Cisco Canada Blog

A Thousand and One Uses for Video Cameras in Cities

July 2, 2014

Video cameras are becoming more and more common in cities around the world. In fact, cameras are no longer reserved for the police, who traditionally use them to discourage criminal activity and assist investigations. They are used for many different reasons. For example, images obtained from cameras installed around a group of buildings can be useful to the Ministry of Transportation for managing traffic; to the highway department for optimizing snow removal; to municipal services for managing special events or optimizing the use of parking space…

The concept of a “smart city” calls for more use of video. Furthermore, a study conducted last year by IHS revealed that the video surveillance market will generate revenues of 20.5 billion dollars in 2016, an increase of 114% compared to the 9.6 billion reported in 2010. 

Today, mobile cameras cover a large surface area, which multiplies the possibilities. It is unnecessary to install as many cameras in a single location as there are organizations interested in filming that environment. Thanks to IP technology, it is possible to send the images to many destinations (government and municipal services, private businesses) from the same source, securely and in real time. We can even send the video stream to a specific person over a phone or tablet.

Taking advantage of video cameras

This new potential incites collaboration among entities that share the same images, which results in monetary savings. The ordeal is worth the effort, since the use of video cameras is likely to considerably improve organizational efficiency and services offered to the citizens of the city. To do this, the municipality must have an optimized infrastructure available in terms of video, with the ability to effectively and safely manage the transfer of streams to multiple organizations. Cisco’s expertise in networking and consulting services can greatly assist in this regard.

Municipalities should also consider obtaining a system for managing their video operations that allows them to analyze and archive data. Products that integrate different analysis functions and techniques are available on the market and are marketed to various business sectors. With the help of these software applications, we can notably measure the distance between two points in the video, filter noise, enlarge certain areas and highlight a person or object of interest.

For an organization, a supplier who is capable of assisting with all aspects of the video is an asset. This is why Cisco continues to develop partnerships with leading companies specializing in management applications and video analysis.

In spite of some reservations about cameras violating privacy, citizens seem to be in favor of their use. According to a survey conducted last year in the United States, 78% of the people surveyed support video surveillance. One might think that the public would be even more open to the use of video cameras that also improve the services offered to citizens.

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