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How to Troubleshoot Management Software Setup Issues

How to Troubleshoot Management Software Setup Issues
Configuring management software, such as video management and physical security information management, requires customization and time. Alf Chang, Senior Consultant for a&s magazines and a former installer, identifies common pain points during software installation.

Configuring management software, such as video management and physical security information management, requires customization and time. Alf Chang, Senior Consultant for a&s magazines and a former installer, identifies common pain points during software installation.

As large projects with multiple sites increase, the demands they put on security software increase as well. Related video management software (VMS) and physical security information management (PSIM) become more complex. This article will address what things go wrong during configuration and when. The infrastructure and functionality of VMS and PSIM is basically the same. VMS installation and configuration usually takes place when front-end equipment such as cameras are set up, with one-on-one or point-to-point configurations or IP networks.

Setting image flow, frame rate and camera display are also done through the VMS. In other words, VMS and hardware setup both take place at the installation stage. PSIM is not like VMS in its setup. Its main purpose is providing a managed logical interface for collecting hardware signals for operation. All signals are organized into the PSIM architecture, requiring a different process for installation and fine-tuning.

Once the system is set up and the basic hardware is ready, the final fine-tuning is largely the same for PSIM and VMS installation. The IP network and signaling should be tested before operation. The final tweaks at this stage are when common mistakes are made.

These issues are usually related to VMS usage habits and how they differ from PSIM usage. For example, VMS functionality depends on what equipment is selected and whether related vendor agreements ensure interoperability. PSIM, on the other hand, gathers real-time signals to one interface, then provides a graphical interface for operators to manage.

Installers may mistakenly assume that network connectivity is the top priority and configure the network improperly. Another issue is the network configuration. Some are pure TCP/IP, while others combine TCP/IP with I/O ports. This frequently is where installers have problems in the installation process.

Limited Standards
ONVIF compliance is aimed to deliver interoperability, but this is not guaranteed in its current stage. VMS and PSIM both face the same challenges for integrating equipment from multiple vendors, requiring standardization. Systems directly managed by PSIM tend to be more flexible, due to the logical communication interface. Unfortunately, PSIM and VMS management platforms remain plagued by incomplete standards and too many proprietary agreements that limit integration.

For standards, most VMS usage standards are largely the same, while PSIM is a more complex and application-specific management platform. Because they are designed differently, operators cannot swiftly deal with information in a uniform manner. Reporting and response are also difficult to streamline one model. Because of this, standards and uniformity are the greatest hurdles in connecting VMS and PSIM.

Software Selection
Management software is all about unifying information. Instead of each security system working independently of each other — access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection and building management — management platforms gather everything into one cohesive view.

This requires a sufficiently robust system that can handle multiple inputs, along with logical systems for incident analytics and database management. Different systems connect through basic communication protocols to collect information and present it to operators for identification and response.

While buyers cannot exhaustively test a software package beforehand like hardware, they can usually test-drive trial versions. Prior to an installation or before the platform is sold, there will be some sort of dry run or test of whether protocols are interoperable.

Users of large systems will usually know what they want and how to achieve that. Taking the time to run software trials also ensures the VMS or PSIM will definitely work before it is installed, picking up on any potential interoperability issues. Before the complete installation is done, a dry run is a smart preventative measure.

In the Cloud
Hosted solutions promise to take away the pains of installation. However, current cloud solutions such as SaaS, VSaaS and MVaaS limit hardware choice. System setup becomes simple, as they only need to comply with Web protocols. However, for VMS or PSIM platforms, integration of other equipment and settings remains a huge task.

PSIM makes life easier for security operators. Instead of managing systems separately, PSIM provides a converged platform, presenting the most relevant information and advising the best course of action. Operators can piece together the whole picture from many disparate systems.

An integrated platform maximizes existing investments, combining multiple systems into one seamless interface. Configuring management software requires continued communication, as there are no plug-and-play solutions for integration.

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