Surveillance Trends: A Tale of 2 Architectures

View from surveillance camera

The surveillance market has traditionally been built on closed architectures.  From the very beginning when video surveillance was called Closed Caption Television (CCTV), surveillance had largely been a closed system. This closed system had its advantages when it came to service calls and simplicity in design. When a customer would lose video in a CCTV system, the troubleshooting procedure was very straightforward; check the camera, check the coax cable and connections, and check the recording device. It was almost always one of those components that failed and needed to be replaced or repaired. In the IP network world of today, troubleshooting video loss requires the customer and/or partner to have a much broader set of skills to determine the reason for the problem. This added complexity has slowed the surveillance industry down in its move to become a full fledged enterprise application. The good news is the industry is rapidly moving toward the implementation of all IP network-based solutions more and more every day. Surveillance buyers are becoming more comfortable with IP and the advantages thanks to the notable benefits of high resolution cameras. High resolution cameras have been the biggest driver in the move to IP. These cameras provide a minimum of 4X (in some cases20X+) more pixels than the traditional surveillance cameras.

One of EMC’s premier partners, Axis Communications, provides more detail on the value of these high resolution cameras. The increase in camera resolution has had a profound impact on the surveillance industry and has impacted every aspect of the surveillance design. When I was at Cisco Systems and we were working to understand the impact of high definition video on the network. As a result, we determined that an average high definition camera system drove 27X more bandwidth than high definition teleconferencing. Surveillance is the only enterprise video application that is on 24/7/365. Most customers and partners have come to the realization that networks with IP surveillance systems utilizing high definition or greater resolution cameras have to be designed properly and efficiently in order to ensure the video information is not lost due to a network failure.

Up until now, surveillance buyers and partners did not require the support of the customer’s IT department to deploy a surveillance solution. High definition cameras have driven the need for IT departments and the surveillance team to work together to ensure the best outcome. Now that the IT department is coming to the table to help ensure a successful deployment, other opportunities to apply enterprise best practices have arose. One up and coming trend  is the move away from “black box” or appliances to run the video management application to a more scalable and open compute platform. When customers move away from appliances to enterprise compute and storage platforms, they no longer are locked into a one-size fits all approach. Software is no longer tied to hardware; upgrades to the software do not automatically require upgrades to the hardware. Customers are free to design a solution that fits their current and future requirements without the fear of doing a forklift upgrade of the surveillance hardware to take advantage of the latest offerings in the market. Customers and partners are beginning to demand surveillance systems that leverage open platforms for their cameras, video management applications, compute, and storage. The more open the customer’s surveillance environment is the more flexible it becomes. This flexibility enables the customer to take advantage of emerging trends in surveillance and to better prepare their surveillance environment to support changes required to meet the current demand for security or liability protection.

Camera resolution increases are not slowing down, retention times are going up, the number of cameras being managed and recorded are increasing, and the need to integrate with other applications like analytics and evidence management are part of the everyday demands being placed on the surveillance department and the equipment entrusted to deliver the surveillance video on demand. Today customers are left with two choices onto which platform to deploy and trust their surveillance infrastructure. Do they choose the closed appliance model or do they choose the open, flexible platform approach? A whitepaper written by another EMC partner – Milestone –  does a good job summarizing the reasons a customer benefits from an open platform deployment approach.

Superior scalability for changing needs and budgets
A strong advantage of IP network-based video surveillance systems over analog video systems is scalability. IP-based systems scale easily from one to thousands of cameras in increments of a single camera. There are none of the mandatory 16-channel jumps dictated by pre-configured analog systems using digital video recorders (DVRs). This makes IP-based solutions ideal for scaling a system as the budget allows. Installation can be done in stages and video encoders can be used to incorporate existing analog cameras, creating a hybrid system that preserves the existing security system investment. It’s nearly always less expensive and less disruptive to set up a hybrid IP video surveillance system while gradually replacing existing analog equipment with the superior functionality of IP network cameras and other components rather than do a ‘forklift’ replacement of an existing analog system to the latest analog technology.

Centralized operations for greater efficiency and effectiveness
A good open platform IP video management solution enables centralization of operations. For a school system or university with multiple campuses, this means all video surveillance operations can be housed in one facility. This enables staff to effectively use resources and space (monitoring more sites with less staff), as well as provide security officers a better overview of what’s happening in security throughout the institution from a single command point.

Milestone, Genetec, and other software companies have had great success providing customers an open, flexible approach to surveillance. Customers and partners win with more choice and freedom to choose the best camera, software and storage that will best meet their needs. EMC’s approach to surveillance is in-line with industry trends and will provide our customers and partners the best future ready platform to deploy their surveillance application of choice.

Want to learn more about EMC Surveillance Solutions? EMC will be attending ASIS
next week.  If you are in attendance we would love to meet you live and answer any questions you have.  Visit the team at booth 2595,attend our theater presentation in the solutions theater on September 29 at 3:30pm PT, or visit our web page.

About the Author: Ken Mills

A leader in the Video Surveillance industry for over 15 years, Ken Mills is the General Manager & Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Dell EMC for the Surveillance and Reconnaissance business, and is regarded as one of the company’s top surveillance and public safety experts. Ken has been instrumental in establishing and growing this business and in the development and marketing of Dell EMC Surveillance solutions that greatly improve the performance, reliability, and manageability of enterprise surveillance infrastructure systems. After serving in the Navy as a nuclear engineer, Ken spent five years as a partner in one of the largest contract field sales organizations in the United States. He subsequently became a founding member of the Cisco Systems incubation organization, Emerging Technologies, whose goal was to identify the next billion-dollar businesses for Cisco. Ken quickly became a leader at Cisco and spent almost 8 years building a thriving business for Cisco focused on Surveillance, Access Control, and Emergency Response. Ken joined Dell EMC in 2013 to help the company build what has become a thriving business around Surveillance. He is responsible for developing the concept of a “Public Safety Data Lake,” where agencies can leverage enterprise data management solutions to address the growing demand for storage and security, and has published numerous articles about public safety technology trends. Ken is a founding member of the Cyber Security Advisory Board for the Security Industry Association and is on the Board of Directors for the Security Industry Association. Ken is an Advisory Board Member to the National Spectator Sports Safety and Security organization and is also Fellow with United States State Department. He is uniquely qualified to discuss the Dell EMC value proposition for Surveillance.
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