Big Brother may be closer than you think. New forms of video
surveillance are designed for monitoring much more than a bank robber’s
wardrobe. The next generation of cameras are being put into place all around
you; cameras that are watching you wait in line at the cash register, and
observing your performance at work. They even record you as you walk down the
At the Hitachi Information Forum held in Toronto earlier
this month, Chris Jensen, solution consultant for physical security at Hitachi
Data Systems (HDS), discussed the evolution of security cameras. He explained
that video surveillance is an area that
has commonly been neglected and rarely updated, as companies are not interested
in financing a system that distributes little ROI, or sometimes none at all.
In the past, when surveillance involved analog cameras and
videotapes, security camera systems were considered inaccessible, impractical and
expensive. Responsibility for managing these tools did not fall on the IT
department. Rather, security cameras were handled by the security division, who
typically managed storing security data by loading up cassettes in boxes that
were then stacked up in a closet somewhere.
When one of those cassettes was needed, the extensive labour
and time needed to dig through boxes upon boxes of videotapes produced enormous
frustration. As Jensen pointed out, it was common for six months to go by
before anyone would even realize the company’s surveillance system was damaged,
and that it wasn’t actually recording anything on the day a guest claimed to
have slipped and fallen down the company’s front steps. Until threats for a
lawsuit arrived, video surveillance just wasn’t a priority.