By Gadi Piran, president, OnSSI
As video management system (VMS) capabilities continue to expand, these sophisticated software systems are also becoming easier to manage from an IT perspective. For example, VMS software now offers more centralized system wide administration of large installations. Automatic camera licensing can now enable a system administrator to connect and replace cameras – which are immediately fully operational – whenever convenient. Streamlined operation simplifies assignment of user privileges for viewing and controlling cameras, and more granular user rights can now be assigned. The ability to assign camera aliases allows administrators to maintain their own naming convention while assigning aliases that reflect camera location and function to promote more efficient user operation, such as “North Parking Lot PTZ Camera.”
Beyond these benefits to easier IT integration, video management systems are also evolving in lockstep with several trends that are changing the IT market. Here are some examples:
Virtualization. Compatibility with VMware and Microsoft Virtual PC enables VMS software systems to be installed on virtual servers, with advantages such as fewer physical servers, a smaller data center footprint and more flexibility to manage and use capacity.
Software as a Service (SaaS). VMS software can be utilized by SaaS providers as a means to minimize hardware investments while preserving full functionality. The latest development in VMS systems supplies video streams to users over the Internet at their original frame rates with no compromise in number of camera streams displayed or picture quality, even when using a low-speed connection or across limited bandwidth networks.
Non-proprietary, software-only solutions. Software that can perform across a range of off-the-shelf hardware system hosts enables lower-cost systems and empowers customers to assemble the best systems without being captive to proprietary hardware.
Enterprise class solutions. Large-scale VMS systems meet enterprise requirements such as offering high quality of service, managing large volumes of data and the ability to support large organizations.
Non-recurring costs. Investment in a VMS software system avoids recurring costs by providing ongoing functionality based on payment of a one-time fee.
Third-party integrations at no additional costs. VMS software providers work with third-party suppliers to integrate video systems with other systems such as fire, intrusion detection, access control, IP telephone systems and business management systems. Sharing software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) among suppliers ensures seamless integration at no additional cost to resellers and end-users.
Monitoring IT closets/data centers for intrusion. Controlling physical access to system hardware is a critical factor of IT security and VMS systems. This allows system administrators to see what's happening with their own eyes.
Work flow/process flow events via composite event (rules-based) notification. Viewing workflow and process flow is an emerging application for VMS systems, and sophisticated rules-based notification systems combined with video can manage any process enterprise-wide. Such applications beyond the realm of physical security can contribute to system ROI and cost justification and offer enterprise-wide benefits.
Implementation of green initiatives. Corporate green initiatives are rampant, and IT departments are often looking for ways to contribute to greening their companies. Use of video can help to manage energy costs by revealing, for example, when lights are left on in an empty room. Determining whether a room is occupied, and even being able to count how many people are in the room, can help to manage energy costs related to heating and air conditioning (HVAC).
As part of the broader IT industry, VMS systems are impacted by the same trends as other categories. It is clear that VMS systems are embracing IT changes and providing new ways to manage and react to the industry shifts.