At a recent ISC West show, I presented this topic to a standing room only crowd of over 200 people and had people lined up at our booth to discuss their covert video applications with me for the next 3 days.
Bottom line, I truly believe that many people are coming to the realization that covert video is a strategy that they need to better understand, and use to deliver the most effective security solutions. I hope that this blog sheds some light on the topic.
Covert Video: Your Secret Weapon
- Where Traditional CCTV Falls Short
- Successful Use of Covert Video Today
- Stopping Business Loss - It’s Not Just Inventory
- Environmental Protection – Covert’s the Solution
- What the Bad Guys Don’t Know…
- The Politically Correct Solution
- Dispelling the Myths of Covert Security
- What You Need to Know
- The Trojan Horse and Other Covert Strategies
- The Basics of Covert Surveillance Gear
- Customizing Your Covert Solution
- Unlimited Options
- Covert Legalities Revisited – Better Safe than Sorry
- The Future of Covert Video
Where Traditional CCTV Falls Short
Often times, the clues of dishonesty or even criminal activity in the workplace are plain to see, but typically difficult to associate with any one particular person. This leaves managers and business owners chalked with nothing but suspicions and no evidence needed to take corrective action.
Wishing the best for their business, managers will act on those suspicions, sometimes resulting in tragedy - with innocent employees being scrutinized, or worse yet… fired! Still unknown to the manager, the guilty person(s) goes free, hibernates for a spell, and later resumes his or her devious acts – while taking home a nice pay check to boot.
These events play out time and time again in businesses and organizations, supposedly safe and secure under the watchful eye of CCTV. While traditional security cameras are often extremely effective in deterring criminal activity by visitors or customers, most CCTV system designs offer only a thin veneer of security against employee related issues.
You might ask, how can this be? And, by the way Jake, don’t you work for a company that sells traditional CCTV? So why are you knocking it?
Well, the answer is yes, I do work for a company that sells traditional CCTV – which is without a doubt a great ally in the war on crime. But when it comes to protecting businesses against many internal security issues, it falls flat on its face due to a couple of fundamental factors.
First of all, when a facilities manager and a dealer/installer are designing a security system, they select the number of cameras and the location of cameras based on two criteria: where crime is likely to occur, and where the people are.
Factoring these two concerns along with an often constrained budget, areas of the facility that house articles of little value or seldom see traffic are rarely even considered for camera locations.
Secondly, the facilities manager and the dealer/installer are not the only ones considering camera locations.Employees with ill intentions spend a great deal of time mapping where cameras are, and more importantly - where they are not. The goal for a company’s bad apples is to find a safe harbor to literally rob the company blind… and that’s exactly what they do.
In fact, according to 2007 National Retail Federation reports, inventory losses by employee theft increased by $41 Billion from 2006 - and that’s just retail. By itself, $41 Billion additional losses is stunning - but it’s even harder to believe after considering that the number and quality of traditional CCTV cameras used in retail has increased in far greater proportion than the percentage of employee inventory loss - which has remained flat at 47%.
To put a stop to inventory loss, one obvious solution is to introduce more traditional CCTV cameras to cover the blind spots. Granted, this would certainly help to some degree, but it’s not likely that every nook and cranny can be covered… and for that matter, who wants to keep people that have the intent to steal or commit crime on the payroll anyhow?
I would argue that a better, more effective approach is to augment traditional CCTV with covert video cameras. Working in concert with traditional CCTV, covert video can be placed in the areas that dishonest employees believe to be free from prying eyes - so that business managers can finally capture evidence of unwanted activity and take corrective action with surgical precision.
Successful Use of Covert Video Today
Covert surveillance systems have long been employed by professionals in the law enforcement and private investigation field, the armed forces, and the media industry, to name a few.
However, some people fail to realize that covert devices have endless capabilities for nearly any commonplace business or home - including personal use for nanny cams, retail businesses employing hidden cameras to nab shoplifters, corporate businesses keeping an eye on employees, and public facilities ensuring the safety of their property.
The law enforcement industry has leveraged covert surveillance equipment for decades, in nearly every facet of operations - from drug enforcement to white-collar crime and interrogations. Increasingly, covert video is being adopted for patrol activities as well – again, to see things as they are in their natural state and to possess irrefutable proof of probable cause for search, arrest and use of force.
And as technology advances allow for smaller and less detectable covert gear, body-worn cameras have become a safer and more common use for undercover situations. Live video feeds transmitted from the covert cameras worn by an undercover officer allow backup forces to respond immediately in the event that the undercover officer runs into trouble.
This also enables backup officers to apprehend the criminals without revealing the true identity of the undercover officer, so that he can.
Covert cameras are commonly affixed to the dashboard of patrol vehicles, primarily to record the pursuit and apprehension of lawbreakers. Hidden cameras are strategically positioned in the back seat of police cars as well, and have captured many unsolicited confessions.
After an apprehension, police will often place two criminals in the back seat of their vehicle, and leave them alone for 20 to 30 minutes. The criminals will inevitably talk with each other during this time, often revealing very important facts about the case or providing incriminating confessions, that so often would be difficult to obtain through traditional interrogation tactics.
Covert surveillance systems are of key importance for environmental and child protection services as well. While it is impossible for wildlife rangers and environmental protection groups to patrol or stake out many remote areas simultaneously, covert cameras triggered by motion detection can now capture illegal events as they occur, such as illegal dumping or misuse of protected land.
Likewise, groups such as the International Justice Mission that work to protect children from illegal child labor or prostitution rings on a national and international scale often use covert surveillance systems to capture this illegal activity. Unfortunately, this video evidence is often the only means to persuade governments of smaller countries to take action against these horrific acts.
Covert surveillance equipment is increasingly leveraged by our military as well. Remote operating vehicles (ROVs), are commonly outfitted with miniature cameras to remotely observe dangerous areas before entering or conducting a strike. And Supercircuits has sold many covert solutions to parents of and members of our military to mount on the end of rifles, allowing soldiers to see around corners - preventing many hostile and potentially deadly encounters with enemy forces.
Seeing things as they truly are is a huge benefit of covert video that has calmed the nerves of many worried parents as they leave their little ones in the sole care of nannies and babysitters. No matter how nice the caregiver appears to be, or how well the parents know them, there is always the slight but terrible fear that things could be amiss.
Acting on these feelings by questioning a caregiver’s integrity could possibly end a relationship with a wonderful caring person. To calm their fears but avoid this potential mess, parents commonly install covert cameras that give them a pristine view of activities without consequence - making covert a very powerful tool for home use as well.
Stopping Business Loss – It’s Not Just Inventory
Historically, inventory loss has been the primary focus of most security professionals, as it can have a sizable and very measurable impact on any business. However, there are a number of other major sources of loss or inefficiency that have been increasingly gaining equal amounts of attention.
The first is productivity loss. According to the latest numbers on Websense, productivity loss cost US businesses over $187 Billion annually due to web surfing alone. And we all know that extended employee conversations or just plain slackness may cost businesses a whole lot more.
Covert video allows managers to monitor employee behavior in a natural environment, and quietly address non-productive work-habits without significantly impacting the general culture.
Another source of loss for business is poor customer service. Putting a dollar figure on lost business due to poor treatment is very difficult, but several studies conclude that only 1 out of every 6 people that have poor experience will bother to bring it to the business’ attention and will go onto to tell eight or more of the friends about the experience.
Given these known losses businesses have again embraced covert video as a tool to see things as they are and use the rich information to improve training and hiring procedures that refine their teams to a highly efficient level all the while making a lasting and good experience for their customers.
Environmental Protection – Covert’s the Solution
Another strong attribute of covert video is its unparalleled ability to catch criminal activities while saving sometimes several millions of dollars in payroll expenditures.
A good example is in the field of environmental law enforcement. Illegal dumping of trash and chemicals is a hot button issues these days, and one of the hardest crimes to solve and prosecute. While dumpers tend to frequent the same comfortable locations, the occurrences are relatively infrequent - making it unaffordable and therefore nearly impossible to police with the traditional means of posting officers at these locations.
As a recent example, the Travis County Sheriff Departments (Austin, TX) Environmental Enforcement Division operates with a very limited staff of five and was tasked with covering a booming Texas sized county.
Wanting to maximize the effectiveness of their group, they utilized covert video technology in the form of a Watchbox - from Supercircuits. (The Watchbox is a benign looking utility enclosure that is typically mounted on electric poles.) Travis County’s version of the Watchbox contains powerful low light cameras with high end optics, coupled to a DVR.
With the Watchbox in place, Travis County is able to remotely monitor dump sites and be instantly alerted when activity occurs, allowing the personnel to attend to multiple investigations simultaneously. After one of their numerous successful investigations, a Travis County investigator had this to say about covert video, “If it weren’t for this camera system, we would still be trying to catch this guy.”
What the Bad Guys Don’t Know
According to the FBI, 87% of all burglaries go unsolved… a very discouraging statistic for any business or home owner. As a former peace officer, I’ve been to countless crime scenes and know all too well the sick feeling of having no leads to follow - and to be honest, very little hope to offer to the victims of their valuables and damages ever being recovered.
If only the home or business owners would have had some form of video surveillance installed, the odds of catching the crooks and the level of hope would have been dramatically improved.
However, simply having video surveillance in the traditional sense is no reason for homeowners to be at ease. Here again, traditional CCTV should be augmented by covert video. Professional burglars have come to expect and look for traditional CCTV, and when committing the act, they simply disable the obvious cameras by spray painting them, destroying them, cutting their cables, or they simply avoid them by taking approaches that lack surveillance.
On the other hand, if covert video is used along with traditional CCTV, they have no thoughts to avoid or destroy these cameras - setting them up for a nice mug shot before they ever get to the police station.
Banks are latching onto this philosophy as well. Bank managers are tired of being robbed - while the traditional CCTV cameras only offer an electronic means of documenting the events. Today, bad guys don’t see traditional CCTV as a barrier to robbing a bank, they simply don’t look up, wear a ball cap or a hood. However, when covert cameras are used, the bad guys have no idea where not to look.
The Politically Correct Solution
The ability to identify and catch the bad guy is without question the most popular reason that businesses, homeowners and law enforcement turn to covert video. However, we have seen an increasing number of our customers turn to covert for a completely different reason – covert’s ability to NOT offend.
By now, most people will find it quite common to walk into a local retailer only to be greeted by a large public display monitor, and a network of video cameras hanging over every aisle. However, there are a number of large national retail chain stores that are taking a different approach – where the plethora of traditional CCTV is noticeably missing.
These chain stores have expressed their sensitivity to a negative customer sentiment that big brother is watching. In this day and age these stores still need the protection that video offers, and they find the balance with covert video.
Similarly, upscale homes, restaurants, libraries and museums want to minimize the staring eye of CCTV and do not want any electronics to detract from the posh decorum they’ve worked hard to create. They often find covert video as the right balance of providing a very effective security solution while leaving visitors to focus on the intended atmosphere.
Dispelling the Myths of Covert Security
One might wonder - if covert video is such a powerful tool, then why isn’t every business taking advantage of it? That’s a great question, with a common answer.
The traditional line of thinking by many a business is that its employees would perceive covert security cameras as a violation of privacy. This is certainly a reasonable thought – but one that isn’t supported by any readily available formal studies and/or surveys that I am aware of.
To find the answer, I have spent considerable time throughout my travels over the past year questioning people from all professions at all levels about this very subject. I find that the vast majority of people have a very similar response.
Let me provide an example of the general consensus, from an interaction just days ago with a gentleman working at a hotel gift shop. I asked him, “Would you be offended to learn that throughout the gift shop there were hidden security cameras watching you?” After a thoughtful pause he replied, “No. As a matter of fact I would like that. It would make me feel even more secure. After all, there are already cameras in here. And if something did occur or something went missing, then I know my boss wouldn’t suspect me.”
Another huge misconception is that the use of covert video is illegal. This is completely false. The spirit of almost all laws and regulations around this topic state that you cannot use any type of video cameras (hidden or not) in places where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy - such as restrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms etc.
Conversely, if the area in question is a public place - for example a sales floor, a production line, a warehouse or parking lot, a cash office, or generally any place that people keep their clothes on, then use of video surveillance is acceptable.
As a general rule, it is acceptable to use covert video cameras in any location where it is acceptable and legal to use traditional (overt) video cameras. Period.
Finally, I have found that some people are hesitant to use covert video because they believe and/or have heard that covert cameras are difficult to use. That is understandable, because it WAS difficult to use. Today, however, is a different story.
As companies like Apple with their iPod set new benchmarks for usability of consumer technology, other industries are quickly following – including the security world. On screen set-up menus for both video cameras and recorders are now so easy to use that my nine year old boy has installed a complete covert system in minutes, with no instruction other than “Son, make it work.”
Today’s covert video is not only easy to use, it is fully integratable with traditional CCTV power supplies and recorders.
What You Need to Know
Whether you are a potential consumer of covert video or a professional installer, there are several things you should consider before selecting the covert gear for the job. Here are a few key questions that I have found to be most useful.
1. Who is the suspect?
Sometimes clues left at the scene point to just one person. Other times, just knowing whether or not the suspect is a visitor, customer or employee will help. For visitors and customers, you will likely not need to be as secretive about where the surveillance equipment is hidden.
Employees, on the other hand, are very suspicious of any new item introduced to the area – and I always recommend sharing your covert plans with as few people as possible.
2. What is the activity?
Does that activity happen very quickly - like that of an employee stealing money from the till? This will help determine what kind of recorder should be used, and how long of recording time can be expected.
3. When is the activity occurring?
If it is at night time, special low light pinhole cameras can be used to see in extremely low light levels – complete darkness to the human eye. Additional light can be added with infrared illuminators if necessary, that is still outside the frequency of light that the human eye can detect. However, you can typically see quite well in the dark using day/night and b/w cameras.
4. Where is the activity occurring?
Along with this question, you need to ask where the camera is going to be in reference to the area of concern. Depending on the location of the activity and the camera, special telephoto micro lenses may be needed to gather small but important details.
5. What are your goals in using covert video?
If the goal is simply to identify someone at a certain place and time, that can usually be accomplished with a single camera. But if your objective is to collect sufficient evidence to prosecute the offender, multiple cameras may be needed so that important elements of the crime are captured, without question as to the intent. It makes for a solid case when you can get on camera a person purposely looking to ensure no one is looking and then committing the act.
The Trojan Horse and Other Covert Strategies
While you are gathering details about the mission at hand, also consider what kind of Trojan horse should be used. What I mean by that is what kind of article can be introduced into the environment that will hold the surveillance gear without attracting attention.
In certain environments, there is no suitable Trojan horse - as anything new would be out of place. In those instances where your options are limited, look for existing fixtures that could house equipment. For example: posters, paintings, furniture, drapery, ceiling tile - all of these make for good potential housings.
Because it makes installation fast and quick, wireless video transmitting devices are often used for covert surveillance. However, some environments may have a lot of RF interference or the building may have thick concrete walls that make sending wireless signals back to a CCTV room difficult. If this is the case, you will need to look for what I call 3R locations (Receiving-Recording-Repeating).
3R locations can be any place near the area of concern where wireless receiving and recording equipment can be secured. In office applications, broom closets are a perfect candidate. Other good 3R locations may be a void behind ceiling tiles, or better yet, a desk drawer that can be locked.
You may want to consider repeating the information – or setting up a system that sends a second signal that can be monitored remotely without requiring access to the area of concern or the 3R location itself.
This is typically very important so as to not raise suspicion that an area is being watched. Repeating the information can be as simple as using another wireless video transmitting device that leap frogs to a final destination, or using an IP video server connected to a LAN that allows for easy monitoring.
Finally, if you really want to put the nail in the coffin, look for funneling opportunities. As I mentioned earlier, your traditional CCTV system creates a funneling effect, where bad apples find the dark corners of buildings or other areas that fall outside of your camera view to commit their dirty deeds.
This is the perfect opportunity to place a covert video camera, to catch indisputable evidence of the bad guys in the act to get rid of them once and for all. We have found that this funneling effect works so well that some businesses (that have been without cameras altogether) are now installing traditional CCTV just so they could create smaller areas to focus their surveillance attention.
The Basics of Covert Surveillance Gear
Ready-to-install covert video surveillance gear, pre-packaged in a Trojan horse, can be broken up into three basic categories:
1. Wired devices
Whenever possible, it is always best to use a hard wired device. This delivers the strongest and uninterrupted video signal, and helps to ensure that the video signal will be recorded. However, the trade-off for running both the necessary power and video wires does translate to extra time and expense, and is best for permanent applications.
If this is the right approach for you, then consider choosing the Trojan Horse that people naturally associate with having wires, such as exit signs, flood lights, fire alarms, PIR sensors, loud speakers, ceiling speakers, motion lights, computer speakers, etc… In some cases, these disguises work so well that the installation can be done right in front of the suspects.
Trojan Horses that use wireless transmitters to send video information are without question the hardest to detect. Most of these devices are products that normally use 120 volts, such as clock radios, air purifiers, boom boxes, etc.
The covert surveillance gear inside the enclosure shares the power pulled by the device. The installation of a wireless device consists of setting it down and plugging it in… it’s that’s easy. The video signal is then sent to a receiver, where it can be monitored and recorded remotely.
These devices are so easy to use, that sometimes the suspects end up doing the installation for you.
Let me give you an example: Back in the nineties, I was working with some narcotics investigators who had rented a house in a seedy area to entrap local drug dealers. They had installed countless hidden video cameras so that they could purchase drugs, capture video evidence, and later make a sweeping arrest.
One night, while they were out on another investigation, they came back to the house to find that it had been burglarized. The crooks took the typical pawnable items such as the TV, microwave, VCR and the clock radio - which happened to have, you guessed it, surveillance gear inside.
The investigators recognized the golden opportunity and just looked at each other and smiled. They grabbed a video receiver and small monitor, and proceeded to drive around the neighborhood until they picked up the video signal that allowed them to see and hear inside the crook’s house. Wow! The bad guys sure got a surprise that night.
3. Self Contained
Now we are getting closer to the “James Bond” type of surveillance gear.These devices have a camera, power and recorder all in one self-contained package. Installation typically consists of slapping it up on a wall or ceiling and walking away.
These stealthy devices come in all shapes and sizes, come complete with motion detection, can run for days on a single battery, and will capture up to 4 hrs of video evidence. And they won’t break the bank.
Customizing Your Covert Solution
For environments where ready-made covert systems cannot be installed, components are available that allow for a customized solution – to install inside of existing fixtures or the building structure itself. Below are five major component categories that can be configured to meet even the more challenging covert needs.
1. Pinhole Cameras
The name speaks for itself. Pinhole cameras need only a small pinhole to see through, and come in varying shapes and sizes. The most important element to consider when selecting a pinhole camera for your need is the lens. Pinhole camera lenses are available two basic versions:
Flat Pinhole - Best used for thinner materials such as paper and fabric.
Conical Pinhole - These lenses are cone shaped, and have made embedding pinhole cameras in thicker material like drywall, drop tile ceilings and cardboard very simple. These only require a hole measuring less than a 1/16th of inch in diameter.
NOTE: A good test as to whether a pinhole camera was installed correctly is if the installer himself cannot find the lens hole. This is very achievable, and ensures there will be no discovery by the bad guy.
The two most popular devices used today to record covert video are:
Traditional DVRs - These full featured devices are of incredible value, and will pay for themselves in a very short period of time. When selecting the DVR that’s right for you, consider four main factors: resolution, frame rate, available camera channels and remote monitoring capabilities.
Micro DVRs - These miniature versions are an investigator’s dream come true. Most are smaller than pack of cigarettes, but record at full D1 resolution and thirty frames per second. Export of the video is normally via USB and/or SD Card. Thanks to their small size and intuitive on screen menus, performing covert video surveillance is easy.
Although the recording capacity is not on par with their larger counterparts, their shorter recording times (limited by battery life) are managed by built-in video motion detectors. They will lay dormant for weeks on end and only record when activity occurs.
Please keep in mind that traditional DVRs and Micro DVRs are the most popular, but clearly not the only way to record covert video. Hybrid DVRs and NVRs (Network Video Recorders) reach out across networks to record video from IP cameras. In the near future, the popularity of recorders will shift to these Hybrids and NVRs - even in the covert world - as IP video is increasingly used for covert cameras.
Wireless components are defined by licensing and frequency.
Licensing - The most popular devices used for covert applications are Part 15 FCC approved which means that no license is required for use. The range of these devices is in between 300 feet and 1 mile line of sight. If more range is needed there are other devices that offer more power and are FCC approved under Part 90 but will require a FCC license for use.
Frequency - The two most popular frequency options today are 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. Both frequencies provide ample range and plenty of bandwidth to transmit high resolution video signals.
When you are trying to decide which frequency should be used for a given application, you should consider which frequency the Wi-Fi operates on in the area of concern. If the Wi-Fi is 801.11 b or g (2.4GHz) then use 5.8GHz to transmit video.
Conversely if the Wi-Fi is 802.11 a or n (5.8GHz) then use 2.4GHz to transmit the video. Keeping the wireless video and Wi-Fi operation on different frequency ranges will help ensure seamless operation of both the Wi-Fi and covert surveillance equipment.
One point of caution concerning range: Wireless devices in almost all industries (including video) are quoted line of sight - so that products can be compared on an equal plane. While this helps to define how one device performs against another, it does not indicate how far it will transmit through obstructions such as walls and furniture.
The basic rule of thumb that I use is to cut the line of sight range at least in half, if not more, for non-line of sight applications. This general rule of thumb has served me very well, but at times obstructions such as thick concrete walls will cut the range to a 1/3 of the line of sight range. In these cases you may need to take advantage of a 3R location.
Criminals love the sense of privacy they get from darkness. If your goals are to catch criminals (vs. deter them), then you need to augment covert video cameras with infrared illumination - that is very visible to the camera but invisible to the human eye. However, not all infrared illuminators are undetectable.
IR illuminators that work on 750nm and 880nm emit a red glow, and will definitely alert bad guys that someone is watching them. The frequency of choice for a covert application should be 940nm, which is so far out of the human eye’s spectral response that it emits no visible signature (i.e. no red glow).
There are three main options to supply power to covert gear:
Mains Power - Using mains power usually involves connecting small power supplies to 120 volt outlets – which in turn will provide 12 volts to the covert devices. The benefit of using this option is an infinite run time - so long as you have a way to conceal this power supply and the cables to the covert gear, it is an excellent and frequently used option.
Battery Power - Battery power is great for body worn applications, and for temporary placement of fixed covert gear. The downside is that batteries’ run time is finite and will require visits to the camera to swap out batteries - increasing potential discovery of the equipment.
To minimize visits, video consultants should be able to provide batteries that offer a run time anywhere between 8 hours and several days. When purchasing rechargeable batteries it is recommend that you obtain a duplicate so that one battery can always be charging while the other is in use.
Alternative Power - Although solar cells stick out like a sore thumb and cannot be hidden in order for them to work, they can sometimes be introduced as if they are for another item that is perceived as benign.
For rural applications, camouflaged and flexible solar cells are available that blend into wood areas and can be wrapped around the limbs of trees. For remote applications, hydrogen fuel cell and propane generators are also available - which are small, quiet and some can even be buried.
One of the common misconceptions of covert video is that options are limited which could not be further from the truth. Nearly every feature that traditional CCTV cameras offer is available with covert cameras such as:
- Wide Dynamic Imagers
- IP and Wi-Fi
- Remote On/Off
The Legalities Revisited – Better Safe than Sorry
As mentioned earlier, covert video is absolutely legal – but you must adhere to the same privacy laws that you would for larger style traditional cameras.
Please keep in mind - although the general spirit of most state laws is that cameras cannot be placed in areas that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, these laws do vary and you should always consult legal counsel if there is any question.
The use of microphones in a covert application is also a concern. Current interpretations of Federal wire tapping laws prevent the manufacturing, sale, purchase and possession of any covert device that includes microphones. The only exception granted to this law is for law enforcement and government entities.
Note: The State of North Carolina has laws preventing the sale, manufacturing and use of safety devices that have been modified. Using covert video products that are disguised in smoke detectors, exit signs, fire sprinklers etc… are illegal.
I believe that North Carolina is the only state with such laws, but I do recommend checking with your state laws for good measure. In the case that your state does not allow the use of such devices, there are plenty of alternative devices that will still have the desired effect.
Future of Covert Video
For the past eight years, Supercircuits has held the Guinness Book World’s Record for having the smallest video camera and the smallest wireless video camera. This year we have added yet another record, introducing an even smaller camera that measures just 0.18” in diameter.
We are just making it plain scary for bad guys. Being personally involved in the development of smaller cameras, I can assure you that the smaller sizes will continue to come to market. As one local Fox News video journalist put it, “One day you will have to be careful were you sneeze as you might blow away the camera.” Perhaps he is right, and if he is, a little Velcro can always help solve the problem.
Currently, the super high resolution megapixel video cameras are too big for most covert applications. However, like more normal video cameras, the size will become smaller very soon. As soon it does, megapixel will be quickly introduced as a covert video option - and I believe that it will eventually become standard technology.
By year’s end, Supercircuits will likely have tackled the biggest limitation in technology available for covert video applications - power. We are currently working on video cameras that will be available in a wireless package, and will have a run time of one year on just 8 AA batteries.
I also foresee a continued increase in demand for covert video, as more and more businesses understand its unique capabilities to remove internal problems - versus just pushing the problem around. Enabling the increase in demand is the continued increase in social acceptance of covert video. Younger generations are seeing covert video as the unbiased advocate – well, at least the ones with a clear conscience. As for the bad guys, their days are numbered.