Do more cameras mean better results?

Updated: Jul 10

By Leo Luo

The dilemma of video coverage

A natural response to the need to improve CCTV monitoring would be – adding cameras. Most security managers usually do not realize the downside of doing this. What is the actual impact on performance when we add too many cameras?

Alert overflow. In many cases, merely adding cameras will create more alerts, which also demand an individual response. A typical CCTV system will generate two "alarm alerts" on average per camera per day. To put that into perspective, for a 500-camera system, you will need 16 hours to respond to the camera alerts (even considering it takes one minute to respond to a single alarm).

Storage. More cameras require even more server storage, while data will become harder to retrieve. The storage requirements multiply even more when a higher resolution is needed, such as 4K cameras.

Cost overrun. More cameras mean more maintenance, power consumption, troubleshooting, and service. This all adds up the maintenance and running costs.

Focus. Installing more cameras leads to less time focused on each video stream. The lack of focus is one of the main negative impacts. The more cameras you have, the less attention you can allocate to each channel. This brings us to the ‘people’ factor: how do humans process information?

The 'People' factor. Generally speaking, humans are horrible at monitoring and detecting but are good at reacting.

Reports show that, on average, a security operator’s detection rate will go down by 5% after the first 20 minutes of monitoring a system. 85% of security operators’ workload, unfortunately, is dedicated to detection and monitoring, which in many cases is simply staring at a screen.

What is the solution? The modern solution to deal with this is to introduce a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Using the power of AI to detect, learn and verify what is “abnormal” and disabling the useless and dull alarm alerts from cameras allows security operators to spend their time on more valuable activities and possibly reducing headcount.

Allowing AI to do the tedious detection and monitoring work frees humans to focus on their strengths: reaction and collaboration.

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