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12.12.2022

Why is accurate Time important for CCTV (Video Surveillance) & Access Control?

Almost all video surveillance recording for security and monitoring purposes is ultimately carried out to provide a visual and sometimes audible record of events.
CCTV_Camera_Time Synchronization

This can ultimately prove what happened. But in order to know exactly when something happened, it needs a reliable time.

For recordings to be admissible as evidence, such recordings must be probative.  It requires various requirements, such as verifiable audit trails, controlled access to the recordings, and digital encryption to protect against tampering. Modern video recording systems from reputable manufacturers include such functions.

However, something as mundane as incorrect clock settings can occasionally be let down by the most advanced high-end CCTV installations. Many DVR systems are PC-based, and PC-based clocks are notorious for drifting. Furthermore, the recordings of a CCTV system become virtually useless for evidential purposes if you cannot prove that the time on the recordings is correct. In the worst-case scenario, someone might not be convicted of an offense because it could not be proven precisely when it occurred.

Master clocks that serve as master reference time servers are standard in high-end installations. However, most smaller systems hardly have a reference time server due to such systems’ high cost and relative complexity.

The established standard for communicating time is NTP (Network Time Protocol). There are many publicly accessible NTP time servers on the internet. Still, high-security video surveillance systems are usually not directly connected to the internet but are located in closed networks.

“NTS IT is our time server, specifically designed for CCTV and access control.”

To address the critical need for a simple, cost-effective, accurate, and traceable NTP master time server for digital video surveillance applications and access control, MOBATIME develops the NTS IT time server. This time server comes with a single GNSS receiver and can be operated via a web application. This NTP server is inexpensive and easy to use.

NTS IT is designed for efficiency and simplicity, requiring only an IP address to be set up. After commissioning, it automatically provides time signals derived from a reliable GNSS satellite system. These GNSS satellite systems have reference atomic clocks and are the best possible source.

NTS IT can be used with any network device that supports the NTP protocol. Therefore, it can be used for alarm systems, access control systems, fire alarm systems, intrusion detection systems, traditional analogue CCTV, and modern digital IP video systems. NTS IT has a low power consumption (less than 2 W), so there are hardly any energy costs.