An Internet protocol camera, or IP camera, is a type of digital video camera commonly employed for surveillance, and which, unlike analog closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, can send and receive data via a computer network and the Internet. Although most cameras that do this are webcams, the term “IP camera” or “netcam” is usually applied only to those used for surveillance.

There are two kinds of IP cameras:

Centralized IP cameras, which require a central network video recorder (NVR) to handle the recording, video and alarm management.

Decentralized IP cameras, which do not require a central NVR, as the cameras have recording function built-in and can thus record directly to any standard storage media, such as SD cards, NAS (network-attached storage) or a PC/server.

Picture quality are usually very sharp and accessing speed is fast unlike the analogue cameras

In the literature on the operation and effects of closed-circuit television (CCTV), attention has focused on the roles of human actors in surveillance practices. This article argues that, in addition, the role of technical artefacts in shaping surveillance should be taken into account. Through an empirical case study of centralized CCTV, the construction and operation of surveillance from the perspective of the technical, material design of the socio-technical network of video surveillance are explored. The analysis suggests that the application of complex technologies for camera surveillance does not simply augment but also limits the realization of targeted observations. This insight contributes to studies of CCTV and theories of surveillance concerned with analysing the surveillance capacities of contemporary surveillance practices.

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