Today they are found in abundance in shops and in business in order to provide security and surveillance and they are gradually being more and more prevalent in public sectors as well in order to hopefully prevent crime on the streets, as well as in residential homes in order to provide families and individuals with personal security for their belongings. There are countless permutations, makes and models of CCTV today, with analogue CCTV giving way to digital options such as IP CCTV that transmits wirelessly.
The first CCTV system however was developed by Siemens AG and was located at Test Stand VII in Germany in order to watch over the launching of V-2 rockets. This happened in 1942, and was largely the creation of one Walter Bruch - at the time a well-known engineer. This use of CCTV is something that has continued and they are often still employed in modern launch sites in order to monitor the flight of rockets which allows for the identification of possible problems and improvements that could be made. The use of CCTV here is paramount as it means no individuals have to get close to the launch which could be potentially dangerous otherwise.
CCTV was first used in a public space in 1968 in Olean, New York. Here it was installed along the main business street as an attempt to prevent and track crime. Again this is something that has largely caught on and now many streets and roads feature CCTV as a part of their design and this is met with some controversy as people debate whether the improvement in safety is worth the potential infringement on privacy.
Closed circuit television is now perhaps most commonly found in convenience stores, restaurants and the like. It is used in these areas where it is largely designed to prevent crime and to help catch perpetrators. However the technology used has since then drastically improved. Whereas once CCTV relied on using a VCR in order to record footage onto, and could only record from one 'track' (source) at a time, now there are other systems available such as digital CCTV which record and store their pictures as files, or which transmit these files wirelessly (IP CCTV). These can also incorporate other impressive technological advancements, such as for instance motion sensors to ensure that the cameras only record when there is some form of movement to prevent the user having to trawl through hours of blank footage. Similarly these can also incorporate VOIP in order to enable them to call the owner when there are signs of some sort of security breach.
While the history of CCTV has seen many changes and the introduction of such things as IP CCTV, it is still the case that many of the older designs remain in use. While these don't feature quite as many features, they do however provide a cheaper option and one that is much easier to maintain.