Video Surveillance in 2010 - New Frontiers in an Economic RecoveryAs we move into the second decade of the 21st century, technology developments are foremost on people's minds when they think of video surveillance. What the future holds for video surveillance in 2010 may be a mixed bag, however, as sundry economic forces jostle for position in a recovering economy.
The use of CCTV, IP Video, and other technologies continues to become more prevalent. What's really changing in the market, and what we can expect to see in 2010, is reflected in where and how this technology is being implemented.
Great Recession, Great Recovery?
The market for video surveillance has slowed over the past few years. Past market forecasts aren't matching reality. Some analysts believe the recent down-turn in the economy indicates permanent systemic changes. Previous market activity in this industry may be no sure indicator of what may be coming in 2010.
While research and development departments have produced some startling innovations in face-recognition and AI applications, many customers are reluctant to adopt untested technologies. The risk-averse nature of current market conditions seems to be prevailing.
However, as Mark Twain said, history doesn't really repeat itself, but it does rhyme. The market for all video surveillance may be down in a semi-permanent way, but that doesn't mean there aren't more prosperous days ahead for this industry.
"We expect the overall market to return to growth in 2010," says In-Stat analyst Michelle Abraham about the future growth of the video surveillance market (bit.ly/4SKHsw). IMS Research also projects a market recovery in video surveillance (bit.ly/8MzoWI) for the late quarters of 2010.
For example, recent record unemployment rates have helped make human security guards cheaper than ever. This condition, however, is highly temporary. As the economic recovery progresses and wages rise, CCTV and IP-based video surveillance options may look more profitable than ever.
The real question is how far into 2010 this growth will begin to take place, and what that recovery in the market will look like. The answers may lie in new markets for video surveillance that are already beginning to present themselves.
New Markets and Applications
Home users in 2010 will find video surveillance to be more desirable. Web-based solutions that work with smart phones help make video surveillance both more useful and less expensive, but that's not all. The recent climate of financial insecurity is, to some degree, translating into feelings of overall insecurity. Home users are likely to flock to these surveillance solutions as they become more readily available in 2010 and smart phone users continue to multiply.
IMS Research projects that demand for security cameras (bit.ly/4RlNRx) in US law enforcement vehicles will grow 6.5% into 2013; this, in spite of financial crises and severe budget cuts in municipalities nation-wide.
Law enforcement agencies are also finding uses for remote video surveillance outside the squad car. LA County Sheriffs have deployed a wireless camera network in Lynwood, California. The system has already led to several arrests. Other cities are looking into the technology. Wireless surveillance will become increasingly invaluable in fighting violent crime all over America.
Unexpected Developments - Analog CCTV Holding On Tight
One thing we can expect to see in 2010 is not CCTV customers converting to IP, but IP-based surveillance systems finding their ways into homes and other places that haven't seen any video surveillance of any kind before. Existing systems are also getting smarter. AI applications can learn from the patterns of movement in a given field of view and will alert the user when something deviates from the norm. This kind of application only gets smarter with use, allowing users to fine-tune which activities cause alerts and which are just part of the pattern.
The major downside of these kinds of applications is that they can require significant computing assets to run them. One way around this is digital cameras with some of the thinking hardware built-in. All of this, of course, comes back to questions of cost. We may not see a robust expansion of these developments until 2011 and beyond.
Government contracts seem to increase by the year. The US Military reports that, for the first time ever the number of unmanned aircraft purchased has exceeded the number of manned aircraft purchased (bit.ly/7AULvF). This milestone seems to indicate that CCTV will continue to play a crucial role in defense and law enforcement applications into the future.
One of the biggest necessary developments in unmanned aerial vehicles is the refinement of wireless security. The earliest unmanned aircraft had no wireless security whatsoever. When raids revealed that enemy installations had UAV monitoring stations the need for tighter security was revealed. Since then the enemy has continued to find ways to "hack in". This kind of escalation helps ensure that security measures will be refined as developers think strategically to outsmart hackers. These security refinements will continue to filter down to the private sector.
While civil liberties groups voice some valid concerns about the social and political impact of video surveillance, these often engender unrealistic concerns among the general public. Movies and television, for instance, give one the impression that one could be feasibly observed by video surveillance throughout the entire day with the cold totalitarian eyes of Big Brother watching every move one makes. This just isn't the case.
It's true that video surveillance through CCTV is ubiquitous. By no means, however, are all cameras and systems networked, and doing so would mean a complete tear-down and rebuild of almost every system. Future developments in video surveillance don't seem to indicate a move in this direction.