Company timeline and the history of CCTV


1942 | CCTV first used

During the Second World War CCTV was used in Germany for the purpose of observing rocket launches. 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 used CCTV in the 1940s to observe nuclear weapon tests from a safe distance.


1960 | Cameras used to monitor crowds in London

The MET installed two temporary cameras for crowd control purposes when the Thai royal family arrived.


1961 | Video surveillance used in London

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 it was a big step towards making public transport secure.


1964 | Police make use of CCTV in Liverpool

Liverpool police experimented with four hidden CCTV cameras.


1970s | CCTV used to protect banks

The 1970s and 80s were prime time for bank robberies. During these decades CCTV became a more and more popular solution to this growing issue.


1988 | CCTV used by local authorities

Throughout the 70s and 80s, CCTV was used in a variety of new ways. Whether it was for monitoring public protests, for security on public transport or for crowd-control at sporting events, CCTV was solidifying itself as a part of the UK’s security. In 1988, local authorities used CCTV in parking lots and some used street-based CCTV already. By 1988 video surveillance systems were widely used in council estates.


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.


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 helps 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 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.


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 allows clients to monitor how Farsight is performing and whether alarms are being answered quickly and effectively: another innovative development by Farsight that promotes transparency and trust in security.


2004 | Farsight acquires Sandy Security and bespoke security solutions are made available

As sites became more complex and security surveillance technology became more advanced there was a need for more tailored security solutions for many clients.

In 2004, Farsight acquired Bedfordshire based security company, Sandy Security. The acquisition allowed Farsight to grow and include new services such as access control, systems control and out-of-hours call centre services.

As a result of this growth, Farsight recognised a need for a specialised department that would help clients integrate their security needs into one solution – bringing together access control, CCTV, video analytics, systems control 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 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.


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 Observatory is renovated

The Farsight Observatory underwent a fantastic renovation to provide an exceptional working environment for the Farsight team. With the renovation complete, Farsight can now have a team of 10 security operators working at once.


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.

Also in 2015, 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.

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.

What does the future hold for Farsight? 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!