[GDSF Secutech 2014] VMS works wonders for verticals
Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 4/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics
VMS is demanded by any vertical market that needs video surveillance to keep facilities and premises safe and secure. Operators from different verticals, however, look for different things in their VMS based on the specific demands and needs of their respective industries. The topics of VMS and its applications in different vertical markets took the center stage during this year's Secutech Taipei and were a main theme discussed by panelists in the Global Digital Security Forum (GDSF) held alongside the exhibition. During the event, industry experts shared their insights into VMS requirements for different verticals and what they considered to be good video management software.
Scalability is one of the first things operators of airports and public transportation facilities look for in choosing the right VMS solution. As the number of cameras increases with the construction of new airport terminals or new subway stations, the ability of VMS to grow with the system becomes critical.
“When we first did the Taipei subway system, we had 1,000-plus cameras and 17 stations, but the numbers have increased to more than 10,000 cameras and more than 100 stations,” said Isabella Lin, Sales Manager of Overseas Sales Division, Instek Digital, which was chosen as a partner of the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. to deploy video surveillance solutions. “Scalability has become an essential thing.”
Reliability, or the ability of a system to maintain stable, steady operation even in the event of system failure, is also crucial. Every piece of video is vital in accident prevention or post-event investigation and is too precious to be lost during any time. Management software that enables continuous system access and uninterrupted video streaming is therefore another important factor that airport and public transportation operators look for.
Finally, video management software nowadays must include a certain level of intelligence, which analyzes abnormalities in videos and responds to those abnormalities accordingly. When someone intrudes into an off-limits area or loiters on the subway platform, a solution with good analytics will detect those scenarios and send an alert to the security personnel. This way, tragedies may be prevented, and lives saved.
“Analytics is becoming a lot more mature, and we're seeing new applications,” said Justin Schorn, Co-Founder of Aimetis, which has deployed VMS solutions in major international airports in the world, including those of Brasilia, Munich, and Perth. “With no analytics, a solution is a very much passive, not a very reactive one. But with analytics, it's more of a proactive product.”
Surveillance plays a critical function in keeping cities safe, livable and responsive to crime, terrorist threats and attacks, accidents and disasters. According to a previously released whitepaper, Milestone, a leading VMS provider, said after a city in Brazil installed a video surveillance system, it noticed a 6 percent reduction in crime. A Nevada police department installed cameras in a high crime area, and within a year research showed that 52.7 percent of the residents felt there was less drug dealing in the area and 77 percent felt that the surveillance system had enhanced their quality of life.
“A safe city project aims to protect citizens and assets. It involves technologies providing situational awareness to various stakeholders, and enables overall operational picture to all relevant agencies,” said Sunny Kong, Director of Sales of Asia, Milestone.
Yet meeting those objectives entails more than installing a bunch of cameras on street lamps or traffic signals. It also has to do with monitoring a gargantuan amount of video footage and identifying people, objects or behaviors that are suspicious. Again, this is where analytics comes in, said Wilson Chin, Marketing Vice President, Verint Asia Pacific.
“It's not so much about (the solution) identifying a license plate. It's more about recognizing that the license plate is supposed to be assigned to a white Honda minivan, and now it's on a black four-door sedan Toyota. That's an alert that someone has switched the license plate,” he said. “As the analytics gets more sophisticated, that's when its value in a big city solution becomes apparent.”
Chin also mentioned the importance of open web monitoring in a safe city solution, which relies on the collective wisdom of the people to identify suspicious individuals or fight crime.
“For those of you who followed the Boston Marathon incident a couple of years ago, you know that one of the ways they tracked down the individuals was analyzing thousands of thousands of photos taken by people through their smartphones,” he said. “It wasn't just the monitoring points of the cameras that was deployed by the city. It was people with smartphones. They would put things on Facebook or Twitter, which greatly expanded the number of images available for analysis. This is the power of crowdsourcing.”
To enable that kind of connectivity between citizens and government agencies through smart devices, an enabler is needed, and according to Milestone's Kong, that enabler is the open platform.
"An open platform enables the use of best-in-breeds in technologies,” he said. “It allows freedom of choice, future-proofs investments, and ensures third-party integrations easily."
No vertical needs security more than the banking industry, which processes a tremendous amount of money on a daily basis. Yet a surveillance installation can get complex and sophisticated when it comes to banks, which operate different sites including corporate buildings, branch offices, ATMs and cash depots. Monitoring these sites to ensure that they are always safe has thus become a priority for security operators.
“The main purpose for a bank in having a video surveillance system is two-fold,” said Jukka Riivari, CEO of Mirasys, which has done business with five out of the top 50 banks across the world, four out of the top six Nordic Banks in Europe, and three central banks. “One fold is to make sure that the premises are intact; there is no intrusion to the premises after the office hours or during the office hours. The other is how can you reduce the false alarm rate so you only have real alarms.”
To manage videos from different locations the VMS must have strong centralization features that can, for example, alert local authorities on irregular banking activities at a specific branch office. Intelligence must also be included in the video management software to reduce false alarms. A complex alarm list, for instance, may be built into the system to make sure that people suspected of intrusion or loitering match the criteria on the alarm list.
At the same time, banking VMS should be able to interface with other technologies, for example access control, intrusion alarms and transactional systems, to prevent and reduce fraud and other financial-reduced crimes. According to a survey conducted by the European ATM Security Team, ATM card skimming resulted in losses of nearly 111 million Euros across Europe during the first half of 2011. Meanwhile, a study released in 2011 by the Aite Group estimates that card fraud costs the U.S. card payments industry US$8.6 billion annually. Against this backdrop, VMS integrated with transactional systems allows instant revelation of transaction irregularities that may result from card skimming.
“It's the specific solutions, not just the DVRs and cameras, that keep the hundreds of branch offices safe,” Riivari said. “You need to be able to detect someone trying to put a skimming device into the system. That is the purpose of one of those solutions needed, not just tools.
Safe and sound
While VMS works differently across verticals, experts at GDSF all reached the consensus that VMS should allow scalability, reliability, integration and intelligence no matter which vertical it is deployed in. These requirements help ensure normal and safe business operations, which are ultimately needed for the end user's sustainable growth.