Options and Challenge for Video Surveillance Integrationby John Honovich, IPVM posted on Aug 26, 2008 About John Contact John
It's tough and getting tougher to figure out the best approach to integrate video surveillance with other security systems. While the industry conversation centers on the value of integration, the real challenge is how to make this happen, effectively, cost-efficiently and simply.
This challenge is growing and is not simply the standard issues in technology selection and design. A few years ago, the options were fairly clear (if exceedingly limited). Or speaking more precisely, the option was fairly clear: The access control system functioned as the command center and the other systems, such as video feed into the access control's platform.
Today, we have three categories, contenders if you will, for the role of master application in security systems:
- The Access Control System: the classic approach
- The PSIM system: the emerging trend of deploying a dedicated application managing traditional security systems
- The Video Surveillance System: a growing movement by video vendors to manage other systems
Which one do you choose? Which one is best? Which one will win?
Access control is the most well developed of the options available, having been fostered over the last decade. Most access control systems can interface with a variety of video management systems. Key advantages include the fact that almost everyone has access control and adding in the interfaces is fairly inexpensive. The main customer drawback of access control systems as the central platform is that they tend to limit 3rd party support to products that most help their immediate sales. The larges incumbents such as GE, Tyco (Software House) and Honeywell have all been cited on these issues. Also, access control systems almost never support other access control system so if you need to support multiple access control systems, this generally will not work.
While PSIM stands for the concept of managing physical security information, it also covers a group of companies that are building dedicated applications whose sole purpose is to manage security systems such as access control and video management systems. Notable vendors include Orsus, Proximex and Vidsys. Because they are not owned or controlled by access control or video vendors, they can and do offer a wide variety of support for different manufacturers. They also are optimizing their solution for large-scale security management rather than extending an existing access control system. The downside is that you have to buy a new product that is neither cheap nor trivial to implement ($100,000 USD - $1,000,000+ USD).
More and more, video management vendors are adding in PSIM functionalities into their system. For instance, VideoNEXT, traditionally a video management vendor, is now marketing a video + PSIM solutuion. Verint's Nextiva and OnSSI's Ocularis are bringing in PSIM features such as mapping, third party system integration, workflow management, etc. A key advantage is that it can be cheap and easy to add functionalities into a User Interface that a customer may already be using. However, limited or no support of other video systems is an important downside. To make it even more confusing, two of the PSIM vendors, Orsus and Proximex, offer powerful video monitoring solutions that provide better large scale camera monitoring than many video management vendors.
What to Do?
At a high level, I do not see one clearly winning approach nor an approach that is destined to win. The segment that has the best chance to win is the PSIM companies however they are clearly a niche player until they can bring the cost and complexity of implementation down so that it can be rapidly deployed at cost minimally higher than today's video and access systems. Until that time, it will make sense for most users to strongly consider expanding the functionality of their video and acccess systems (even if it constrains the functions and systems they can support).
That being said, I find this to be a disappointing state of affairs. While the benefits of integration are so frequently cited, until integration can be done broadly and inexpensively, most users will opt for low levels of integration.
Most Recent Industry Reports
Gain / AGC for Video Surveillance Guide on Apr 23, 2015
Gain control is a critical, though often overlooked, factor in low light surveillance video. It is generally only noticed when the negative side effective of aggressive gain levels are seen, namely...
Testing Honeywell HQA HD-CVI on Apr 22, 2015
HD analog support continues to expand, with Honeywell now releasing its own HD-CVI offering, awkwardly named "High Quality Analog" (HQA), offering up to 1080p video via analog. The big appeal is g...
Testing Axis Zipstream on Apr 13, 2015
Has Axis found its breakthrough differentiator? Can they demand a premium for this? Axis claims Zipstream can "lower bandwidth and storage requirements by an average 50% or more." We upgrade...
New Products Spring 2015 on Apr 12, 2015
After very poor new releases in 2014 (see Spring 2014 and Fall 2014 directories), 2015 is already much better. Here are new products being announced in 2015: Avigilon First to Demo 7K Cameras ...
FLIR FX Tested on Apr 08, 2015
FLIR is going after the home / consumer surveillance market with their FLIR FX. A few of the notable competitive features offered: Video analytics for search (RapidRecap) Built-in Battery Buil...
IP Network Setup Guide for Surveillance on Apr 06, 2015
In this guide, we teach the fundamentals of setting up an IP video surveillance network, taking factory default cameras through to a fully configured and ready to run network. We explain these topi...
Testing Messoa 3MP LPC Camera on Apr 02, 2015
License plate recognition has historically required specialized cameras with limited general surveillance use. Messoa is aiming to change that with the LPR606, a higher resolution 3MP claiming sce...
Security Integrator Finder Released on Apr 01, 2015
The new Security Integrator Finder's goal is to list every integrator in the world, overlaid on Google Maps. Here's how you benefit: Integrators can more easily be found by end users and manufa...
Milestone LPR Tested on Mar 31, 2015
How well does Milestone's LPR work? Milestone's LPR supports off the shelf IP cameras, integrating license plate recognition with the Milestone Smart Client for live video, playback, and alar...
4K Panasonic Tested (Panoramic) on Mar 25, 2015
Panasonic has released their first 4K cameras, and surprisingly, they are panoramic, which they tout include high sensitivity 1/2" image sensors, true WDR, auto back focus, and other feat...