Monday, 24 August 2009

CCTV in Second Life?

If you thought you couldn't go anywhere without being captured on CCTV, you may just be right! Now it appears you aren't even safe online, in the virtual world of Second Life.

Second Life, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is a computer game played online which enables you to create a virtual representation of yourself (an avatar) and interact with other avatars in a computer-generated world. Players can buy virtual land and construct things including large things like buildings and landscapes and smaller things like furniture, clothing and art.

Thousands of people have built entire cities in Second Life and even blue-chip corporations have got into the action.

Now CCTV consultant Simon Lambert has joined in by creating a virtual CCTV control room. The objective he says is to allow him to test out design concepts for CCTV control rooms and share them with his clients.

You can walk through the room, seeing the position of walls, doors, desks and display walls and make changes in real-time. In a recent "open house" session, Simon demonstrated the concept by moving walls and repositioning furniture to demonstrate the impact of enlarging a server room.

I admit, I'm a bit of a techno-geek and after two hours, I had to pry myself away from the computer. However, even for the less technologically enclined among you out there, I can see how this might help you. Simon designed the control room from CAD drawings of a customer's site, something which you or your consultant could do. With a common reference site, easily accessible online, you could both collaborate in real-time in trying out different configurations. Your colleagues could be invited for a tour, to preview the design, test drive the facilities and offer their comments as well.

And best of all, if you don't like it, you can scrap it and start again, with nothing lost.

You can read about my visit to Simon's control room in the next issue of CCTV Image (issue 35), due out at the end of September. Visit where you can subscribe to the magazine or download a copy in PDF format when it's published.