By Renae Leary, Senior Director, Global Accounts, Tyco Integrated Security
Viewing video on a smart phone is common today in the consumer market. Remote access to video — from anywhere to anywhere — is also an expectation among security end users. The security benefits are undeniable, including greater productivity for security officers, who no longer have to sit at a desk to view video. Easy availability of real-time video of remote locations can help protect a company's people, facilities and assets — and even offer operational benefits. The ability to provide real-time remote video to police or first responders in an emergency can be the difference between life and death.
However, remote video monitoring doesn't just happen, even in the highly connected world of IP video networking. To monitor video of various locations remotely from miles away or even around the globe, integrators should evaluate their customers' systems and ensure the technology infrastructure can handle the higher data flow related to video systems. Here are some factors to consider:
Strength of the Local Network
If the network infrastructure is built to anticipate future needs, a company is already ahead of the curve. This kind of thinking will have a significant impact on a company’s return on its technology infrastructure and total cost of ownership. The fact is, IP security devices do not require a dedicated network. They can be accommodated as any other appliance on the network – just another switch to be turned on when needed. Leveraging existing IT infrastructure, companies can build a unified platform to accommodate various types of connections, including the existing WAN.
Public or Private Cloud?
Security professionals are rightfully focused on risk, and operating in the cloud can cause concerns about the security of the data. However, high levels of encryption easily address these concerns. Operating in the cloud can shift an end user’s focus away from maintenance, data backups and software upgrades to focus more on using the system and on maximizing the benefits it provides. Issues of maintaining servers and related equipment largely disappear, as does the need to invest in the latest PCs. New mobile apps not only provide access to video, they also allow security professionals to execute other system tasks from tablets or smart phones – all using the cloud.
If a company operates internationally, it is critical to be clear on the data privacy laws and local regulations around video use. For example, data privacy laws in Europe are incredibly strict and have a significant impact on the security industry. In particular, sharing employee data stored on an access control system may not be allowed between offices in other countries. Also, strict laws control video storage. The European Union (EU) restricts video retention times, camera placement, video monitoring and data transmission. If a company is not aware of these requirements, it can quickly become noncompliant with the local data privacy laws.
Do you need video based on an alarm or do you want to stream video constantly? The decision has a huge impact on bandwidth. Increased reliance on video complicates the issue of managing bandwidth. The advent of remote viewing makes it easier to view video, but the fastest-growing trend in security — high-resolution, megapixel cameras — requires more bandwidth than a typical network can support. Users should think about ways to manage bandwidth, such as deploying additional hardware to reduce the resolution or changing the frame rate of a video stream to get it across the network. The camera or encoder should address issues such as bandwidth management at the design stage, rather than creating a product and then expecting the user to adapt to its limitations.
Video surveillance solutions are valuable tools that help reduce crime and protect people and property. These solutions deter revenue loss, destruction of valuable information and vandalism. The ability to manage and access video remotely delivers significant benefits for enterprise-class end users, improving operational efficiencies, increased mobility and cost savings.
Renae Leary is Senior Director, Global Accounts for Tyco Integrated Security, which delivers security, fire and life safety solutions to multinational companies, including many Fortune 500 corporations. She can be reached at email@example.com.