CIOs to turn night watchmen

The responsibility for maintaining security is nothing new for most company CIOs, but to date that has traditionally been limited to securing the network. Increasingly, however, physical security is being added to their remit.

However, this is not the start of seeing CIOs kitted out in uniforms and equipped with flashlights. This is all about closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras; in particular, the growing trend to run them over IP networks. Back in 2004, London Luton Airport implemented a landmark roll-out of IP CCTV cameras. It replaced 180 analogue cameras with 70 new IP ones, all streaming video across the airport's existing LAN/WAN infrastructure.

More recently the UK's Highways Agency has detailed plans to roll out a voice over IP network that will integrate with CCTV cameras to bolster traffic management. This is on top of its £1.9 million plan to increase IP CCTV coverage across the England and Wales motorway network.

Meanwhile Westminster Council has got telecoms and services giant BT on board to help it roll out WiFi networks across the district. Part of the plan includes generating a WiFi cloud that covers the entire metropolitan borough. But this also includes the intention to introduce IP CCTV cameras across the district, making use of the WiFi network. "The Wireless City [initiative] will benefit those who live and work in Westminster by improving the street environment through the reduction of crime and disorder," says Simon Milton, leader of Westminster City Council.

The promise of IP CCTV is to make digitised security videos that are easy to search and store. Indeed, the vendors of IP CCTV systems are keen to stress the cost savings that can be achieved by running the cameras. Some of the devices are capable of using power over Ethernet, making them cheap to install and run.

But not all CIOs have welcomed the development. As ever, the overhead of maintaining these devices, and taking responsibility for storing the information, looks like adding to the already over-burdened CIO. Few CIOs will have started their careers with the intention of becoming security guards.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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