City Requires Private Organizations To Use Openeye To Work With Real-Time Crime Center

Do any integrators have experience with connecting their Video Surveillance installs to a central real-time police command center?

The idea being that police can see all CCTV cameras and better assist officers when they receive an emergency call.

Currently APD (Albuquerque Police Department) is utilizing the OpenEye Realtime Crime Center. The problem I'm facing is, I was told you have to have OpenEye as the VMS for this to work. This seems backwards to me. I can't imagine a majority of the CCTV systems in ABQ are OpenEye (or will be).

The intention is to provide the police with access to cameras from residential, small businesses, restaurants, shopping centers and other large and enterprise businesses...BUT if it's a proprietary solution...How is that benefiting anyone or ethical?

I also don't know how it could be an open solution unless a gateway (middleware) is utilized or the second streams of IP cameras mapped to the police and not the VMS????

Do any integrators and their cities have similar set-ups? If so what solution and is it proprietary?

Does anyone currently provide OpenEye and have feedback?

I get that this is a very helpful solution with having the police pull camera feeds to make better judgment calls and assist officers on the street. I'm aware of the Boston Marathon and how quickly they were able to put together a timeline and determine who was involved.

I'm not confident this is a good and ethical solution and am reaching out to be educated on the mattter.


"I was told you have to have OpenEye as the VMS for this to work."

I've seen setups like this in the past (not OpenEye) with single vendor city-wide approaches. It's a naive approach usually.

I understand why it makes integration simpler and avoids buying a very expensive PSIM but obviously, as you point out, it is incredibly limiting. It does not matter what single vendor a city required (Milestone, Hikvision, etc.), no manufacturer is likely to represent more than a fraction of overall surveillance systems deployed in a city.

I recommend your first step is to explain this to the police locally. I don't know the details there, but I'd give them the benefit of the doubt that they simply aren't familiar with the logistical issues involved in this tactic.

If they persist, then I do think it becomes an ethical / procedural item to protest against.

John's right the more appropriate solution is a PSIM-style consolidation with deeper integration to the individual VMS systems involved. PSIM cost and integration is likely expensive though.

But then, somebody else in this thread is right to point out the politics are practically impossible in this kind of scenario. The individual fiefdoms prove too strong for the critical mass necessary to make the system really useful.

It's a shame that money and politics thwart these types of deployments. The fundamentals of the technology certainly do not.

Besides the potential compatibility issues, it also requires all "participants" to have suitably high-speed internet - while it's unlikely that a business has NO broadband internet at all, a low-end 512kbit-upstream DSL connection is not going to provide a very good feed, for example. If I were said business, I'd have a problem with them insisting I upgrade my internet just for their purposes... unless they're willing to pay for it, of course.

The ethical question is far more interesting, not so much regarding giving the police access to other people's cameras (although that's sure to generate some healthy debate), but over what kind of sweetheart deal OpenEye came up with to "push" their solutions into homes and businesses... unless, as Andrew says, they provide some sort of "interface translation" service for people's existing DVRs and VMSes.

Are they requiring OpenEye by policy? It looks like the APD is using OpenEye's RADIUS, which is listed as ONVIF conformant. So theoretically they'd be able to connect any ONVIF camera (or DVR in some cases) to it, though it rarely works as simply as that. RTSP might be another option, but I don't see any specs claiming RTSP streams can be used or not.

I know of a couple cases where this was implemented, though with products other than OpenEye, and a couple others trying to get off the ground. In all cases it was "proprietary", but ther were ways around it like secondary streams, adding encoders to DVRs, etc.

I actually think it's a sound idea in theory, especially with the abundance of HD systems going on using low cost NVRs and HD analog DVRs, because PDs can grab much higher quality feeds than they used to be able to get, for very little investment (the cost of a license, generally). I could see it speeding investigation and incident response. I just think there isn't one killer app out there for it where universal compatibility is guaranteed while not also losing features and functions they're used to in their VMS.

So theoretically they'd be able to connect any ONVIF camera (or DVR in some cases) to it, though it rarely works as simply as that. RTSP might be another option, but I don't see any specs claiming RTSP streams can be used or not.

This is a good point - if the APD's system can access participants' ONVIF-compliant IP cameras directly (through cloud services or creative port forwarding) that would give them easy live access, which is realistically all they'd need in a "heat of the moment" situation. Substream would probably suffice as well if they're just needing to follow the action without needing super high detail. High-quality recorded footage can always be requested/ordered later for evidence.

I've also successfully pulled multiple camera streams from a Dahua analog DVR to a Vigil NVR by simply selecting the Dahua or RTSP "camera type" and plugging in the appropriate URL with a delimeter to tell it which channel to use (eg. "?channel=2" tacked onto the URL). With this type of setup, port forwarding is required only for the DVR.

So now the city is going to have access to the individual IP addresses / ports of every camera they need?

I don't think this is a good plan.

Are they going to get a dedicated VPN link from the city to each private organization? Or does each organization open up holes in their firewall for every IP camera?

What happens if / when this second stream request to each camera causes problems for the VMS?

Having direct access to the recorder / VMS is the way to go.

Hey, I never said it was a good plan, just that it was a potentially workable one. Logistically, setting up a bunch of custom ports for multiple individual cameras would be an IT nightmare anyway, especially if you're talking about mom-and-pop stores using whatever generic all-in-one modem/router/gateway device with no idea how to configure it.

Without question, working directly with the recorder or VMS is going to be the least problematic overall.

Also there's a presentation on their crime center here. They did seem strangely excited about OpenEye...

Memphis Tn tried something similar, but was proprietary VMS by a local integrator. Proved too costly for the private sector, and large users like the hospital and Fed-Ex, and Auto Zone would not buy into it. Good in theory, but too much politics and greed involved.

Sorry for joining the conversation late, but I am a bit confused by the topic or question. Are you saying the City is mandating something? Are they mandating anything at all or just giving people options?

UPDATE: The information I received yesterday was from OpenEye and the individual is a new hire.

I contacted the Police Department directly and received this feedback...

Yur customers do not need to currently have an Open Eye system, but may require a secondary Open Eye NVR to loop cameras into in order for us to have access. Open Eye does offer a “gateway” server to allow this to work so the customer will not have to change their existing system.

My guess is strike the "require" and use "opt for". They can't require anything unless the end user wants to be included in. If you so choose, this is the system we are running. Much ado.