The Emergence of SMART CCTV in Scotland



Date and time: 24th April 2014. (14:45-16:15)

Authors: William Webster and Charles Leleux

The Emergence of SMART CCTV in Scotland

In the last few years, there has been increasing reference to the rise of SMART surveillance systems and specifically SMART CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television). Typically, these systems combine visual surveillance with computerised algorithms and networked technologies, in order to identify and track objects and predict patterns, for example human identification via face recognition and human behaviour via object tracking, profiling and analysis. They are perceived to be more ‘intelligent’ and consequently more effective than ‘traditional’ CCTV cameras and systems. However, whilst the emergence of these SMART technologies has gained a lot of attention, little is known about the actual deployment of such systems, their prevalence or technological capability. Moreover, it is also the case that there is no agreed definition about what constitutes ‘SMART’ CCTV and what distinguishes SMART CCTV from old-fashioned ( and presumably ‘dumb’) CCTV. In the proposed paper, we will provide a critical analysis of the development of SMART CCTV in public places in Scotland. This will include; a review of published literature on SMART CCTV, including academic and practitioner materials; the development of a typology of SMART CCTV systems, to capture the different facets of smartness; an assessment of the driving forces behind the development of SMART CCTV; and, a reflection on the sematic use of the term ‘smart’, especially in relation to policy discourse and technological diffusion. The paper will also provide a first opportunity to report on a survey of SMART CCTV development by local authorities in Scotland. This survey is to be conduced in spring/summer 2013 and is designed to provide a ‘factual’ base-line of developments in the provision of SMART CCTV in Scotland. Greater knowledge about the development and diffusion of SMART CCTV will provide important insights into the evolution of these technologies and the degree to which relevant regulatory and accountability mechanisms, public discourse and awareness, and the management of these systems are ‘in-tune’ with the speed of technological change.

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