On the Edge of Innovation - IP Video Surveillance Market Solutions Building Strong Industry Partnerships

On the Edge of Innovation

IP Video Surveillance Market Solutions Building Strong Industry Partnerships

Often taken for granted—as video surveillance cameras and systems can be found in virtually any public space—the ability to deliver quality live and recorded video is a complex mechanism requiring hardware, software and networking. Because leading security providers excel in different areas, companies often join together to create market solutions that are the result of the best each has to offer.

One of the strongest partnerships to emerge in the security industry migration to IP network video surveillance has been Milestone Systems and Razberi Technologies. This team is bringing distributed architecture out to the edge while still obtaining visibility in a security operations center that could be just down the street.

They might be a relatively young company at just a few years old, but Carrollton, Texas, based Razberi Technologies has made quite a splash in the security industry with a product that seems amazingly simple. The Razberi ServerSwitch is a network video recorder, a PoE switch, storage and video management software (VMS) in one easy-to-use and easy-to-install appliance. The ServerSwitch has been purpose-built for recording and managing megapixel network video. Its embedded SmartSwitch has been designed to its internal surveillance-grade hard drives. A web interface enables remote control of the network switch and measurement of PoE consumption and data transmission.

Rather than employing the use of traditionally large and expensive network servers, the VMS runs directly on the Razberi ServerSwitch. This allows system integrators to assemble smaller, more compact systems that don’t require a large IT infrastructure. By combining these functions into one device, the installer saves a tremendous amount of time, and the risk of purchasing a component that can’t support the demands of a megapixel environment is eliminated.

As Razberi has grown, so has their market. Designed for integrators with little IP expertise, Razberi has found that because they offered plug-and-play capability combined with robust VMS software, they became an attractive cost-saving solution for even the most sophisticated integrator.

Known as the world’s leading provider of open platform IP video surveillance, Milestone’s XProtect VMS is easy to use and provides customers the ability to view live and playback video recordings, investigate suspicious incidents, and export video evidence for any-size camera deployment. Headquartered in Denmark— with American operations in Oregon—Milestone is used by more than 100,000 customers worldwide.

Naturally, Razberi has worked closely with Milestone as they desired to provide integrations with the leading VMS solutions in the security market. But, the partnership has grown and has developed into quite an innovative video surveillance solution. “Razberi has brought the market the concept of a distributed architecture where they have the server in a distributed environment and closer out to the edge—a practice that has not been done as much with the industry move to centralization,” said Reinier Tuinzing, Milestone Systems strategic alliance partner manager, Americas. “What is unique—and attractive—is that even though the appliance is closer to the edge, the unit is visible from anywhere just as it would be in a centralized configuration.”

The Razberi ServerSwitch works seamlessly with the Milestone XProtect Corporate VMS to deliver a robust solution that provides easy-to-use, yet powerful, software for controlling video surveillance. “The Razberi ServerSwitch has improved the delivery of the Milestone VMS product because our customers want to have the storage and processing capability out at the edge,” Tuinzing said. “What we’ve added is the capability to pull that information back to an operation center and make it the entire network.

“What’s really impressive is with the ServerSwitch the complexity is there but it’s hidden by the simplicity of the chassis. We want the depth of the product, but we don’t want to make it complicated.”

Milestone has recognized Razberi Technologies with the Technology Partner Award and in the related article, Q&A: A Sitdown With Razberi Technologies President Tom Galvin, the Server- Switch inventor discusses their partnership with Milestone and the strong foundation they have established for a productive future.

Security Products Q&A: A Sitdown With Razberi Technologies President Tom Galvin

What is the impact of IP networking and how has it impacted your product development?

IP networking has been around a long time, but the fact that the protocols haven’t changed a whole lot in 30 or 40 years is a testament to the simplicity and the foresight these guys had when they put it together. What’s changed is IP networking has become more pervasive and certainly we’ve seen that in the physical security industry with video surveillance, access control and other products. How we view our job at Razberi is: We didn’t invent IP networking. We didn’t invent megapixel cameras. We didn’t invent NVRs. What we have done, however, is we have found ways to combine these things in simplified packages. We view our mission and our value add as taking the complexity of IP networking—particularly for video surveillance— and putting that technology into simplified form factors that enable the integrator to do the job at a lower cost.

How have physical security systems evolved in terms of developing ample storage for streaming video?

It’s really amazing how storage systems are getting larger, and price points more attractive. The demand for storage is growing exponentially. Look at megapixel cameras: A few years ago, I would have said that the 2-megapixel camera was the sweet spot in our industry and now the quotes that we’re generating are going to 5 megapixel. I don’t know where the 80/20 rule is right now, but the megapixel counts are increasing significantly—increasing storage demands—and that’s creating some unique problems.

We have a very good solution working with the Milestone XProtect VMS. What Razberi can do with our architecture is distribute storage—distribute it on the edge—and that has a number of advantages. One of the advantages is that you don’t have to backhaul all of the video to a central location or server room. What Milestone software allows us to do is store video on the edge, which is more cost effective. The Milestone VMS with the Razberi ServerSwitch solution also allows us to move video into longer-term archive. So, you can move the storage for longer term into that centrally-controlled computer and server room. It’s a very unique architecture. It allows distribution, and it allows redundancy, and the combination of the Razberi with the Milestone VMS is really a unique proposition for the enterprise.

Because the IP video surveillance world seems to be all about making partnerships, how have you managed your partnership with Milestone?

Our partnerships are really the key to our success, particularly on the VMS side. Milestone has invested quite a bit into what they call their ecosystem. They promote partnerships through programs, training, and the MIPS (Milestone Integrator Platform Symposium) conference they have annually. We are a proud winner of the Milestone Systems Technology Partner Award. Milestone does a wonderful job of creating that ecosystem of complimentary products. We’ve really embraced that with Razberi. We participate in everything we can—trade shows, co-selling, collateral, technology partnerships. We’re all in with the Milestone ecosystem and that’s been a boost for both Milestone and Razberi as you look at the project wins we have together.

Because you are constantly improving product development with your own products, how deeply do you work with your partners to make sure they are in sync with what you are doing?

The partnerships are a real key component of what we do. One of the measures of the level of cooperation are the certifications we do. For example, Milestone has an infrastructure certification program. Razberi was one of the first products certified by this program. What that involved is a lot of detailed performance testing and benchmark testing which we collaborated with in the Milestone labs in Portland. We get very deep in the certifications—that’s a real important part of our business so our customers understand how well the Milestone and Razberi systems work together.

Please explain how the process of implementing your product works with the IP camera and a VMS system?

We certify these relationships so that our customers are confident we have a working solution both on the Razberi appliance, and with the VMS, such as Milestone. We extensively test each partner’s software on our appliance, and in the case of Milestone, we did so at their lab in Oregon. That gives our integrators confidence that we’ve done the benchmarking and that we understand it’s a working solution. We also try to participate in the road maps with our partners—whether it’s with Milestone or a camera vendor. We want to understand where they are taking their product, where they are taking their application programming interfaces, so that we maintain those certifications as both the VMS and our hardware advance.

Does that mean that your technical people work with their technical people to make this continue to communicate?

Absolutely, and particularly with Milestone, we have a very deep relationship where we are working engineer-to-engineer on a number of projects. Whether it’s system engineers in Portland, or with product development engineers in Copenhagen—we have that tight relationship. It’s really a unique partnership.

Technology in the security industry can be very complex. How are you able to meet the expectation of a superior product, yet keep that product simple for the server, PoE and the workstation?

It’s not easy to simplify. These are complex systems we’re dealing with—large storage systems, megapixel video, maintaining certifications— so we put a lot of effort into the simplification process. The only way we can continue to be successful with that is to maintain the partnerships we have developed. That’s the key to success.

Your security device offers numerous functions, how does it save the installer time?

We’ve been surprised—and pleased—not only by the rapid adoption of the Razberi and who has adopted the Razberi. Originally, we designed the Razberi appliance with the idea that we would target dealers and installers who didn’t have extensive IP expertise. It seemed like a good fit because we could offer the time savings of plug-and-play video and reduce the network complexity. What we’ve been pleasantly surprised by is that some of the most sophisticated integrator partners in our industry have adopted the Razberi. Even though they have CISCO certifications, Milestone certifications, Microsoft certifications—despite that high level of expertise—they still see the value of the Razberi appliance and how they can simplify the installation and reduce the time of the installation. So, it’s a total cost of ownership savings even for the most sophisticated integrator.

The Razberi appliance was designed to help an integrator make the leap into IP, but now the Razberi product is being embraced by everybody?

We are pleased to see that trend. I think it’s a testament to the simplified form factor or the fact that the Razberi embodies the switching element, the network element, and the power element. That really drives cost savings through reducing installation time. These things—simplicity and cost savings—transcend across any integrator and I think that’s why we’ve seen such a growing adoption rate, even with the most sophisticated integrators.

Do System Integrators now have the ability to assemble smaller, more compact systems that don’t require a large IT infrastructure?

Absolutely. And there are many definitions of enterprise systems. Some of the biggest successes that we’ve had with Milestone, for example, have been individual installations where we may only have four to eight cameras, particularly in the retail sector. But what we see is there may be hundreds or thousands of these individual four-to-eight camera locations—particularly with a multilocation retailer. That is the power of the combined Milestone and Razberi solution. Razberi offers the simplicity of the infrastructure for a four -to eight- camera system but the Milestone software allows us to integrate thousands of eight-camera systems so that a retailer can have a global view and global management of thousands of locations. That’s actually where we’ve had quite a bit of success with the Milestone VMS.

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Security Today.

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