Digital video recorders (DVRs) - Expert commentary

ONVIF Profile T and H.265: the evolution of video compression
ONVIF Profile T and H.265: the evolution of video compression

In today’s market, efficient use of bandwidth and storage is an essential part of maintaining an effective video surveillance system. A video management system’s ability to provide analysis, real time event notifications and crucial image detail is only as a good as the speed and bandwidth of a surveillance network. In the physical security industry, H.264 is the video compression format used by most companies. Some companies also employ H.264 enhancements to compress areas of an image that are irrelevant to the user at a higher ratio within a video stream in order to preserve image quality for more important details like faces, license plates or buildings. The H.265, H.264’s successor, will be increasingly used for compression in the future. Some companies are already using H.265 in their cameras and video management systems, while a host of other manufacturers are certainly preparing for its broader adoption in the years to come. Video compression technologies Reduced bandwidth and storage requirements are the primary benefits of video compression technologies Reduced bandwidth and storage requirements are the primary benefits of video compression technologies. In some cases, H.265 can double the data compression ratio of H.264, while retaining the same quality. Increased compression rate translates into decreased storage requirements on hard drives, less bandwidth usage and fewer switches – all of which reduce overall costs of system ownership. H.265 compression delivers a lower bitrate than H.264, which is relevant to end users and integrators because the lower bitrate reduces strain on hardware and can reduce playback issues. It’s very important that the compression format that is used is supported in all of the different components of a system: cameras, desktop computers on which the VMS is running and the VMS itself. It is also good for end users and integrators to understand the basics of video compression. Having a basic understanding of compression allows users to tweak settings to reduce bandwidth usage even more. Many cameras come with default settings that can be changed to ultimately reduce costs. ONVIF physical security In the physical security industry, ONVIF is working to incorporate into its specifications the use of new formats such as H.265 but is not directly involved in developing the compression standards themselves. With Profile T, the new ONVIF video profile released will employ a new media service that is compression agnostic. This means that it can support new video compression formats, including H.265, as well as new audio compression formats, with the ability to include new video and audio codecs as needed in the future without having to redesign its media service. In the physical security industry, ONVIF is working to incorporate into its specifications the use of new formats such as H.265 Standardisation organisations that are directly addressing new compression standards include the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and a joint commission of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which is addressing the coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information. Other compression formats on par with H.264 and H.265 are being developed by companies such as Google. H.265 compression formats Using products that employ H.265 compression will reduce costs through bandwidth reduction, as will changing default settings on cameras, which are often conservative. Having a basic understanding of compression formats and how to tweak camera factory default settings also gives integrators the ability to further reduce bandwidth for added costs savings and increased system performance. These enhancements will analyse which parts of an image are most important and adjust local levels of compressions accordingly It is also worth noting that H.265 enhancements will likely be developed by camera manufacturers to further reduce bandwidth, as was the case with H.264. These enhancements will analyze which parts of an image are most important and adjust local levels of compressions accordingly. While H.265 itself is ready for prime time, its value as a tool for IP-based surveillance systems is dependent on support for the codec in all parts of the system – the VMS, server hardware, graphics cards and camera. Though widespread H.265 adoption is predicted, providers of these components are jumping on the H.265 bandwagon at different rates of speed. ONVIF is including support for H.265 in its new video profile, Profile T, because it believes it will become the most widely used compression format and ONVIF recognises the need to anticipate that migration as a future need of the industry. The new media service, which will be implemented with Profile T, will be future-proof in that when new compression formats are released in the future, ONVIF can adopt them very quickly. That flexibility will definitely help integrators.

HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade
HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade

According to IHS Market, it is estimated that there are over 60 million security cameras in the United States, and other reports say these cameras capture more than four billion hours of footage per week. Over the last decade, IP camera technology has dominated the conversation as it has provided users with a broad offering of enhanced image quality and features. With a large percentage of existing security systems relying on analogue, many end users looking for high definition (HD) video quality have been forced to take on a complete system overhaul. Infrastructure overhaul for HD video To make the switch, customers would need to change everything, from cameras to hardware to wiring– not to mention the lengthy installation process that would ensue. IP cameras also require higher Internet speeds and more cloud space. Whether constrained by budget, bandwidth or storage, many end users have been unable to adopt this new video surveillance method.Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike. By utilising the current Coaxial cables, this offering yields high definition video, while requiring minimal infrastructure changes and is an optimal surveillance choice for security customers. Plus, with new advancements and updates being made frequently to this technology, there is a solution for every security need. The enhanced alternative of HD over Coax has been warmly welcomed in the security industry, thanks to its simple solutions and ever-evolving features. Many new analogue HD cameras are “plug and play,” able to connect directly to existing Coaxial cables. This eliminates the need for a complete system change, creating cost-savings for the end user and an enhanced video quality offering. Easy solutions for HD video As a result, integrators can cost-effectively upgrade their customer’s surveillance solution while using their legacy infrastructure, making it an attractive option for end users and an easy sell for dealers. Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems, where even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response HD over Coax cameras themselves are always expanding and evolving to meet a wide array of security needs. With the introduction of fisheye and multi-sensor cameras, users now have a multitude of coverage options, not to mention the introduction of 4K bringing resolution options to the same level as IP. Some newer technologies are even touting 4K cameras paired with 4K digital video recorders (DVRs) made specifically for analogue systems. Longer cables grant transmission for up to 1600 feet, double the distance of standard analogue solutions, and triple that of IP systems. This single cable is able to transmit both HD video and audio. Recently, broadcast quality audio over Coax has become available in limited models, a substantial improvement over older analogue technology, which was unable to transmit audio. Stopping video delay Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems. Even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response. IP cameras are forced to compress and packetise their video for transmission. The outcome of this is a reduced number of images per video, which in turn causes delay. HD over Coax on the other hand, delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity. Additionally, the point-to-point transmission delivers uncompressed video free of lag. Another touted benefit is that, unlike IP networked cameras, analogue systems provide a more secure video transmission. With so much sensitive information housed on a businesses’ network, adding another point of network access through an IP camera can create concerns for cyber security risks. HD over Coax delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity Preventing network hacking With HD over Coax, the physical connections between the camera and DVR prevent network hacking. By keeping the video surveillance system offline, security professionals are able to direct their attention to the physical threats at hand, rather than having to focus on deterring cyber security risks. One of the primary difficulties of deploying HD video solutions is the fact that many older systems utilise a wide variety of HD standards and platforms. To make matters more complicated, after HD over Coax was brought to market, manufacturers raced to create their own version of this technology. Today, the most popular proprietary standards are HD-CVI, HD-TVI and AHD. However, integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible.Integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible Diversifying surveillance through one DVR To combat these issues, manufacturers have introduced products with more flexibility to their portfolios. One example of this is the penta-brid DVR which grants the ability to seamlessly integrate multiple technologies deployed across one application. This means that systems with diverse camera brands and technologies, such as a mix of HD-CVI, HD-TVI, AHD, analogue or IP, can be connected through one DVR. For many end users with legacy analogue systems, penta-brid DVRs give them greater freedom to choose between a variety of solutions, rather than being limited to one option. With video resolution increasing, the space needed to store the footage is similarly rising. Penta-brid technology has been able to adapt to these evolving needs, giving users ample storage space to house the HD and 4K surveillance video with some of the newest models including H.265 compression.  HD casino surveillance made simple For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff While HD over Coax is beneficial to many end users and integrators, those in the casino and hospitality markets find it crucial. With a combination of high profile guests, large amounts of cash on hand, constant crowds and strict industry regulations, reliable video surveillance is a must. Deploying new IP systems comes at a stiff price. When looking to upgrade their video surveillance, casinos must also be mindful of the installation process. When moving to an IP-based system, ripping out old wires and replacing them with new is the standard practice. This practice can be both disruptive and costly, not to mention gaming regulations require casino activities be monitored at all times so a complete system shutdown would result in revenue loss. This cost can be hard to justify, especially when the current legacy analogue system remains in working condition with only the lower image resolution to date it. For these scenarios, the most cost-effective option is to leverage the legacy infrastructure, replace the existing cameras with new devices, and reap the benefits that HD video has to offer without any lapse in security. For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff. HD over Coax cameras now offer the same resolution as IP cameras with a plug and play approach, that cuts down on expense without sacrificing quality. For businesses and applications that are unable to adopt IP technology, whether it be cost or time prohibitive, HD over Coax now features most of the same benefits IP has to offer without breaking the bank. By providing clear images in real time, maximising existing infrastructure, and affording cyber security benefits, HD over Coax provides an attractive solution for many end users and integrators.

Video surveillance must modernise in storage, recording and on-demand access
Video surveillance must modernise in storage, recording and on-demand access

Dollars spent by video surveillance customers must go towards ensuring high-availability capture, storage and on-demand access to live and archived video. Reaching this goal mandates high-availability of independent components – camera, network, storage (edge, external), internet connectivity, display, all Video Management Software (VMS) components and an architecture that can take advantage of this. In this note, we focus on seeing our way through to a video surveillance architecture, that provides high availability storage, access to live and stored video content. Of all options available to store recorded video, edge recording is the only one that is unaffected by network failure Edge recording Of all options available to store recorded video, edge recording is the only one that is unaffected by network failure. This makes edge storage a must-have. But, this has some limitations at present: Edge storage capacity is limited. Edge media has a short lifetime, rated only for thousands of hours of continuous recording. Most cameras are not secure and physical damage to the camera could lead to catastrophic loss of edge stored content. As storage and compression technology evolve, the constraints imposed by (1) and (2) could go away. However, securing cameras will continue to be a barrier for most installations. Secure external storage It is thus imperative to also store video in secure external storage. Such an architecture uses edge storage to fill in content gaps created by network, external storage outages. As edge storage technology improves, larger gaps can be filled in, but one will always need external storage. By our definition, ‘external storage’ is a solution stack that includes storage media and all software (including VMS) that provide access to this storage. Access to live and archived video Access to live video can either be met by external storage or directly by the camera Every surveillance solution needs to provide access to live and archived video. Access to live video can either be met by external storage or (and) directly by the camera. All things being equal, having the camera directly provide live video access, is a higher-availability solution. There is dependence on fewer components in the chain. Solutions in the market use one of the above two approaches for access to live video. Due to limited capacity and low physical security of edge storage, it makes sense at present, to have external storage meet all requests for archive video. Thus, we are led to an architecture that has heavy dependence on external storage. Dual-recording For high-availability, external storage must be architected with redundancy. Ideally, independent components that make up external storage – storage media, associated hardware and software (including VMS components), should be individually redundant and have smart interconnectivity. However, solutions in the market rigidly tie these components together. Failure of a single component causes failure of external storage. For e.g. hardware failure of a server causes VMS component failure AND storage failure. DR provides a smart way to provide high-availability for external storage For these solutions in the market, high-availability is achieved by having additional external storage units that step-in during outages of primary units. If these additional units continuously duplicate primary units, access gaps are minimised, and archive access is un-affected during primary unit outages. This is the idea behind Dual-Recording (DR).  To meet cost budgets, these additional units can be configured to store subsampled (framerate, resolution) video content. A small number of additional units can support concurrent outages of all primary units. A few-to-many redundancy. Rising need for dual-recording Most cameras cannot be physically secured, and video content produced by a camera must be stored externally. Many VMS solutions use external storage to service live video access requests. Edge storage limitations impose restrictions on edge archive access at present. So, external storage is used to service requests for archive access too. Thus, a surveillance system ends up being over-dependent on external storage. DR provides a smart way to provide high-availability for external storage. As edge storage improves, it will be able to service archive access requests. VMS software will need to evolve, to use this capability smartly.

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Digital Watchdog DW Spectrum IPVMS v2.5 video management software adds new storage and performance features
Digital Watchdog DW Spectrum IPVMS v2.5 video management software adds new storage and performance features

Digital Watchdog (DW™), the industry leader in digital recorders, surveillance cameras and related management software, announces the release of the latest update for DW Spectrum™ IPVMS. The new v2.5 software adds powerful new features including a bookmarks engine and storage backup, performance improvements and improved support for multi-sensor cameras. Easy approach to HD surveillance DW Spectrum IPVMS is an elegantly easy cutting-edge approach to HD surveillance, addressing the primary obstacles and limitations of managing enterprise-level HD video while offering the lowest total cost of deployment and ownership of any solution on the market. The software offers advanced search features to help you quickly find incidents or instantly review an exact date and time. The software is cross-platform, installs quickly and provides instant network mapping and discovery to start viewing your entire security system in minutes. DW Spectrum IPVMS is a perfect solution for any application that requires ease, speed, efficiency, and unprecedented image quality. “With the timely release of DW Spectrum 2.5, it continues to deliver unprecedented return on investment without the need for an annual maintenance agreement.” said Patrick Kelley, Director of IP Sales – North America, Digital Watchdog. “These new features are seamlessly incorporated into the DW Spectrum user interface, providing a dramatically easier user experience for all user levels than any other video management solution on the market.” DW Spectrum™ IPVMS features: New Mobile Apps - Brand new cross-platform mobile apps for iOS and Android with better performance, revamped design and consistent user experience across both Apple iOS and Google Android devices. Bookmarks - Users can create bookmarks for specific segments of archived video with names, descriptions, and tags either manually or via the Rules & Events engine. Storage Backup - Users can now set up scheduled or real-time archive backup of high-res, low-res, or all streams from selected cameras to local, NAS, or even cloud-based storage locations (e.g. ftp sites, Amazon Prime Storage, etc). PTZ Preset as an Action - Users can now set up rules to trigger a PTZ preset as an action (e.g. create a motion event on a fixed camera that triggers the PTZ to look at the spot where motion occurred). Alarm Layout - allows users to set display-camera-on-Alarm-Layout as an action (aka pop-up video on alarm). Live Video Text Overlay - allows users to create custom text overlays-as-an-action (including Generic Event API). New device support: Axis F44 Main Unit Axis Q6000E panoramic camera ACTi V23 4 Channel Encoder (with I/O Support) Messoa IP Cameras (with I/O Support) Hikvision DS-6704HFI 4 Channel Video Server Implemented "Advanced" Settings for DWC-BVI2IR cameras Improved support for DWC-PZV2M72T cameras Vista VK2-1080XVRDPTPMF camera now mapped for advanced PTZ Arecont RTSP camera support implemented Digital I/O support for Arecont cameras implemented Improvements to management software: Added "Connect" button to the "Test" dialogue during dialogue Updated viewing cell icons and improved styling for "info" data Calendar widget can now be pinned Added layout background support for video wall Transcoding is now enabled by default for video export from multi-sensor cameras (e.g. DWC-PZV2M72T) Added warning before export if export will result in video downscaling (applies only to very high resolution or multi-sensor cameras) "Timeline mode" renamed to "Time Mode". Change can be seen in timeline, timestamps in Event Logs, Audit Trail and Bookmark Log Added ability to sort Alarm/Event Rules by any column Improved "Server Settings" and "System Administration" dialogs - now changes can be applied without closing dialog Storage Analytics improvement - storage utilised by deleted/moved out cameras is displayed separately Storage usage optimisations and improvements Improved time synchronisation mechanism between Servers Improved error messages for some cases of push updates failure "Free Storage Space" is increased from 5Gb to 50Gb for NAS   Server SSL can now be disabled API documentation is improved and extended General Server stability improvements based on anonymous usage and crash statistics

MESSOA Maven IP cameras secure Tokyo shopping district
MESSOA Maven IP cameras secure Tokyo shopping district

The shopping District, or Shoutengai, in Koto-Ku, Tokyo is located next to a busy train station that gathers many restaurants, shops, and sake bars together in this newly vibrant neighbourhood. As the area becoming more commercially alive, there was an increasing concern for crimes taken place within the district, especially during late nights. For the purpose of crime prevention, the Shopping District Association began to consider deploying surveillance cameras at the crime hot spots as a way to strengthen the public safety in the neighbourhood. Yet with its limited finances, the association had to look for an effective solution at a lower cost that would cope with its tight budget. Solution With the help from MESSOA, more than 60 Maven series NCR365 IR bullet cameras and a dozen of NOD385 IR dome cameras were introduced in this project. Equipped with a 3MP CMOS sensor and removable IR-cut filter for 24/7 monitoring, these cameras deliver exceptional image quality for accurate identification at crime-prone spots. Both cameras support onboard memory with microSD card slot that utilises edge recording technology. Up to 64GB of HD quality CCTV footage can be recorded locally on each camera without the need of installing NVRs, saving a significant amount of installation costs. Structure-wise, both the NCR365 and NOD385 are IP67 certified, featuring built-in heater and weatherproof enclosure to ensure the cameras are capable of withstanding any harsh environments in Japan, particularly in winter times. Result By utilising the edge-based recording technology, the whole project eliminated the need for a centralised recording server or storage, helping the association saving a great deal of costs as planned. This solution did not compromise reliability thanks to SD card’s solid state without any moving parts like a hard drive. The files can be securely stored and easily retrieved when needed. The motorised lens with auto focus of the NCR35 provided benefits to the project as well by drastically facilitating the time-consuming installation. Technicians were able to get the job done fast with easy by taking advantage of remote configuration with simple mouse clicks. The simplified set up cut the installation process short and saved lots of labour costs as result.

Messoa, PlateSmart enter into integration partnership for effective license plate recognition solution
Messoa, PlateSmart enter into integration partnership for effective license plate recognition solution

Partnership comes fresh on heels of Messoa’s exhibition of its latest HD IP cameras specifically designed for ALPR at IFSEC 2015 PlateSmart automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) software-only solutions are known for working with cameras across the spectrum of the security industry. Messoa, one of the security industry’s premier video camera manufacturers, has consistently produced cameras that work effectively with PlateSmart’s products, making for a strong and productive association. The relationship between the two companies has now been cemented by recently joint announcement that PlateSmart and Messoa have entered into an official integration partnership agreement. Messoa’s HD IP cameras for ALPR applications at IFSEC 2015 The announcement comes fresh on the heels of Messoa’s successful exhibition at IFSEC 2015 in London, where it displayed its latest models of high-definition IP cameras specifically designed for ALPR use. Among the cameras on display was a model boasting 3 megapixels of resolution in addition to headlight suppression, built-in infrared (IR) illumination, and other features conducive to excellent ALPR performance. Pairing of PlateSmart’s HD ALPR engine with Messoa’s HD cameras In addition to the high-quality product offerings from both companies, the effectiveness of the PlateSmart-Messoa combination springs from the pairing of PlateSmart’s high-definition (HD) ALPR engine with Messoa’s HD cameras, which enables users to cover a wider area and capture multiple plates with only a single camera. According to PlateSmart CEO John Chigos, the partnership with Messoa fits perfectly with the Company’s market philosophy. “PlateSmart has always made a point of choosing best-of-breed channel partners,” he says. “With Messoa, we are able to offer our customers everything they could want in license plate recognition. Messoa gives them a fantastic video image while PlateSmart gives them our unparalleled accuracy, flexibility, and data integrity protection.” “We are very excited about the partnership with PlateSmart”, said Allan Lee, President of MESSOA Technologies Inc. “With the integration of MESSOA CatchAll™ engine and PlateSmart HD LPR engine, it makes the state-of-art LPR solution obtainable and affordable, which ultimately benefits to the public safety as well as increases management effectiveness for applications in need of LPR solution such as parking lots, campus and schools, for example.”

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