Collaboration is Key in the Video Vortex
- By Michael Gallant
- May 01, 2015
Increased security concerns, availability
of IP networks, camera sprawl and improvement
in video content analytics are
all contributing to a rapid growth in the
amount of video surveillance data that
federal agencies are gathering today. By
2018, the video surveillance equipment
market is forecast to reach $25.6 billion,
and by 2020, video surveillance data is expected to reach
approximately 3.3 trillion hours globally.
From facial recognition to instant event search and interagency
real-time surveillance, the benefits of video surveillance
data are numerous. The surveillance data enables significant opportunities
for Big Data analysis critical to our nation’s security,
such as monitoring suspicious behavior, object recognition, incident
detection, face matching, safety alerts and anomaly detection.
It’s no secret that federal video surveillance data is an
important component to improved security across the federal
government—but only if that data is safely captured, stored, and
So, Where Do We Stand?
MeriTalk’s new report, “The Video Vortex,” found that although
99 percent of feds believe that video surveillance technology will
play a significant role in their ability to prevent crime, theft, and
terrorism over the next five years, 54 percent of federal video surveillance
data goes unanalyzed. This study sponsored by EMC
Corp., a global IT and security leader, is based on a survey of 151
federal decision makers—evenly split between physical security
and IT managers.
As the amount of video surveillance data grows rapidly, so
does the potential for improved security—as long as the data is
fully examined. But, since over half of video surveillance data
goes unanalyzed, we must figure out how to harness its full potential
in order to succeed.
According to the study, one answer lies in collaboration between
physical security and IT. Seventy-nine percent of feds believe
their agency needs to improve collaboration between the
departments in order to be successful. A more collaborative approach
will make agencies more prepared for the video surveillance
data deluge, and more likely to analyze video surveillance
data to derive actionable insights. The study found that agencies
who implement collaboration between the two are significantly
ahead of agencies that do not.
Agencies that have departmental collaboration are:
- More prepared for the influx of video surveillance data—
81 percent versus 24 percent;
- more likely to analyze at least 50 percent of the data—
63 percent versus 47 percent;
- and more than twice as likely to operate edge-to-core
platform architecture for surveillance—92 percent versus
How Do We Get There?
In order to work together successfully, there must be a consensus
between physical security and IT managers to determine who has
primary responsibility for managing their agency’s video surveillance
infrastructure. The study revealed there is confusion over to
whom that responsibility belongs—76 percent of physical security
managers vs. 33 percent of IT managers believe the responsibility
is shared between the two departments.
Looking at infrastructure, the need for improvement is evident.
While agencies recognize the potential that video surveillance
holds, approximately nine in ten believe their infrastructures
are currently unprepared for the video data influx. Over the
next five years, 91 percent believe storage needs to increase, 89 percent believe computing power needs to increase, and 84 percent
believe personnel needs to increase, in order to adapt and
handle the oncoming growth.
As a step in the right direction, three-quarters of respondents
say their agency’s IT department is currently working on integrating
video surveillance data into a central repository for analysis.
The Where and How
To accurately understand how to handle video surveillance data
and maximize insights, we must understand how this technology
is used today. In what ways do Feds collect video surveillance
data? How are surveillance cameras distributed? Where are they
located, and are they fixed or mobile? Today’s video surveillance
solutions are characterized by a combination of distributed technologies
also known as centralized technologies or the core.
According to the study, 74 percent of survey respondents operate
an enterprise approach, including an edge-to-core architecture
for video surveillance.
Feds collect video surveillance data through a variety of sensors.
The study found that 88 percent collect the data through
stationary cameras, and 80 percent use scanning cameras—both
monitoring a fixed location. Although cameras at fixed locations
have become one standard approach to collecting data, mobile
camera usage is becoming more popular, especially across the Defense
Department. The study found that in Defense agencies, 77
percent use cameras on vehicles (vs. 53 percent of Civilian), 75
percent use cameras on people (vs. 44 percent of Civilian), and 78
percent use cameras on drones (vs. 17 percent of Civilian).
Additionally, to optimize video surveillance effectiveness,
the feds are looking into advanced solutions to add to
their video strategy—92 percent are looking into Machineto-
Machine (M2M) technology, and 93 percent are looking
into intelligent data storage. Each brings their own benefits
to the table—M2M enables both wireless and wired devices
to automatically communicate via a network, and intelligent
data storage flexes to optimize storage capacity, backup times,
costs, and performance.
Now that everything has been laid out on the table, the following
question must be addressed:
Are the feds ready for the massive increase in video surveillance
One thing is clear—there is certainly room for advancement.
With nearly all feds identifying necessary increases in storage,
computing power, and personnel, these are important areas for
Another focus for agencies needs to be the collaboration piece
of the puzzle—physical security and IT managers need to join
forces in order to handle the oncoming growth in video surveillance
data. Once federal agencies tackle their current hurdles—
from edge to core—the potential of video surveillance data will
hold limitless possibilities for better protecting our nation.
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Security Today.