The journey of Video Surveillance: Edison meets Internet

The journey of Video Surveillance: Edison meets Internet

In 1939 George Orwells had predicted a future where people will always be watched and was featured in a dystopian fiction in 1984. He may not have bee

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The importance of surveillance cameras

In 1939 George Orwells had predicted a future where people will always be watched and was featured in a dystopian fiction in 1984. He may not have been accurate as to when, but he did have a far-fetched idea about security cameras. In the present day, people hardly notice them. They are at almost all public areas, like banks, street junctions etc. The cameras have not always been so prevalent.

The chronological journey of these security cameras is as shown below:


Thomas Edison and William Dickson invent the first movie cameras. The first demonstration of motion pictures was done in 1893, which bought together kinetophone, which was Edison’s invention and kinetograph which was Dickson’s invention. In a short period of time, moneymaking films were being televised throughout America and the idea of video surveillance was born.


Small cameras that can be carried around are developed. An immediate development was the Univex 8mm. They were small enough to be held in one hand and they used spring winding for operation. Because this camera could be used inconspicuously, covert surveillance became a reality.


Germany was the first country to use the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). The development of this technology by the German scientists was to enable them observe the V2 rockets taking off. When the US was doing a trial on atomic bombs, they also made use of this technology.


The VTR, Video Tape Recorder was developed in this year. Images from a TV camera were captured and saved onto a magnetic recording strip in the VTR. After five years, this invention was available for sale and with time it was used along CCTV to film activities that could be watched at a later time.


Thai royalty was visiting England and the police had no option than to use temporary cameras in Trafalgar square to help them in providing top notch security for the royal visitors.


News reporters back in the day inform the public that the police have implemented the use of surveillance cameras in several selected public places.


Home security systems are created. A technology developed by Marie Van Brittan Brown, which was made of four peepholes with a camera that could go through either of the holes was given a go through. The images captured by the camera would be transmitted to a camera.


The non-government institutions also adopt the technology to improve their security. Banks and shop owners are some of the beneficiaries. It continues into the 80s.


Another technology that can work in dark areas in designed the Charge – coupled Device (CCD). A microchip is used in this 24/7 system.


Cameras are installed at ATM machines for film activities in the vestibule.


Nanny Cams are developed. This had high resolution images and parents used the covert cameras to monitor their children.


More and more countries saw the need to monitor any potential terrorist attack target like sports event and other high profile events after the attack on World Trade Centre.


IP cameras are developed. This system was capable of transmitting images across computer networks. CCTV started slowing down since webcams became the next advancement.


Various digital progressions such as facial recognition became critical after the second World Trade Center attack. Internet based monitoring also gained popularity.

Present day

Video surveillance can now be remotely accessed from any point in the world by use of internet and wireless communication. This can be used in business premises as well as private residence.