A strong video management system is crucial to any video surveillance system. By aggregating data from various sensors, a robust VMS provides businesses and security operators with a more holistic picture of its security setup.
The last few years saw a lot of changes in the VMS industry, particularly with the many mergers and acquisitions of major VMS providers. Technologically speaking, though, there have also been a lot of changes, particularly in terms of the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.
“The IoT in particular has created a market within the VMS world for integration between various building sensors, in addition to the traditional security-related sensors that many of today’s VMS platforms already support,” said Mitchell Kane, President of Vanderbilt Industries.
However, the many benefits of IoT and big data also come with challenges for VMS. For starters, increased connectivity comes with a lot more data and more security vulnerabilities. In order to adapt to these changes, VMS manufacturers are developing systems with improved data handling capabilities and enhanced data protection.
Improved data collection
Nowadays, users demand access to more data. Wider acceptance of big data analysis and IoT are facilitating such demands by improving the collection of data. At the same time, the amount of data being generated is significant and constantly growing.
“Operators cannot focus on every single trigger and technology can help identify what is critical and what is not,” said Steve Birkmeier, VP of Sales and Business Development at Arteco. “That is where intelligent VMS becomes valuable.”
Specifically in terms of big data and IoT, “Big data analysis and IoT-powered devices allow for the collection of myriad data points across systems, services and devices,” said Kevin Wine, VP of Marketing at Verint Systems. He added that there is a growing adoption of software-based solutions that allow data to be correlated from multiple systems to deliver increased situational awareness.
With more data, businesses are able to investigate risks in a more intelligent manner. Wine explained demand by users for more access to data shows that video management and situational awareness platforms must have the ability to connect with IoT devices and analytics in order to allow users to see a more complete picture of their operations. “This approach will also help users be more proactive when it comes to security because they will have all relevant data at their fingertips.”
Birkmeier pointed to the trend of event-driven intelligence (EDI), a streamlined method of collection, analysis and response to incoming security data that allows users to use the same incoming information to their advantage for emergencies and investigations.
“EDI platforms, such as video event management software (VEMS) platforms, rely on streaming, notification and management of data from a number of third-party devices, such as video surveillance, access control, building automation, and fire and intrusion alarms,” Birkmeier explained. “These systems shift the burden from hardware to software as they link facility device notifications into a single easy-to-use interface, using high-level configuration for increased customization and, eventually, more efficient tactical responses to prioritized events.”
Protection against cyberattacks
When talking about security systems, it almost feels like protection against DDoS attacks should be a given; however, cyberattacks on security systems have gotten increasingly sophisticated, particularly since almost all security systems nowadays are networked.
Manufacturers are well aware of the increasing need to better secure data. In fact, trending topics, such as IoT and big data, have pushed VMS manufacturers to incorporate more security protocols in an effort to protect critical data from cyberthreats, according to Kane.
“Cybersecurity for these networkenabled devices is quickly becoming a large differentiator as more and more organizations call on the expertise of in-house IT departments to identify and address potential vulnerabilities on the networks in an effort to protect data and close back door access to domains via hidden developer admin passwords in IP cameras,” Kane explained.
Ken LaMarca, VP of Sales and Marketing at OnSSI, pointed out that mitigating DDoS attacks as they relate to VMS requires a commitment to better data and network protection against cyberattacks. “Encrypting all data used by the VMS, assuring the video is sent in a proprietary format, and exercising diligence regarding changing default camera passwords and utilizing HTTPS are all important security issues that demand continued attention,” he said.
“VMS technology related to DDoS attacks must continue to improve as hackers continue to develop new and more complex ways to attach networks,” LaMarca added. For example, he noted VMS products that incorporate end-to-end encryption are a good first line of defense against such attacks.
VMS beyond security
Many point out that open architecture VMS integrations with IoT and big data broaden the scope of opportunities beyond traditional security. And this is exactly what many clients are looking for in their security investments.
“Data from a number of sensors — whether from access control points, video surveillance cameras, fire and burglary alarms, social media monitoring systems, and more — becomes more valuable as VMS solutions are able to better understand and organize the data into usable information for officials,” Kane said.
The data from these sensors can be useful to security operators, building managers and business owners across verticals, helping them save money and increase ROI for VMS solutions.
Profit margin maximization is a high priority in retail. As such, utilizing security systems to increase operational efficiencies and realize new levels of business intelligence is important. The proper VMS and video surveillance system could help retailers quickly and efficiently manage queue lines, optimize staffing, identify high-traffic periods and even determine the success of promotional campaigns.
LaMarca explained, “Big data integration in vertical markets such as retail can analyze store traffic patterns, provide valuable data for analysis purposes, and ultimately provide enhanced operational efficiencies and greater margins.”
With the number of urban dwellers rapidly increasing, cities are dealing with a growing number of threats. “By leveraging traffic cameras with video analytics for real-time data, stakeholders can detect and track car paths on video footage and alert officials to suspicious movements or abnormal behavior,” Wine said. “By setting pre-defined rules, cities can extract valuable information about traffic and take appropriate action; for example, diverting traffic based on congestion levels or warning drivers of a traffic obstacle ahead.”
Cost containment, operational efficiency, and patient and staff security are top priority. Utilizing VMS to collect and analyze data could yield invaluable information on patient movement within a facility, LaMarca said. “It can help in deploying the closest doctor and/or nurse to an emerging situation, thus saving time and possible lives.” Furthermore, by analyzing employee activities facility managers can determine the need to reduce or add staff, helping to increase operational efficiency.
VMS: Now and then
Technological advancements and the state of global security are what drives VMS development. No longer is VMS only for the management of video — it is now a collector of data, connector of devices and provider of analysis, among others. While VMS manufacturers continue to evolve their technology with technological trends, those that best adapt to new threats and customer demands for increased business intelligence and ROI will be the ones to beat.