Future of Video Management Systems
Video management solutions are now a mature technology with a trend towards ever greater integration and simplification. We spoke with a number of manufacturers to get their ideas on where the technology is likely to head in the future.
JUST before the end of World War Two the director of the U.S. office of scientific research and development, Dr Vannevar Bush, wrote the most famous technical essay of all time, urging scientists to dedicate themselves to making knowledge more accessible. In the mind of Vannevar Bush, the apocalypse of war was governed by human irrationality, and human irrationality was fuelled in part by our inability to retain sufficient knowledge to overcome biased thinking.
Bush, who headed up a team of 6000 scientists during WW2, had long understood that human perceptions are badly limited, that short term memory is feeble, that human ability to make useful associations in real time is painfully inadequate. And so, after governing vast scientific ingenuity for the task of the destruction of men, Bush called for that ingenuity to be redirected towards giving people a mutual level of contextual comprehension. A comprehension so exacting that in their dealings with each other they might never again appeal to force.
But more than being a humanist, Bush was an empiricist. He envisioned a machine that would give humans the ability to get around the frailties of their own minds. Bush called his machine the memex, a mechanized private file and library. A memex application would store all human knowledge; all records, books, communications, video, photos; as well as all a person’s past lines of enquiry.
For Bush, writing in July 1945, memex would consist of “a desk, and while it can presumably be operated from a distance, it is primarily the piece of furniture at which (the operator) works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which material can be projected for convenient reading. There is a keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers.
“In one end is the stored material. Only a small part of the interior of the memex is devoted to storage…yet if the user inserted 5000 pages of material a day it would take him hundreds of years to fill the repository, so he can be profligate and enter material freely.”
Bush also imagined associative indexing, with data, photos, film and communications relating to an event being catalogued and accessible to a worker at the click of button. Bush called these multiple layers of association a ‘trail’ and he imagined people passing trails of interest between themselves.
While we do not integrate “the wisdom of race experience” in the electronic security industry, our integrated management systems most completely mirror the concept of Vannevar Bush’s memex. Through a workstation interface they associate the data from multiple sub-systems, maps, engineering plans, data, video and communications across the networks of global enterprise in real time.
Our systems put this information at the fingertips of a single operator while simultaneously giving them power to respond at the device level. And after an event, electronic security systems are designed to give investigators clear trails, allowing more complete understanding of events. The fact these management systems are the interface between operators and the data our field devices gather makes their future development of central interest to integrators and end users.
According to Kobi Ben-Shabat of OPS, integration and unification is definitely the current major requirement from customers.
“The ability of systems to manage integration and unification will continue to be a key requirement of end users,” he says. “The delivery of a unified platform (video, access control, LPR) as well as the ability to integrate to 3rd party systems such as intrusion detection, IP Intercom, BMS, Lifts and other services is crucial for end users.
“I think the second key requirement is user interface enhancement. This includes the ability to use either powerful maps or enhanced user interface features that provide an operator with better capability to manage the edge devices out in field.”
For Ben-Shabat, there are a number of key aspects of video management in the future from the point of view of underlying functionality.
“Mobility is one of the key requirements, as well as enhanced capabilities in web clients and specific applications together with the unification of video and access control assisting in driving that requirement,” he says.
“Encrypted video and edge recording (SD card) together with the ability to stream cameras to the cloud simplifying the management of the cameras and providing video as a service (VaaS) is also becoming important to more and more customers.”
As to operator functionality in terms of future-tech, Ben-Shabat doesn’t see gesture-based solutions or Google Glass for security officers just yet.
“But touch screens giving mobility are a very important part of how operators can be more efficient and can enhance their day to day work,” he says. “The technology evolution and new hi–tech gadgets can be useful in certain applications but to mainstream customers the basic requirement is user interface improvement and HD cameras.”
Over at Camvex, Matt Del Biondo agrees, saying he doesn’t believe in hi-tech gimmicks but favours the KISS principle when it comes to video management solutions. Instead, Del Biondo, the most significant trends in the development of video management solutions include lower costs, as well as simpler setup and operation.
“I see a trend towards an easier and more affordable migration path to HD utilising existing cable infrastructure while still incorporating legacy SD cameras,” he says.
“Vital too, is producing far superior evidential video by recording at high quality HD resolution but being able to manage the distribution of live and higher bit rate HD recorded images over limited bandwidth connections.”
Del Biondo has a pragmatic view of video management solutions in the real world.
“More than 90 per cent of CCTV cameras installed in Australia aren’t actually monitored live,” he explains. “Instead they are reviewed after an incident has occurred with the hope that some useful video evidence will be available.
“This means a VMS should be simple to use for live monitoring, play back and backing up an incident. Support documentation and video tutorials for installation and operation of a VMS is paramount to the satisfaction of the user.
“Additionally, local technical support is essential, as well as further development of software features and maintaining backward compatibility with older hardware,” Del Biondo says.