What’s new with video management systems (VMS)?
12 May 2020
Video management systems (VMS) have been around almost since the advent of IP cameras. During those years, VMSs have evolved from software that provides basic functionality to more user-friendly systems offering a growing list of capabilities, many of them related to analysing data as well as recording and displaying video. But the evolution is far from over. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What’s new with video management systems (VMS), and what are the new opportunities?
There are two main emerging trends around video management systems that have a direct effect on end users and provide more opportunity for manufacturers at the same time. First are the overlap between systems and the ability for VMS platforms to provide a single operating environment. Security and IT leaders want higher levels of usability and need data to make informed decisions. The opportunity here is creating a platform that integrates with multiple technologies, including video surveillance cameras, access control, analytics software, intrusion and fire alarms, and other ancillary sensors providing data for better decision-making. That leads me to the second trend: big data. All of these sensors are creating a huge amount of data. VMS solutions are becoming better able to leverage intelligence-driven data analysis to distinguish patterns and anomalies in video. From here, the VMS becomes less reactionary and more proactive, which points to emerging threats.
This question certainly isn’t new to the industry, but right now cloud is starting to appear more and more as an offering from Video Management Systems (VMS) manufacturers. Additionally, they are offering hybrid solutions with onsite and offsite capabilities. More services are being built up around this and are able to offer more enriched service offerings. These include remote monitoring services, which can determine whether damage has been done to a camera, or if there were errors, providing notifications long before an onsite manager would be notified. In the VMS world, not much changes, but the growing popularity of cloud and the demand for integration is increasing, bringing about a greater demand for open protocols as well.
The modern VMS is evolving beyond just security, into the operations of organisations. As we see more automation come into play, and the wider adoption of video analytics, customers now have access to better data. It’s not only raw data, but actual information they can act on to improve the services they provide, their daily operations and their bottom line. But it’s important to present that information in the clearest possible way. Live dashboards offer a brand-new perspective on everyday operations, and new ways of seeing your data and monitoring security. At Genetec, we recently introduced this capability as part of our unified platform. The latest developments in map-based surveillance also provide operators a better picture of what and where things are happening. Having access to all cameras and other sensors on a single, dynamic map provides a better, more logical way of using a VMS.
A trend in the VMS sphere is the cloud and VMS being offered as a service. However, many As-a-Service video management systems store raw video, which is one of the biggest costs for a cloud solution – the storage and transmission of data. This is where a hybrid solution comes in by offering the flexibility to access your VMS anywhere through remote access and saving some on storage costs by storing data on a local server. Due to this hybrid approach, opportunities may come from the power of modern Artificial Intelligence (AI) which can run both in the cloud as well as on the new class of powerful IP cameras. Therefore, we may see VMS adopting more analytic processing capabilities in the cloud as well as being used to store analytic events and insights that were produced directly on edge devices including cameras.
We now see a trend towards simplicity, systems that are installed and running in minutes, while still retaining powerful features sets such as redundancy and analytics integration. This simplicity extends from a scalable architecture to the client, providing a consistent and clean interface while still being easy to access via a secure cloud. Another trend is the integration of AI-based camera analytics for live event notifications or as data that can be stored and utilised for forensic search after the event. Being able to “search for red cars” for instance, requires that a VMS not only understands but also integrates this new metadata in a way that makes sense to end-users. This facilitates a deeper, richer drill-down into the data that goes far beyond the image and exposes a new level of intelligence in the video.
The latest enhancements we’re seeing to video management systems (VMS) are creating unprecedented opportunities for mission-critical organisations. Today’s VMS platforms can help organisations transform their security operations center (SOC) from a reactive approach to a more proactive, data-driven posture. In doing so, they are simplifying operations, accelerating response times, and improving outcomes of incidents. This approach also helps in reducing operational costs. By connecting the dots throughout an organisation, you can break down silos to present a complete picture of what’s happening across the entire threat landscape. This then creates the opportunity for businesses to perform faster and more comprehensive investigations, increase operational efficiencies, easily share information with external agencies and third parties, and enhance the organisation’s overall security performance.
Among the new opportunities for video management systems is the availability of cloud-based systems and an as-a-service business model. In addition, VMSs are increasingly integrated with other systems and able to manage more data. The value of VMSs is being extended beyond the security department to provide benefits to other departments in a company. Perhaps most interesting, the trend among VMSs is away from operation as a forensic tool and toward use as a predictor of what’s to come – in short, a transformation from reactive to a proactive.
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