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What is CCTV?


In many areas like office complexes, commercial buildings and important public areas, there is need for strict and foolproof surveillance to maintain law and order and prevent contingencies. Nowadays, people are opting for electronic surveillance even on residential properties, in a bid to stay safe and secure. In any city or town, there are sure to be many different areas which are “under CCTV surveillance”. For laymen, CCTV is just an expression that conveys the presence of security monitoring hardware and people manning them who keep an eye on everything that happens.

Places like departmental stores, shopping malls, town centers, theaters, public transport and many different places can be good candidates for CCTV surveillance. In the UAE, there are different laws and policies in different emirates regarding the practice of CCTV use. There is a move to have a Federal law in place, making it mandatory to use CCTV surveillance in important locations like public places, jewelry shops and banks. In Dubai alone, there are currently about 25,000 CCTV camera systems, helping local authorities monitor situations and enhance security.If you want to know more in-depth about the concepts, technologies and tools that function behind CCTV monitoring, you will find the following information interesting.


CCTV stands for Closed Circuit Television. The acronym is well known but the full form is indicative of the way CCTV functions. Basically, it is a combination of different components and devices which are connected to form a circuit that is closed- not available to anyone outside the circuit. It is a system where select people can access data from the circuit, which is not available to the rest of the world. In use since the 1980s, CCTV surveillance has become increasingly popular with passage of time, owing to its great benefits.

The presence of CCTV systems not only acts as a deterrent for malpractices and crimes, but also has other important benefits. These include monitoring construction or manufacturing units, providing support for health and safety initiatives, traffic management, staff protection and much more. This varied and versatile utility of CCTV systems contributes greatly towards its popularity. Governed by the Human Rights Act for domestic systems and the Data Protection Act for public systems, CCTV has infiltrated many different industries, domains and scenarios all over the world where there is need for strict security and surveillance.

The Components

In its most barebones form, a CCTV system consists of the following three components –

  • Camera,
  • Lens, and
  • Monitor

Depending on the kind of technology in use, the specific requirements of the type of usage and the circumstances in question, you have a lot of variety in all three components, with choices ranging from basic, budget solutions to high-end, expensive hardware replete with interesting features. The camera is obviously the most important part of the system, capturing images accurately for monitoring purposes. The lens allows the camera to focus on different important areas while capturing images. The monitor unit is what ultimately receives the feed or transmission from the camera, and displays it in the form of video data for human surveillance workers to monitor. The great variety in the feature sets and functionality of these components make it a very important task to choose the right equipment for your needs when looking to install a CCTV system.


CCTV systems come in many different forms and there are particular feature sets that you can choose from, depending on your exact requirements. If you consult a professional surveillance service provider company, you will get to know about the many available features that CCTV systems come with and choose the kind of equipment you want based on your needs and budget. Usually, more feature-rich systems come for higher prices, and basic systems are good for low-cost security and surveillance. Here are a few important choices you might have to make –

  • Monochrome or Color – Depending on your exact requirements, you might have the need for a basic, monochrome CCTV system or a much more advanced, color solution. While monochrome CCTV systems serve the basic need, you might find it necessary to have a color option for your requirements. You will even find cameras that allow you to collect video footage in color during the daytime, and then automatically transition to a monochrome system at night.
  • Recording –In certain cases, it is feasible or indeed preferable to have dedicated personnel monitoring the feed from CCTV systems in real time. In high-security areas, this has been known to be beneficial. The security personnel watching the feed can take immediate action to the emergency. There are situations, however, where real time monitoring is not possible. You might also need surveillance footage to be available for later use. For these cases, CCTV systems with recording support are available. This is achieved with the help of a hardware recorder or computer unit as a part of the closed circuit, which automatically records the feed provided by the camera while it is being also displayed on the monitor.
  • Cloud Access – Modern CCTV equipment very often comes with built in cloud support. Cloud storage enables you to record CCTV footage to a location in the cloud in real time. This is usually achieved using wireless technology or high speed mobile internet. Cloud management is also a sought after feature, enabling you to monitor, manage and access footage stored in the cloud over the internet using a management dashboard and user credentials. This is a great way to monitor and view CCTV footage from off-site locations and while on the go.
  • Multi Camera Systems – For large areas where a lot of ground needs to be covered in your surveillance net, you can use elaborate multi camera CCTV systems for better control of the situation. For commercial spaces and public areas, setting up a CCTV monitoring system with multiple cameras has become easier now. These cameras can be set up at multiple locations according to your needs and the outputs processed in a single set of monitors set up at a convenient, secure location. Using a multiplexer unit allows you to cycle views of all cameras or view all feeds side by side on your monitors. You can also get wireless cameras which use wireless networks for connection and transmission, and set things up so that the feed from every camera is recorded separately in a computer.


CCTV systems have over time become more versatile, fitting into the growing needs of the modern world with the infusion of new technologies and features. You can now get CCTV cameras fitted with motion sensors, which automatically start recording once motion is detected in an area. Cameras with motorized mounts can move side to side, capturing a wider area during the sweep and allowing you more control over the surveillance feed. Night vision cameras use infrared technology to provide you with imaging capabilities even in the dark or low light scenarios. With these great new features, it is now possible to have a viable security and surveillance solutions no matter what your requirements are. CCTV systems can be scaled up in accordance to your needs, and new features can be creatively used to provide for maximum security when it is needed.

Why you need CCTV

The importance of CCTV systems in the UAE is steadily growing as most areas are beginning to understand the importance of having a reliable monitoring system for added security. The push for a Federal law making CCTV systems mandatory for certain locations is a sign of things to come. The law is supposed to govern the guidelines for installation of CCTV systems, technicalities of monitoring areas and norms relating to storage. It is also supposed to provide guidelines for situations where stored CCTV data can be requisitioned by local authorities for use in legal and criminal matters. In Abu Dhabi, it is estimated that 90% of all important commercial and public areas are already under CCTV cover.

With these developments, and the growing ease with which CCTV security can be installed, you are sure to feel the need to use the power and convenience of CCTV surveillance sooner or later. While basic systems can even be set up as a DIY effort, more complicated and intricate systems can be achieved with professional assistance. Engaging the services of a reputed specialist company allows you to harness the full power of intricate, networked CCTV systems and have in place a trusted, reliable and fail safe monitoring systems that would address most of your security and surveillance needs. Setting up a CCTV network according to local regulations and industry standards also enables you to have footage which might later be admissible in court as important evidence for civil and criminal cases. If you need heightened security and peace of mind, choosing the right CCTV system is the way to go.

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