Protect Your Business
It’s amazing to think how far closed-circuit television (CCTV) technology has progressed in what has been a remarkably short history to date; indeed, the first CCTV camera only saw use in the 1940s. That’s quite a contrast with the situation in 2020 when there were estimated to be as many as 5.2 million CCTV cameras in use in the UK – one for every 13 people.
Most of us in the 21st century are accustomed to the idea that we are likely to be captured by multiple CCTV cameras each day as we simply go about our business.
Contrary to the dystopian image of mass government surveillance that many people may have feared when CCTV cameras first began to gain popularity, it is thought that less than 4% of the UK’s total CCTV cameras today are Government-controlled. The rest are used by private businesses and homeowners to help protect their property.
But how did the CCTV camera systems that we are now familiar with come to be? And what were the key milestones in the development of this tech that many of us now consider crucial for our security and peace of mind?
From wartime origins to widespread civilian use
As is the case for so many technologies that we today take for granted, it was essentially wartime conditions that accelerated the development of the CCTV camera. The first known CCTV system was designed and installed by the German electrical engineer Walter Bruch, whose invention was used to observe rocket launches.
Only after World War II, in 1949, was the first commercial CCTV system made available, by a US company. At this stage, however, there was no ability to record the footage observable through a CCTV camera, so these systems were simply used for live monitoring.
Still, the pioneering developments came thick and fast after that. In 1960, CCTV systems began to be used in the UK, and by the later 1960s and 1970s, the emerging video cassette recording (VCR) technology was starting to upend what CCTV could do.
VCR tech was relatively cheap to buy and run, and brought considerable convenience to CCTV users, compared to what they had been forced to deal with previously. It did, however, still have some notable downsides, such as the finite capacity of VCR tapes and the need to change them regularly.
The 1980s onwards: the normalisation of CCTV
In 1985, the UK’s first outdoor CCTV system was installed, in the beautiful seaside town of Bournemouth – and from then on, CCTV cameras came to be widely used in towns, cities, and all manner of other settings across the globe.
Another major development came in the 1990s, in the form of multiplexing solutions, which allowed for the feeding of signals from multiple CCTV cameras to one monitor. This was a godsend for many larger organisations that wished to keep an eye on several areas simultaneously and cost-effectively.
The early 2000s, meanwhile, saw digital technology become mainstream, leading to VCRs being replaced with digital video recorders (VCRs) that offered much-improved storage capacity, speed and image quality.
Today, CCTV systems have never been so affordable or refined
Fast-forward to the 2020s, and CCTV systems are becoming more sophisticated and attainable than ever. Many homeowners are now arranging the installation at their properties of solutions that would have seemed outlandishly advanced to the large business users of just a few decades ago.
One major advance in recent years, for example, has been the rise of ‘smart’ technology that allows users to view live CCTV images and footage via a PC or smartphone, even if they are nowhere near the physical premises where the CCTV is installed. This is just one possibility when you turn to Firstford Ltd for your CCTV security system.
Would you like to learn more about the kind of CCTV system we could help set up at your residential or commercial property? If so, our team would be delighted to hear from you via phone or email.
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.