BriefCam's Surveillance Search Technology Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 26, 2009

BriefCam aims to simplify video surveillance search. They generate intelligent video synopses that enables investigators to watch the key events of hours of video in a fraction of the time.

Below is a short introductory demo of BriefCam's technology provided by the manufacturer.

BriefCam partners with leading IP Video/DVR/NVR providers (Pelco, Milestone and OnSSI being 3 of the most well known). This provides users the freedom to pick their own best of breed VMS and to use BriefCam with existing deployments.

Most VMS systems have limitations on their built-in search capability (such as searching by time, motion detection or event type). BriefCam has the potential to improve search capabilty for video surveillance systems.

The interesting questions for specifiers and users are: (1) how much value does it provide relative to its cost? (2) how well does it integrate with existing systems? and (3) where does it provide the most value?

Product Options and Pricing

BriefCam offers 2 product options:

  • Real-time monitoring - the RTS800 is an appliance that processes up to 8 IP video feeds. This appliance analyzes the video streams in real time and continuously generates the synopses so that investigators can access it immediately. The MSRP is $3,200. The current form factor of the appliance is a tower (see data sheet for details).
  • Forensic monitoring - the FS100 is an appliances that allows exported video feeds from VMS systems to be processed on-demand. This requires first exporting the video and then allowing time for the FS100 to process and generate the synopsis. This product is planned for shipment next month. Public pricing has not been finalized.

3rd Party Integration 

Briefcam's real time monitoring, acting similarly to a VMS client, requests streams from the Video Management system. The synopses it generates are available via BriefCam's own thick Client. An investigator would launch the Briefcam client, select the time frame and video camera of interest and then review the synopsis (as demonstrated in the video at the beginning of this report).

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Current integrated VMS systems include Milestone, OnSSI, Pelco, Vicon and Magal. BriefCam aims to integrate with multiple new VMS systems each quarter.

All of the current integrations require the use of BreifCam's client UI. At lest 1 VMS provider is working on integrating Briefcam's client functionality within the VMS' own UI.

Compared to Existing Search

When searching through large time periods (more than a half hour), there are a couple ways to increase the efficiency/effectiveness of searching:

  • Play at higher speed (e.g., 2x, 4, 8x real-time). This is probably the most common but least sophisticated way of doing searches over longer time periods. The good aspect to this is that it's widely available and helps to find the right general time. The bad aspect is that it's easy to miss critical details and can still take a very long time if you are reviewing multiple hours.
  • Motion based search with text results. This is probably the second most common approach. The investigator searches a camera feed for times when there is motion in the scene. The VMS returns a table of rows for each time motion is detected. This is ok if there is very little motion. However, it's really difficult for busy areas or scenes with high environmental noise (as these trigger false motion alerts).
  • Thumbnail based search based on events. This may be the least common but the most sophisticated of the options widely available. The VMS uses analytics (some are sophisticated, some not) to identify potential events. Then the results are displayed in a matrix of thumbnails allowing the investigator to scan the thumbnails for a matching result. This is usually more effective than the text results. The main challenge can be reviewing the video itself as it still requires clicking on each thumbnail to play back the video.

Contrasting BriefCam to these 3 approaches, BriefCam's synopsis offer a number of potential benefits:
  • Because BriefCam creates a video clip for the time frame, it's easy for an investigator to see all the events in a single interface without having to click on various results and check them one by one.
  • Because events are summarized into a single synopsis, it may be easier for an investigator to understand the flow of events as they can quickly scan the synopsis video back and forth to see the pattern of events.

The main drawback of BriefCam is the cost and complexity of being an add-on feature. The other search tools are built in and provided at no additional costs. BriefCam needs to deliver demonstrably greater value to justify the premium.

Best Fits/Applications

The forensic product option is likely to only be used for really important investigations, simply because the time and effort it takes to export video from the VMS, transfer it to the FS100 and wait for it to process will be significant. For most normal investigations, it will be less time consuming to simply use traditional techniques (play at higher speed, motion based search, etc.). However, depending on its ultimate price point, larger uses may find it to be a useful tool to have for the occasional harder investigation.

The real time monitoring product is likely to offer the highest value for cameras with medium activity levels and high risk. My rationale for that is that cameras with low activity will be easy to search with traditional means and those with high activity (think train station with near constant motion) will not benefit much from any type of filtering. Since the products costs a few hundred dollars more per channel and requires a separate UI, most organizations are likely to justify using this for key high risk cameras.

Future Potential

BriefCam has potential as a feature for VMS systems. If BriefCam can may make simple, easy and cost-effective to integrate their technology into VMS systems, it could become a commonly used tool. For now though, the best fit for BriefCam is likely for high security environments where timely and accurate investigations are a priority.

6 reports cite this report:

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...
New Products Reviewed Fall 2010 on Oct 12, 2010
In this report, we aggregate all our new products reviews for Fall 2010 announcments. Products Reviewed The following new products are reviewed....
Examining Embedding Briefcam inside Milestone's SmartClient on Oct 05, 2010
Briefcam, a specilalist developer of video analytics for searching/investigations has integrated their solution inside of Milestone's VMS...
New Video Surveillance Products Spring 2010 on Mar 23, 2010
The following report provides a directory and analysis of new video surveillance products announced in 2010. The current version focuses on...
Video Analytics Company Says They Are Not Video Analytics on Jan 27, 2010
The poor state of video analytics is exemplified by video analytic manufacturers that deny they are video analytics. Briefcam recently took to...
Video Analytic Search from AgentVi Examined (Vi-Search) on Sep 19, 2009
Using video analytics to enhance search and investigation is growing. AgentVi has announced Vi-Search, a new product offering that complements its...

Related Reports

Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
Pelco Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 11, 2019
Pelco had a significant favorability problem amongst integrators in our previous study (see 2016 Pelco results). Now, in the first edition of our...
NTP / Network Time Guide For Video Surveillance on Jan 10, 2019
Inaccurate time can lead to missing or inadmissible video, yet this topic is often overlooked, with cameras and servers left defaulted,...
Managed Video Services UL 827B Examined on Jan 09, 2019
Historically, UL listings for central stations have been important, with UL 827 having widespread support. However, few central stations have...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jan 08, 2019
H.265 support improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and most manufacturers...
Struggling ASCMA / Brinks Home Security Gets Stock Delisting Warning on Jan 08, 2019
Struggling Ascent Capital Group (NASDAQ: ASCMA) has disclosed a warning from NASDAQ that ASCMA faced delisting unless they reverse their downward...
IPVM Best New Products 2019 Opened - 70+ Entrants on Jan 07, 2019
The inaugural IPVM Best New Product Awards has been opened - the industry's first and only program where the awards are not pay-to-play and the...
CyberExtruder Face Recognition Profile on Jan 04, 2019
CyberExtruder offers 3D modeling face recognition software that they say provides quicker and more accurate matches than other 2D face recognition...
Axis Tailgate Detection Tested on Jan 04, 2019
Axis is aiming to tackle tailgating, one of access control's biggest issues, with the Tailgating Detector ACAP application. This camera app claims...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Access Control Records Maintenance Guide on Jan 16, 2019
Weeding out old entries, turning off unused credentials, and updating who carries which credentials is as important as to maintaining security as...
UK Fines Security Firms For Illegal Direct Marketing on Jan 16, 2019
Two UK security firms have paid over $200,000 in fines for illegally making hundreds of thousands of calls to people registered on a government...
Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
2019 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 14, 2019
The new IP Networking Book 2019 is a 285 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security...
Arecont Costar Layoffs on Jan 14, 2019
Arecont Vision, a Costar Company, has laid off more than 10% of their workforce in a move the company described to IPVM as a result of "important...
The False SCMP Story on Hikvision NYC AI on Jan 14, 2019
In the past week, one of Asia's largest publications, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), posted an article about "Chinese [facial recognition]...
WDR Tutorial on Jan 11, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact