What's In Store

Video surveillance plays a pivotal role in terrorism

What’s ahead in 2017? In 2016, we saw video surveillance and security increasingly become the focus of mainstream media conversations, with video playing a pivotal role in bringing terror suspects to justice (as it did recently in NYC) and with police body-worn cameras capturing sometimes controversial incidents that spark national conversations. Behind the camera, technology has continued to evolve and storage has become an even more important consideration for anyone implementing a surveillance and security system. Integrators, resellers, vendors and end-users can look to 2017 as a time of vigorous change for video surveillance and security.


In 2016, we also saw a surge in camera counts—particularly HD cameras—leading to an exponential leap in data to manage. Not Homeland Security but also universities, municipalities, schools, and commercial enterprises are increasingly adopting cameras with more sensors, wider panoramas, and higher resolutions. We see these organizations increasingly expect more sophisticated surveillance capabilities—compression, streaming, storage and analytics—built into the cameras themselves for better value. As camera prices continue trending downward, even more organizations will switch from analog and SD cameras.

The increased amount of data obviously puts a strain on storage and increases the importance of an intelligent, multi-tier storage strategy, but the improved intelligence in cameras also increases the importance of storage management software to effectively manage the influx of data.


With more analytical capabilities moving into the cameras, video analytics applications are becoming more feature-rich and sophisticated, and non-traditional organizations are realizing that video can be used to make better business decisions. Logistics companies, for example, use video to track cargo through ports and rail yards to improve efficiency.

Retail companies use video to observe shopper behavior to make better decisions regarding product placement, store layout, and advertising. By using video-based data to improve business, some companies are reaping real business value, shifting the expense of their surveillance solution from a cost center to an investment. Surveillance is doing more than just keeping people and property safe; it’s leading to financial returns. To realize this kind of value, data must be kept for a long time. That requires a storage infrastructure that provides cost-effective, long-term data retention as well as performance.


Driven by federal funding made available to help departments, we’ve seen an acceleration of body-worn camera adoption and increased retention times for footage as departments realize their value for evidence and public safety. The Department of Justice has released additional funding for 2017, but it still is focused strictly on cameras—not the storage behind them.

This leaves many law enforcement departments and agencies in a quandary, struggling with managing these massive new data sets, establishing retention policies, and creating the storage infrastructure required to support body-worn camera deployments, which is increasingly being viewed as a funding requirement. With communities demanding bodyworn cameras for their law enforcement agencies for greater accountability, addressing the storage challenge they create will remain a priority.


Law enforcement agencies increasingly need to cope with collecting information from many different systems—dash cams, body cams, interview room, sally port devices—and aggregate the content. Agencies are looking to simplify how they gather the data and store it while protecting chain-of-evidence requirements. That concept is expanding to encompass both public and private agencies to drive cohesive and coordinated action from a variety of partners to include content from systems such as secure parking areas and city properties.

The city of Santa Ana is doing just that, and it creates a huge challenge not just for how to store the data economically, but for managing data from a wide range of incompatible systems. Look for developments in storage management systems designed to collect and store this content efficiently, easily, and cost-effectively without creating silos of storage.


With cyber security a rising priority for public and private entities, biometrics are being explored as a measure to prevent massive data breaches. In conjunction with The White House, the Cyber Security Alliance launched an initiative advising the use of fingerprints and one time codes as a way of authentication. Facial recognition is another growth area, where biometric technology is now available for use with body-worn cameras. Both technologies hold great potential, and will require intelligent storage in order to keep the costs of the related data under control.

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Security Today.


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