Category Archives: Blog

Video Management Solutions: a tale of two systems

Training is a significant and generally hidden cost. The task of training your staff on the operation of a video management system (VMS) can sometimes be difficult enough. So why go through this training twice?

Many VMS require one system to handle analog video feeds from DVRs and another to control and manage IP video. As the bulk of video systems today are a combination of analog and IP infrastructures, that means most security departments spend precious seconds and minutes toggling back and forth between open windows on their computer monitor (sometimes even different computers altogether) to track an intruder’s movements from analog camera to IP camera or to investigate and clear multiple alarms during the busy morning and evening rushes in and out of the office building.

Video Management System Dana FarberA growing number of security directors are saying “No,” to maintaining these separate systems, along with their individual needs for maintenance, updates, training, and upgrades. For Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, deploying two separate systems to handle the institute’s significant infrastructure of analog cameras along with a multitude of new IP cameras was not an option Security Manager Ralph Nerette was willing to consider.

As part of a three-year construction project to build the institute’s new Yawkey Center for Cancer Care and the center’s 180 new IP cameras, Nerette and his security team designed and outfitted a new security operations center, which handles the institute’s two million square feet of clinical, research, and administrative space in the greater Boston area. At the heart of the new space is Nerette’s solution — the victor video management system, which allows security officers to unify security management functions and have a set of tools to view, search and export video from both Intellex DVRs and VideoEdge NVRs

With this approach, Dana-Farber has managed to streamline its video management, putting the institute back into the technology driver’s seat. You can read more about how Dana-Farber was able to take control of its security management in this news story from Security Director News.

Has your organization struggled with multiple systems? Let us know your concerns by leaving us a comment.

Digital Video Recording: Don’t be the Next YouTube Sensation

Digital Video RecordingBeing the next YouTube sensation can have its perks: instant fame and fortune, endless media attention, and maybe a recording contract or two. Unless you’re trying to be the next Justin Bieber (and presumably most security directors are not), having video of your organization viewed on millions of computer screens and mobile devices around the world, is the last thing a head of security wants to see. This is particularly true when the clip originated from your video system.

The exploding popularity of sharing video on sites like YouTube and a host of others, makes it far more likely that embarrassing or potentially harmful video from your parking lot, emergency room, office lobby or conference room could end up as the viral video of the week. Remember the YouTube video of the security footage showing a woman falling into a mall fountain because she was walking and texting? This was made much worse because of the security officers laughing in the background as they replayed the CCTV footage of her fall from multiple angles.

Modern Video Management Systems (VMS) are becoming increasingly more sophisticated by providing necessary protections to prevent digital video from being easily exported from a video management solution. These checks and balances are extremely important, not only to prevent embarrassing or potentially liable moments from becoming public, but they also provide necessary internal controls. Multiple layers of clearances and access rights among authorized users are vital when it comes to the crucial role some VMS systems play within an enterprise.

Gone are the days when surveillance footage was solely an asset used by the security department alone. With the widespread use of video, footage captured by surveillance cameras is now an informational resource used by many different departments for multiple functions within an organization. By enabling different access levels and additional layers of protection in these systems, video can be shared at the appropriate levels, providing maximum security.

Video Management Systems have greatly improved with regards to security and functionality. Find out more on how those improvements provide a solid foundation for future systems by reading Video Management Advancement, an article published in Security Technology Executive.

Author David Jackson is senior product manager, video solutions, American Dynamics.

Let us know how your organization is protecting your surveillance video by leaving a comment. What other concerns do you have about securing video content?

IP Video Security | from Nanny Cam to Surveillance Solutions

It’s amazing to think that it has been more than a dozen years since security professionals first started to hear about the benefits of IP, or network video. The ability to transmit video over the network enabled virtually anyone with a computer to view video footage from any location so long as they used a network camera with a unique IP address -the birth of IP Video Security.

The security market, and the general population, saw wide-scale deployment of web cameras and nanny cams. For parents, a nanny cam at a daycare provided a sense of comfort; it gave them a chance to check on little Johnny to see how his day was going. For the business owner away on a business trip, it enabled him to see in real-time if his employees were in the office working or taking a long lunch break.

Fast forward to today, and the IP video market has made significant gains since the network camera was first introduced. IP video surveillance solutions have gone from single camera installs and nanny camera usage to enterprise-wide systems leveraging the benefits of mega-pixel cameras and network video recorders handling several terabytes worth of surveillance data.

IP Video Security Migration

Like any good disruptive technology, IP video’s introduction to the market was marred by performance issues and greeted with general mistrust by security practitioners, who were wary of issues like security, reliability and efficacy. Countless small IP video firms looking to be first out of the gate were funded and then folded, stung by the early, immature iterations of the technology and the security market’s skepticism of this transformative technology.

Recognizing the current demands of customers as well as their future needs — whether they know them yet or not — has long been a delicate balance. It has been important to ensure that analog solutions, which are still used and in demand by large majority of customers, remain a mainstay of most of today’s video surveillance manufacturers. However, that support for analog must happen in tandem with the creation of a migration path from analog to IP, enabling security directors and other end users to make the shift at their own pace.

Tyco Security Products has embarked on that very mission, and you can read more about our shift to IP by reading a recent interview in Security Sales & Integration with Tyco’s Warren Brown, Director of Global Product Management: Legacy Provider Strives to be an IP Specialist.

What struggles do you have adopting an IP migration strategy?
Let us know in the comments section and maybe we can help.

  Need Help with Migration?

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CCTV in Emerging Markets: Price or Quality is the big dilemma

Emerging Markets Are GrowingWhile mature market CCTV manufacturers in the United States and Europe are fighting to develop new products focusing in High Definition, Megapixel, Video Analytics, long-term warranty, etc., emerging markets (like Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific) CCTV purchases are 99% defined by price. That explains why Asian manufacturers succeed so well, not only in their internal markets but also exporting security products to countries with the same buying profile.

So, the big question is how can mature market manufacturers succeed in emerging markets? Following the river? Not exactly… lessons must be learned from the regional voice of customer and then the product portfolio adapted for those markets – definitely in this case the same products do not fit all.

But if price is a competitive advantage for products from Asia Pacific, it is possible to create some differentiators that make real differences for the customer and swing some advantage back to mature market manufacturers. Many times they are willing to pay more for the added benefits – local inventory (or quick delivery) and local warranty (or free warranties) are key differentiators, but product localization (language translation for user interface and technical documentation) also go a long way to making inroads.

Selling CCTV products in emerging markets is very challenging but not impossible – we just need to hear the voice of the market and deliver those differentiators.

Learn more about CCTV in YOUR Emerging Market with a FREE Consultation.

Do you do business in emerging markets, what other differentiators should be considered? Let us know in the Comments area below.

Video Analytics: Motion Based vs. Foreground/Background Separation

Most video analytics operate by simply detecting pixel changes or motion on the camera view. This is useful in low activity settings (like a perimeter fence) where not much happens and security personnel want to pay attention to every activity. However, in busy retail, simple motion-based analytics produce too many false positives. Users looking for when an item on a shelf moved will get hits for everyone who walked in front of that shelf.

In Foreground/Background Separation analytics the software analyzes the video and separates foreground and background motion, people vs. assets, and records those movements as different object types. So when a user wants to see when merchandise leaves the shelf, they do an asset search, looking only for background activity. This results in fewer false positives – getting you to the video you need faster.

Video Analytics RetailFor instance, a loss prevention Investigator wants to monitor a rack of expensive, high-theft handbags. Simple motion-based alarms alert him every time a person walks between the camera and the shelf. With Foreground/background analysis, the Investigator defines an asset alert (focus on background activity) and only receives alerts when the merchandise moves.

Additional parameters, allow him to tune the alerts to differentiate between normal customer shopping behavior and a shelf wipeout, for example.

What other aspects of Video Analytics would you like to learn about? Post your question in the comments area.