To Store and Protect
Today’s video surveillance solutions enable greater flexibility, functionality
- By Olivier Thierry
- Jul 01, 2013
Proven to assist in reducing crime and speeding up investigations,
video is a critical part of maintaining a secure environment. Because
video surveillance is effective, the number of deployed systems
continues to increase at a high rate. With the influx of more
cameras, especially high-resolution models, more surveillance video
is being captured and analyzed today than ever before.
The transportation market has especially embraced the value of surveillance.
Public and private transit facilities—from railways and buses to airports and seaports—
are critical components of society, providing for the movement of a large
number of passengers, cargo and vehicles in highly congested urban areas. Terrorists
often focus on transportation facilities, a sad fact that compounds the need
for a consistent and strong level of safety. The intelligent application of video surveillance
is imperative to improving security, aiding operations and streamlining
maintenance. In today’s world, video surveillance is more a necessity than a luxury.
Widespread adoption of IP megapixel cameras makes rich video data available.
Video analytics can convert everyday video into intelligent video streams. In
particular, ports rely on these intelligent and high-resolution systems and IP-based
devices to increase safety and security, and optimize operations such as cargo and
dock loading. Using megapixel cameras, seaports capture clear images to efficiently
monitor cargo, perimeter, property and procedures.
IP surveillance allows port officers access to relevant information from anywhere
at any time, and delivers automatic incident alerts and alarms to reduce
incident response times. More importantly, IP systems enhance safety and deliver
cost-efficient, flexible and future-proof video surveillance investments. But the video
is only useful if it is captured and stored by reliable and future-proof systems
that ensure data is protected and available if and when it is needed.
Demand for Image Quality
Today’s seaport operators realize the value and benefits IP-based security devices
bring to their facilities and are moving forward with plans to transition traditional
CCTV systems to networked-based systems. The value of high-definition video
surveillance to provide evidentiary support has grown, and ports are deploying
more high-resolution cameras. There also are plans to integrate video surveillance
with other technologies such as access control, video analytics, license plate
recognition and facial recognition, to streamline security operations and reduce
manpower. Regardless of these upgrades and new installations, there is no room
for scheduled downtime. Security systems are mission-critical systems—when one
system is switched out for another, it is important that users are still able to maintain
and use their system regardless of the transition.
Port security executives recognize the value of high-resolution video. These
dynamic systems provide an enhanced layer of security for employees and passengers,
and reduce the opportunity for terrorist events or security breaches. If an
event does occur, it is critical that users can retrieve captured video data as quickly
as possible. Every minute counts.
Therefore, quick retrieval of security video and data is critical to resolve a
breach fast. But more high-resolution and intelligent IP technologies generate
huge requirements for storage capacity and bandwidth. As more surveillance users
embrace IP infrastructure, storage platforms are evolving to meet growing capacity
requirements. Failover and redundancy features requested in almost all port
application also are critical to ensure access to all live and archived camera feeds.
Ports need to have a system that guarantees constant access to security data. Failure
Unfortunately, since video storage is a significant cost of any surveillance system—
up to 50 percent—compromises are often made with retention times, video
resolution or camera counts to meet budget. But newer approaches apply virtualization
to storage appliances, allowing virtual servers to reside on storage appliances.
This allows for the elimination of standalone servers and reduces costs
associated with rack space, power and cooling while meeting the reliability, performance
and management needs of today’s surveillance systems.
The Port of Seattle is one environment that leveraged virtualization to maximize
video capture and protection. Each year the seaport division handles just
over two million containers, making it the seventh largest port in North America
and the 57th largest in the world. In terms of surveillance, the port has more than
120 terabytes of storage with embedded virtual servers to support more than 1,100
cameras. Virtual appliances eliminated the need for standalone physical servers,
which saved the port 40 percent in power and cooling costs.
The virtualization strategy also delivered failover for video applications to
meet the stringent requirements for reliability during failure scenarios. The system
supported the upgrade to digital storage, while preserving the existing investment
in analog cameras, maintaining optimal system performance and protecting
For the Port of Seattle, it was critical to maintain its vision to be an environmental
leader. The port seeks out new technologies that help the organization meet
environmental goals while maintaining the highest protection levels for passengers
Coordination and Collaboration
Seaports are often located in high-population areas with housing, industry and
transportation infrastructure close to its perimeters. Port officials focus primarily
on monitoring the constant movement of cargo and ships. The most important
piece of information is who and what is at a terminal at any given moment. Safety
is paramount. If the harbor is not safe enough, business drops and there is a negative
effect on the economy. But the high level of security cannot be accomplished
without a partnership between the private and public sectors as well as multiple
Transportation facilities, municipalities and local government must coordinate
efforts to develop a “Safe City” environment. Safe Cities leverage partnerships
and technology to help communities and businesses reduce crime and enhance safety. Integration among technologies,
such as IP surveillance and access control
systems, is only one facet of this approach;
police, fire, medical and emergency
personnel also need to streamline
communications and efforts. The main
objective of developing a Safe City is
to promote multidisciplinary cooperation,
and coordinate emergency management
on a regional scale. There is
also a drive to cooperate with military,
critical infrastructure and other stakeholders
in the fields of crisis and disaster
management. Private companies,
such as those with local offices, should
be involved as well. Governments can
set up a common dispatch center to
funnel critical information to police,
fire and emergency responders if of an
incident occurs, and then combine that
data with video surveillance and other
security sensor data.
All of this coordination will work to
verify information during an incident,
such as a terrorist attack, while all the
work beforehand helps regions develop
a proactive approach to safety.
Crime and violence are intractable problems
for many local communities, and
limited resources often make it difficult
to provide adequate public safety manpower
to address the challenge. Almost
every community has locales that are hot
spots for crime, and the negative impact
of criminal activity often makes residents
and visitors afraid, and limits opportunities
for economic growth. Often,
cities have disparate systems in various
locations so, local officials need to work
closely with other agencies and businesses
to jointly use video surveillance as a
deterrent and an investigative tool.
The positive effects of video surveillance
are remarkable and well documented,
as recently demonstrated during
the Boston bombings investigation.
Simultaneously, use of video as a law
enforcement tool has given many neighborhoods
previously plagued by crime
new life as vibrant, livable communities.
Computation and storage appliances
provide flexibility to start with
as much or as little video storage as a
municipality needs, and then add capacity
and performance without disruption
simply by adding appliances.
Performance and capacity of the systems
ensure they can handle the demands
of incoming video streams and
protect the existing investment over
time as the deployment grows. Costs
also are reduced by consolidating server
and shared storage functionality
in a common appliance, while appliances
provide application failover that
protects both stored video—the most
critical asset—during a failure. Public
service operators need to capture critical
surveillance data at all times, and
application failover prevents the loss
of captured video.
For city surveillance, again, cost-effectively
storing of ever-increasing amounts
of video footage drives
the success of camera
This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Security Today.