VMS is evolving according to the needs and expectations of end users. One method to meet user needs is to design VMS with specific verticals in mind. In this article, we discuss what variables change between VMS for different verticals.
VMS vendors are offering versions of their product tailored for specific verticals. This means that if you are planning to monitor traffic, you can buy a VMS suited for transportation. Or if you are monitoring a chain of convenience stores, you can purchase a VMS that has been designed with retailers in mind. Given the very different settings of video surveillance, providing vertical solutions seems like a natural next step in the evolution of VMS. End users can purchase suitable VMS without having to request a customized product. Let's take a look at the ways in which vertical-specific VMS can differ from one another.
Depending on the vertical, the architecture of the video surveillance system and scalability will affect how it is deployed. Video surveillance in retail often needs VMS that can handle local management at individual stores as well as centralized video management at headquarters. Large enterprises often take this to the extreme, requiring several layers of video management, corresponding to local, regional, national and international tiers of an organization. In these cases, end users will want to consider VMS that have enterprise management capabilities that allow sites to locally manage video, but that can also allow video to be centrally managed. Verticals with multiple sites may also need to consider bandwidth issues. VMS with bandwidth control features or VMS that have the ability to reduce bandwidth consumption may allow surveillance systems to operate more smoothly.
Some verticals require a large number of cameras, accessories and users, and need to find a VMS that can reliably support surveillance on such a large scale. Airport video surveillance systems are typically composed of hundreds or thousands of cameras. “A suitable VMS needs to have the appropriate scalable architecture in order to support this infrastructure,” said Francis Lachance, PM at Genetec. “A large camera count system also comes with a large number of users, alarms, workflows and more, which in turn needs to be supported by the VMS.”
Besides being large and having complex architecture, airport surveillance must also be redundant. In addition to the number of hardware components, the number of clients on a server can also take a toll on the system. Marc Holtenhoff, CEO of Aimetis, said that many airports are not adequately equipped to deal with availability issues. “A lot of the top airports in the world can only get 25 concurrent clients on a server. That's a big deal when there's an event at the airport. Everyone's accessing the server at the same time, and the server will just crash. There's no tolerance for downtime.”
Lachance warns that critical surveillance systems should protect the video recording from failure via a built-in mechanism in the VMS to offer continuous system access, uninterrupted video streaming, health monitoring and system self-check.
“A comprehensive solution for high availability is not cheap,” said Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ademco Far East (an Ademco Security Group company). “ But more businesses now realize that they cannot afford the downtime.”
Video surveillance is often used for post-event investigations, rather than responding during an event. Verticals that may use video surveillance as evidence should consider a VMS' forensics functions, such as smart archive analysis or integration with VCA. “The advantages these systems have to offer are evident since the video surveillance system's work is largely the work with the video archive,” said Evgenia Ostrovskaya, Global Business Development Director, Axxonsoft. “This work used to mean long and not necessarily effective analysis of the entire video archive, whereas new features allow users to quickly find a video frame by relevant criteria or look through all the events captured within a set period of time. This makes working with the video archive much more efficient and reliable, as operators get tired after watching archived video for a long time and can easily miss a significant event.”
Being open platform means VMS is integrated with different manufacturer cameras, but also access control, alarms and more. However, the VMS may not be compatible with the preferred access control standard for a certain vertical. A VMS's ability to operate with other systems is an important consideration for vertical-specific applications.
The addition of VCA means the combinations and possibilities are endless. In retail, integration with PoS allows supervision of cashier operations. VCA often allows the display of transaction information on the video, which is useful for cashier supervision, fraud prevention and more.
In banking, an ATM solution can integrate video, transactions and alarm data. This can determine whether individuals are involved in suspicious banking transactions. It can also identify VIP customers, which would improve an institution's customer service.
Additional benefits depend on creative ways to exploit technology. Aluisio Figueiredo, COO, Intelligent Security Systems (ISS) said, “In Argentina, they have a program against compulsive gambling. Pictures of compulsive gamblers are stored in a police database. Every time one of these people walk into a casino, a camera is going to recognize them, send a message to security and security will take them out of the casino.”