The importance of video in an organisation has been growing over the past several years, almost exponentially. In retail, video images can help detect or deter theft by employees and patrons. Casinos use video partly due to state regulations, to ensure gaming activity is free of deceit or fraud. Branch offices use video to communicate with the head office. Schools use video for distance learning while medical facilities use video for remote consultations. And so on.
|Successful video infrastructure
management requires visibility into the
VNA – where credit is due
In these and other examples, recorded video can be priceless. It can save executives from legal action or save a corporation millions of dollars in liability. On the other hand, if the video system fails to record during that critical moment, the loss can be staggering. This is why assuring the video stream is completing its intended path has become one of IT and security’s biggest challenges. Oversight for this has become the role of what is beginning to be termed a Video Network Administrator, or VNA – a position that for the most part does not formally exist, but should. Typically a team comprising security technology, systems integrator technicians and IT, these individuals work diligently to keep video surveillance up and running. Now it is time to recognise this position and the person fulfilling it, as the VNA will play a vital role in your security strategy, a role that will increase in importance with the continuing expansion and integration of video surveillance technologies.
Role of VNA in maintaining video uptime
Recorded video can be priceless. It can save executives from legal action or save a corporation millions of dollars in liability. On the other hand, if the video system fails to record during that critical moment, the loss can be staggering
Successful video infrastructure management requires visibility into the network’s behaviour. Each video stream is an amalgam of many different systems and processes, the failure of any one of which can result in missing video. Heterogeneous video networks may include cameras at the edge, complex VMS and other software, networking infrastructure, hard discs for recording and more. The more technology you have deployed in your video solution, the more elements there are that could potentially run too slowly, cut out intermittently or fail at any given time. Spot-checking the system will not identify degrading components or other developing problems.
Once a problem is detected, it can be a tremendous challenge for the VNA to identify the cause. Uncertainty about where the root of the problem lies can lead to guesswork and an inefficient trial and error process to try and solve it. Having a number of providers, contractors and vendors for your system exacerbates the problem as they may be reluctant to take responsibility for the issue, which only prolongs video downtime. Informational truck rolls are expensive and use even more time in trying to solve problems. During this time there is a lack of situational awareness, video is not being archived, investigations are negatively impacted and as a whole the organisation is at a higher risk.
Without question, management of the video stream is a serious and complicated issue for risk management, highlighting the crucial nature of the VNA’s role in the organisation. This role will only grow in complexity and importance as video surveillance systems become larger and integrate with more hardware and software solutions. It is time not only to recognise the value of VNAs, but to consider how automation can make them more effective and efficient at their profession.
SaaS – the problem identifier
Greater recognition of these challenges is driving a new segment of growth in the IT industry that has strong applicability within the security industry as well. Now there are software-as-a-service solutions that can monitor each unique video stream, detect when any interruption or decay is causing a gap in the stream, and alert the VNA with actionable information on how to quickly solve the problem. This software provides almost immediate ROI – but very quietly, as there is no way to measure the problems and liabilities that an organisation has avoided by ensuring a robust video stream at all times.
The role of VNA will only grow in complexity and importance as video surveillance systems become larger and integrate with more hardware and software solutions
What can be measured, and therefore managed, is diagnostic data. SaaS solutions provide this in the form of key performance indicators (KPIs) that give visibility and insight into the behaviour of the IP video network and video operations. Furthermore, a well-designed user interface delivers the information directly to mobile phones and tablets in addition to desktop PCs, utilising data visualisation and diagnostic graphing to help the user better understand system statistics. Useful KPIs include:
- Video path uptime
- Video stream delivery index
- Video retention compliance
- Average ticket response time
- Mean failure recovery time
Finally, in the current environment where customer service and support truly defines a brand’s value to its community, it is essential for expert live assistance to be a quick call or click away at all times. This helps to get any questions or issues resolved even more quickly, further raising the ROI.
Video has been established as a vital tool in an organisation, and the individual who is fulfilling the role of VNA in any organisation will, with absolute certainty, welcome the adoption of this type of automated software to maintain the health of the video network. For executive management, who are ultimately responsible for any risk that exists in the organisation, this is a winning solution.