UK expert launches security camera evaluation service

Oct. 28, 2008
VIPER service tells end users what's wrong with and how to improve their surveillance

Doktor Jon, an English video surveillance expert, is on a quest to separate the wheat from the chafe in terms of surveillance video. He announced this week a new service called VIPER; the service offers input and critiques on camera placement for creating evidence-quality video captures.

Jon has a pension for clandestine operations; he says this when asked about his real name: "My actual identity is only know to a very few people, either in government or law enforcement circles here in the UK." But despite his secrecy, Jon says he picked up the nickname in the 1980s when "bringing dead cameras back to life on high security sites."

What he doesn't want to be clandestine, of course, is good quality video surveillance.

"For quite some time, it’s become increasingly obvious that vast numbers of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security cameras, are failing to produce any useful Evidential Quality video recordings, when required to assist with criminal investigations," wrote Jon in announcing his VIPER CCTV evaluation service. "Time and again, both senior police officers and industry experts have revealed to the press, the everyday problems facing investigators trying to recover poor quality images, often obtained from incorrectly installed and maintained surveillance cameras."

As such, he's offering to end users the ability to send in a JPEG capture from their surveillance system, and based on that single image, Doktor Jon says he will offer them an assessment of the basic parameters of how that camera is set up and recorded.

"As for VIPER itself, the standard VIPER 1 report is indeed based on a single image from a camera, which is then assessed to see what's good, what's bad, what needs to be addressed, and within the limitations of a single static image, what should ideally be done to improve the images suitability purely from a forensic surveillance perspective," said Jon. "It is not intended to evaluate the other parameters contained within DISE [his way of measuring system parameters on Deterrence, Incident monitoring, Site management and Evidential Recording], but simply establish whether the picture is 'fit for purpose' in terms of evidential use, either for proceeding an investigation, or possible submission into court.

Jon says the service is designed to be very affordable and is really just to answer the simple question of "Is my surveillance footage good enough." The remote nature of being able to look at a JPEG keeps travel out of the equation, making the service appropriate worldwide, he says. Clients are returned a assessment information sheet on their camera for reviewing their systems' results.

While his first VIPER assessment offering is designed for fixed cameras, Doktor Jon says he has plans in the works for VIPER assessments for lighting conditions and PTZs as well. He stresses that the VIPER service can be offered completely anonymously, such that he won't even know which camera this is or where it's located, since he's simply basing reports off a JPEG capture.

More info:
Doktor Jon's VIPER service

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