Helmet Cameras, Kid-Cams and Money to be Made in Video Surveillance

Surveillance Camera in city

Osama bin Laden has been taken off the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list due to death. That’s good news but it remains to be seen what impact this may have on international terrorism. I am hopeful. One of the interesting side stories of this landmark event was the photo of President Obama and his staff in the Situation Room at the White House. It depicts a room of leaders all intently focused on something outside of the view of the camera. Most now know what they were watching were live video feeds of the raid on bin Laden’s compound. This video was brought to them by “helmet cameras” worn by the Navy SEAL team members on the mission. That was an awesome use of technology. Not just to be wearing a camera, but to have the images broadcast live on the other side of the world. It reminds me of David Letterman’s monkey cam and other “cams” made famous in the 80’s. This, of course was much more serious, but perhaps no less engaging. The live view was useful and now there is discussion of piecing together the events in Abbottabad using the recorded video footage. Makes sense to me. Video is a powerful medium.

That’s why video is such an enormous part of the security industry today. HD. NVR. Thermal. MegaPixel. Video Analytics. IP. The list goes on of all the technologies surrounding video and the number of companies involved makes for a highly competitive marketplace. Video can do a great job of telling you what is going on right now and can provide convicting evidence to relate events of the past. Our company plays in the two other pillars of security – access control and intrusion detection – but not in video. But it is interesting to see the way video for security, intelligence work, and law enforcement is changing our world. It’s not been too many years that we’ve had cameras mounted on police car dashboards. Now we increasingly see what seems like a natural extension for police, “on-officer” cameras. Worn by a field officer at eye level, the camera leaves the squad car with the officer, goes where he goes, and sees what he sees. It’s expensive, but police forces are rolling them out because they help tell stories that are very important to get right.

As cameras get smaller and less expensive and wireless technologies become more reliable and secure, we might see more of these on-people cameras. It seems extreme, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see well-off couples sending their kids to school with kid-cams, so they can see what’s going on with their children at all times. Anything to keep their little Sophia safe. At some point, cameras invade privacy and there begin the battles. There’s a lot of the market that won’t cross the privacy line though, which is why the video surveillance market is forecast to be hot for years.

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