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Maximising the potential of CCTV

Maximising the potential of CCTV

CCTV systems have undergone something of a transformation in recent years.

Like many other security measures, advances have been made on the back of huge improvements in the quality of digital and wireless technology.

The flexibility and added functionality that is now incorporated into the latest cameras means they are becoming increasingly useful to a wide range of new end-users.

Where will the cameras be deployed? 

When trying to maximise the benefits of your new IP camera system, you need to take into account the environment where the all-important images are being gathered.

It does not matter if they are going to be used for either commercial or public space surveillance, CCTV is the eyes of the anti-crime solution and as such must be both fit for purpose and positioned so they are able to see at an appropriate level. There is little point in having high megapixel cameras if they are not illuminated correctly or obscured.

Given the access to both security lighting and infrared, see-in-the-dark cameras, as well as the multitude of standards and best practice guidance which refer explicitly to CCTV cameras - BS8418 being a prime example - there is no excuse for an image to be ruined by poorly implemented CCTV.

Be careful with artificial illumination 

As mentioned, infrared cameras are capable of operating in the absence of visible light, but in other cases, natural light will produce the best quality and most highly detailed images. Where natural light is not available, it is important to ensure that the artificial light is not positioned so that it shines directly into the camera.

There are further advances that can help if a camera needs to be positioned where light can be an issue. For example, systems that feature a WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) sensor are being increasingly deployed in reception areas. Not only is this a prime deployment spot for CCTV, but the technology allows the cameras to correctly expose shadows and highlights, so the right level of detail can be seen, even when backlighting is in operation.


Many new cameras are capable of being activated by motion sensors. This means that visitors or intruders will never be missed and it will be easy to find the footage of their time on a property if it is needed for investigational purposes.

However, it is important to ensure that they are set up in the correct manner to maximise the intelligent software of the cameras.

Guidelines state that the CCTV such be focused to a height of around 1.6m with the  target filling a minimum of ten per cent of the total picture height. If closer images are required for recognition purposes then a minimum of 50 per cent picture height is recommended.

Installation is not the end

Once CCTV systems have been installed and they are running smoothly, it is important to the long-term viability of the security solution to pay regular attention to the status of cameras. If a problem is discovered, steps should be taken to rectify it as soon as possible to avoid having any weak points in a security infrastructure.

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