Company timeline and the history of CCTV

1940’s | CCTV first used

During the Second World War CCTV was used in Germany for the purpose of observing rocket launches in 1942. From here on in, CCTV and remote monitoring have been used for a variety of reasons – not simply for protection against intruders or criminal activity. In fact, the US started using CCTV in 1945 to observe nuclear weapon tests from a safe distance.

1960’s | Cameras used to monitor crowds in UK cities

The MET installed two temporary cameras for crowd control purposes when the Thai royal family arrived in July 1960. We’re familiar with CCTV on the underground and in buses all over the UK. But when video surveillance was first used at a London transport train station in 1961 it was a big step towards making public transport secure.

Throughout the 1960’s cities across the UK trialled monitored CCTV systems. Liverpool police experimented with four hidden CCTV cameras in 1964. Leeds Transport Police rolled out 9 CCTV cameras in City Centre locations complete with a modern CCTV monitoring station in Swineshead. However, trails were largely unsuccessful for rollout in public spaces due to the high cost of cabling at the time.

1970’s | CCTV used to protect banks

In the 1970s, CCTV became a more and more popular solution to manage business security at high risk sites such as banks and department stores.

1988 | CCTV used by local authorities

Throughout the 1980s, experiments with CCTV continued and following a successful test in Bournemouth in 1985, the first use of public space CCTV by local government was rolled out in Kings Lynn, Norfolk in 1987.

Whether it was for monitoring public protests, for security on public transport or for crowd-control at sporting events, CCTV monitoring was solidifying itself as a part of the UK’s security. By 1988, video surveillance systems were widely used by local authorities to monitor council housing projects, parking lots and some used street-based CCTV to monitor crowds,  traffic control and even motorways.

1996 | Farsight Security Services Ltd is established

In 1996, the founders of Farsight saw potential for an event driven CCTV remote monitoring station. This was a segment of the security industry that was still very much in its infancy and Farsight led the way in providing a new type of private security.

Event driven remote monitoring would provide security that came into action when a threat was perceived, allowing private sites to make the most of CCTV and its benefits as a cost effective security measure to protect their business premises, assets and people.

1998 | Development of a unified platform

As an ongoing innovative force in the security industry, Farsight took their position as one of the UK’s first CCTV remote monitoring providers and continued to develop further security solutions for individuals and businesses across the UK.

A big part of this innovation was the development of a unified platform, which even to this day positions Farsight as an industry-leader. The platform help Farsight overcome the difficulty of having numerous pieces of remote monitoring software to manage.

Each manufacturer of security systems hardware has their own software that needs to be installed and mastered by security operators. Instead, the unified platform is compatible with the vast majority of surveillance equipment. Thus eliminating the need for complex software processes that also lengthen the installation time.

1999 | Moved into The Farsight Observatory

The Farsight Observatory, located in Peterborough, was the UK’s first purpose built remote video response centre (RVRC). This huge investment in the security industry meant that Farsight was continuing to lead the way in CCTV remote monitoring and showed that the industry was continuing to grow.

This state of the art remote monitoring facility, packed with the latest technology, gave Farsight the space and security to continue to grow its service offerings and its specialist teams. To this day, the Farsight Observatory allows us to maintain a leading position in the UK remote security industry and manage the remote security needs of thousands of business.

2001 | Developed the industry-leading method for dealing with alarms

From its very first days in 1996, Farsight has always put its customers and their security first. That’s why, in 2001, Farsight worked with their customers to develop the best possible way to deal with alarms.

The process involved working closely with customers and the very latest technology to understand what was expected from a remote monitoring station. The results are still in place today: Farsight answers alarms far quicker than the industry average, with 96% of alarms being responded to in under 90 seconds with operators studying alarm images for longer to identify the true cause of an alarm. To this day these features set Farsight apart from their competitors.

2002 | Introduction of the two-week soak test

The installation of a new security surveillance system is a complex job and sometimes a system may not be optimised. That’s why Farsight introduced a two-week soak test in 2002.

The soak test takes place for 14 days after a new security system is installed, during which Farsight will evaluate the performance of the system and whether they can offer an effective security service. You can find out more about the installation process in our article ‘Bringing a new site to Farsight’.

2003 | Web portal access provided to customers

The web portal was rolled out to allow clients to monitor how Farsight is performing and whether alarms are being answered quickly and effectively: another innovative development by Farsight that promotes  trust in security and unparalleled transparency in our communication.

2004 | Farsight expands through acquisition of remote monitoring business

In 2004, Farsight acquired Bedfordshire based remote monitoring security company, Sandy Security. This acquisition allowed Farsight to grow and expand its client base by adding new services such as access control, systems control and out-of-hours call centre services.

As a result of this growth, Farsight recognised and responded to the need for a specialised department that would give clients a single point of contact to integrate their security needs into one solution – bringing together access control, CCTV, alarm monitoring and call centre services.

2005 | Farsight became the UK’s first BS8418 compliant RVRC

The British Standard 8418 means that Farsight is recognised as a remote monitoring centre that fully complies with the CCTV and monitoring code of practice.

It means Farsight complies with privacy measures, commissioning requirements, health and safety protocol and CCTV performance. You can read more about BS8418 in the BSIA’s guide for installers.

2005 | Automatic reporting is introduced

To provide complete transparency and an easily accessible way for clients to monitor performance, Farsight introduced automatic reporting.

This means that clients can receive a report as regularly as they want, or just on an ad hoc basis, that shows how many alarms are raised and how they are dealt with.

Not only that but the automatic reporting allows Farsight to monitor the performance of their security operators, meaning they are always at the top of their game and efficiency is a focal point.

2007 | Farsight joins the Optex group

As part of Optex’s business mission to become the world’s most reliable and effective provider of security products and solutions, Farsight joined the Optex group in 2007.

To this day the independent ownership has been a fruitful one, with innovation leading the way and a continued focus on providing exceptional security for customers.

2009 | The Farsight ‘Package Deal’ is launched

Our unique Package Deal offers free detection equipment for the installers when an annual monitoring contract is finalised – making the deal a unique offering in the security industry.

You can find out more about our current security installer offers here.

2010 | Farsight launch lone worker protection services

A main health and safety concern for many businesses is the protection of their lone workers. In 2010, Farsight recognised their services could provide an effective lone worker protection solution with the use of a lone worker protection device.

Since 2012, the service has been a popular one with businesses in many industries turning to Farsight to help with their health and safety compliance.

2011 | Farsight provide a one-stop shop for Fire and Intruder monitoring

Farsight began offering CCTV, intruder and fire monitoring from one, central location in 2011, and thus became compliant with the BS5979 standard.

Of course, remote CCTV monitoring & Fire and Intruder Alarm monitoring go hand in glove.  Farsight’s ability to handle both in-house gives many of our clients the peace of mind that we can protect, prevent and partner with them to ensure their premises, assets and people are safe.

2012 | Farsight launch a Customer Portal and new website

With a brand new website and a dedicated customer portal, Farsight were again setting the standard in the security industry.

The customer web portal was designed to include Farsight’s fault tracking system: an industry leading system that allows customers (end-users) and installers (those who maintain the system) to monitor the health of a security system. When Farsight recognises a fault with a security system, this fault will be flagged up on the system until it is resolved.

2013 | Farsight are able to monitor sites via 3G

The Farsight team worked closely with a mobile SIM card retailer after SIM card providers stopped using static IP addresses. Farsight was quick to identify the potential issues with this and took immediate action. Their solution to ensure a 3G service could still be used for remote monitoring was to ensure a SIM card had a static IP address, which Farsight could use to connect to security equipment.

2014 | The Farsight Observatory is renovated

The Farsight Observatory underwent a fantastic renovation to provide an exceptional working environment for the Farsight teams.

With the renovation complete, Farsight’s state of the art home  now has custom designed monitoring stations for our operator teams with capacity of 15 security operators working at once per shift, plus our admin teams. We have plenty of room to grow too!

2015 | SureSight and InSight CCTV Packages are introduced and YourSight is launched

We introduced SureSight and InSight, along with their corresponding ‘plus’ package deals, to provide installers with an easy-to-manage solution to commissioning new sites whilst harnessing the power of cloud monitoring. Find out more about our CCTV packages.

YourSight was launched to replace the previous Farsight Web Portal and Fault Tracker. YourSight was developed specifically for Farsight and provides a complete overhaul of the old system – introducing a more user-friendly environment with unbeatable transparency and communication between ourselves and installers and end-users.

2016 | Farsight introduces dedicated customer services team

Farsight felt that building a dedicated customer services team was an important step in allowing customers to have a single point of contact with a dedicated Farsight account managers.  Our customer services team was established in 2016 and has constantly evolved since then to meet the needs of our customers.

Providing this interface between our customers, installers, site contacts and Farsight’s operations team has proven instrumental in giving our customers peace of mind, transparency and efficiency in the services we provide.

2017 | Farsight leads the way in 4G CCTV monitoring

Farsight gets 4G ready. Our technical team works hard to ensure Farsight is always at the sharp end of the latest technical advancements.  As a leading remote security monitoring specialist, Farsight works with the largest and most innovative technology partners to ensure our monitoring systems work seamlessly as surveillance equipment evolves.

With the increased usage of IP cameras, 4G router technology makes it possible for us to have remote access to monitor CCTV cameras anywhere in the country without the need for a phone line connection.

2018 | Farsight introduces its dedicated new site commissioning team

Commissioning a new site and connecting to a remote video monitoring and alarm receiving centre can be a daunting process, even for the most experienced CCTV engineer. We’ve worked hard to develop a straightforward and stress-free connection process by setting up a dedicated commissioning team to streamline the new site commissioning process.

Farsight’s team of experts are on hand to help on-board our customers with free advice, walk tests, solving any technical issues and soak tests to ensure each site is connected and can benefit from our remote monitoring services with the minimum of fuss. Our internal teams work seamlessly across commissioning new sites, customer services, operations, technical and finance to ensure our customers have peace of mind.

2019 | Farsight Establishes in-house training centre

Farsight prides itself on the levels of training it gives to its staff.

In 2019 the Farsight Academy was established with its own internal training centre equipped to teach NOCN Level 2 Awards for Working as a CCTV Operative (Public Space Surveillance) within the Private Security Industry – SIA licence requirement.

What does the future hold for Farsight?

We’re proud of our history here at Farsight. We never stop innovating and progressing in the security industry and we always ensure we set ourselves ahead of the market.

Our team of fully trained and skilled professionals will always be dedicated to providing an exceptional service. And on top of that Farsight have their eyes set on plenty of new innovative projects: a pan European association of monitoring stations for vehicle tracking and lone worker protection, advancements in monitoring techniques, the very latest software technology.

The list goes on, so watch this space…the writing’s on the wall…

CCTV and Alarm Monitoring specialists

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