To The Rescue

Video Surveillance is a key player in solving crimes

Several months ago, I noticed a set of tire tracks running across my front lawn. Knowing that neither my wife nor I enjoy offroading on our yard, I did some investigative work. After less than two minutes with my video surveillance system, I was able to collect extensive video evidence of the incident and identify the lawn-defiling culprit. Before this year, that same process would have taken hours.

Admittedly, investigating neighborhood vandalism is a smalltime application of the sophisticated video security solutions available today. But it does point to a larger trend: Integrated video with forensic tools is transforming the physical security game.

The customer need is certainly clear. At S2, we’ve seen that as customers have expanded globally, they have rightfully demanded global solutions—video that can quickly and efficiently be accessed from anywhere in the world.

In addition, because companies are increasingly comfortable— and increasingly reliant—on mobility, Web-based solutions have become more popular. Meanwhile, IT departments continue to shrink, driving the need for video systems that are easy to learn and efficient to use. And everyone wants solutions in real time.

Just a few years ago, there were no integrated video products that met all of those needs. Reviewing video footage required hours of manually combing through millions of video frames, and users had to install software in order to access the video at all.

Fortunately, that has changed, due in large part to improvements in the way we capture and store video data. Thanks to the adoption of networking standards in video equipment, we are now able to treat video footage the way you treat other “regular” security data—making it fully transportable, searchable and compressible. Video streaming in H.264 as opposed to motion JPEG, for example, can produce a 10:1 savings in bandwidth.

Furthermore, because IP video footage is simply data that can be transmitted over a typical IT infrastructure, we can use a wide range of devices to switch and route the video data. PoE and the newer, higher-powered standard for PoE Plus even eliminate the in-line power supplies cameras previously required. Equally important, we can now use cloud-based services to enable remote access without any software.

In short, the technology has finally caught up with the customer need.

Despite these advancements, the costs associated with integrated video solutions are still relatively high, especially for smaller- scale customers. That is why S2 Security recently launched the VR Series, a fully-integrated, small-scale, Web-based total security management system.

The VR Series’ user interface is 100-percent Web-browserbased, making it easier to administrate and more convenient than non-Web-based systems. In addition, the system’s Forensic Desktop capability provides data analysis, a feature that my team is the most excited about.

As a result of the improvements in networking standards, we’re able to provide a much more intimate integration between video and other security applications such as alarm monitoring and access control, giving users greater flexibility.

With these new systems, users don’t just capture video data; they’re able to find, review and mine event-related video quicker than ever before. They can search for video in a variety of ways, including by time, person, event or camera location, and the forensic case library allows them to save, export and share video evidence in near-real time.

Overall, integrated video products like the VR Series make monitoring, investigating and deploying video solutions much more cost- and time-effective for the end user. That is certainly welcome news in today’s still uncertain economic environment.

For all of these reasons, integrated video will have an increasing role in S2’s products over the next 12 months, and I suspect that is the case for many of our peers, as well. However, I believe we’re still at the beginning of what we can achieve in video forensics.

As the back-end technologies continue to mature, we’ll continue to see improvements that empower our customers to take even greater control of their physical security.

As a veteran of the physical security business, I am delighted that the industry is finally able to provide an integrated video solution to customers of all sizes.

From detecting and interdicting insider theft to identifying neighborhood vandals, I’m looking forward to watching how integrated video will lower customer costs, increase efficiencies and make our communities safer. And I am proud that S2 will be at the forefront of this effort.

This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Security Today.

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