Today’s IP video surveillance systems are proving to be one of the most popular and effective tools available for security and law enforcement professionals. They’re advantageous in a number of ways including: superior image quality, ease of customization, integration capabilities, simple accessibility and infinite scalability. Additionally, IP cameras and devices can now be deployed anywhere a network connection is possible using virtually any type of cabling – or even wirelessly – further accelerating the migration from legacy analog infrastructure to networked IP platforms. More importantly, networked video surveillance and security systems intrinsically offer more advanced functionality, which is changing perceptions and the nature of how video surveillance systems are being utilized.
Video Management Software (VMS) is the core component in IP video surveillance systems used to control and manage large numbers of cameras. VMS solutions are also increasingly being paired with advanced analytics and integrated with access and intrusion systems to provide integrated functionality. Best-in-breed, VMS systems with sophisticated feature sets like touch-screen operation, map-based interfaces and time slice forensics continue to prove their value not only for real-time monitoring and alerting, and forensic analysis, but in their ability to gather data used for incident management. This is a relatively new mindset for security professionals as systems continue to converge onto what is a truly integrated security platform and provide functionality aimed at prevention versus conventional monitoring and forensics.
It’s Not All about the Images
New imaging technologies, like megapixel cameras, have surely revolutionized the ability to detect and capture extreme detail over large areas. This, combined with their ability to efficiently stream images at high speeds, provides the visual data VMS systems need for advanced analytics and incident management.
This new, higher level of video/data integration is possible only with VMS solutions that offer open platform architecture to combine best-of-breed hardware and software. Additionally, the VMS solution needs to be intuitive and simple to configure, as well as accessible from anywhere on the network or via the Internet and/or mobile devices to instantaneously control all aspects of video detection, analysis, delivery and response. All of these attributes vastly improve physical security, but also provide the ability to help automatically detect patterns and form relationships between otherwise non-related events. These developments continue to pave the way for a new crossroads in technology where detection and prevention intersect.
Best-of-Breed, VMS Functionality Targets “Prevention”
Whether it’s a single facility with 10 cameras or a multi-building campus with hundreds of cameras, managing video and data is better accomplished with an easy-to-use, intelligent VMS solution.
Traditional video surveillance systems typically have too few operators with too little time trying to handle too many cameras and too much information. Advanced VMS systems provide operators with full control over all camera parameters, including PTZ presets, joystick control, digital zoom in/out and more. These intuitive and time-saving VMS features, available on the user interface, provide the unique capabilities required to detect, log and analyze events before and while they are happening. For example, if an alarmed exit at a facility is breached, the VMS can be pre-programmed to automatically “push” video to pre-selected devices, enabling authorities in the area to immediately view the incident and take appropriate action. This capability enables facilities to react to events and potential problems quickly and effectively, which can prevent them from escalating. It also allows them to compile data of related and seemingly non-related events for incident management analysis.
Using VMS data to review incidents can be used to formulate new policies to prevent repeat incidents and to track events that show similar patterns for pending events.
Streaming and Mobile Applications
Situational awareness is a key foundation of security. The problem is that not every facility has dedicated networks for transmission, and incidents can take place 24/7 during times when a control room might not be fully staffed to monitor live events. By incorporating VMS mobility into the mix, the benefits of VMS monitoring can be leveraged from virtually anywhere. New VMS technology enables cameras to stream HD video over low-speed connections or limited bandwidth networks. Video streams through the cloud can be monitored live or played back at full frame rates (with less than a one-second lag) and digitally controlled with pan/tilt/zoom functions. Streams can then be encrypted to enable a secure connection both inside and outside a school network, with all the resulting collaborative and safety advantages.
Today, smartphones, iPads and other portable devices are as much a part of security technology solutions as are cameras and recorders. Mobile security as an element of VMS ensures operational efficiencies that would be almost impossible for a non-managed (mobile) system. With the advent of HD Interactive Streaming (HDIS) Technology, streaming of multiple SD and HD cameras simultaneously to mobile devices all at full frame rate (30 FPS) and over limited bandwidths is enabled. More specifically, HDIS technology enables full motion playback of up to 16 HD video streams of live or recorded video at their original frame rate with full digital PTZ control of each camera over limited bandwidth network connections via 3G and 4G Wi-Fi, broadband and Internet. This technology allows remote users to access multiple HD images in real-time from a mobile device, PC or laptop with a standard web interface.
New imaging technologies are undoubtedly helping to improve overall security and situational awareness, but it’s the processing power and intelligence of new VMS technologies that enable higher levels of systems integration. Beyond the obvious technical advantages these systems deliver for conventional video surveillance and security operations, the ability to process information collected from various data points is a game changer that will further aid security and law enforcement professionals in focusing on incident prevention versus detection.