Are smart phones killing off CCTV monitoring stations?

As broadband was rolled out across the UK some 10 years or so ago, Central monitoring stations were rubbing their hands at the prospect of a surge of CCTV monitoring connections that looked to be coming their way. Broadband also signalled a rush of new start remote CCTV monitoring stations looking to get in on the action and why not? Each connection was worth a small fortune.


Until broadband took off ISDN was the only effective way of monitoring and one product led the way. This was ADPRO. Pretty much every central station ran the video central gold software and it seemed that there was little or no alternative. Many new products tried and failed to break the hold on the market but with limited success.

Honeywell IMMIX

Just when things were looking good for all involved in the CCTV industry along came the recession . This by its very nature cut the number of new connections and depleted those that already existed. In an effort to cut costs customers looked elsewhere,  they were also prepared to take the inconvenience of monitoring systems themselves on their home PC,s rather than pay for monitoring. This habit persisted throughout the recession but as smart phone technology took off so it became easier for an end user to monitor his own CCTV from anywhere.


Now this form of monitoring is not safe. It also does not have an audit trail associated with it, you can’t monitor it when you are asleep. To be fair from a security perspective it’s a pretty ineffective way to monitor CCTV and protect your premises. The problem for genuine CCTV monitoring stations is that there is nothing driving end users to use their services. Not insurance companies nor CCTV installers either. Yes bigger organizations will still insist on “proper monitoring  but they are rare and the market is getting fragmented. So are the smart phones winning?


Most in the industry will probably tell you that for the time being yes! They are a big part of the sizzle at the point of sale and what salesman is going to push remote monitoring when he can tell the end user he can connect for nothing.


A short sighted approach all round though. It means there is no ongoing revenue and a customer that has in effect been left with a system that in reality will just show him what happened yesterday night and not prevent a crime taking place as it is happening.


Remote CCTV monitoring is proactive but smart phone monitoring is inevitably reactive. New advances in CCTV mean big companies such as AVIGILON are now talking to software development companies such as IMMIX as they try to bring HD CCTV monitoring to the world. This is exciting for the future. Powerful Avigilon software and HD images mean that remote CCTV monitoring will go to a new level.We anticipate this happening once the economy gets back to normal meaning remote CCTV monitoring will recover its place in the market where it truly belongs. Until then it seems everyone is just happy to fly by the seat of their pants!




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