Genetec Transcoding (Wink Forge) Reviewed

By Ethan Ace, Published Jul 11, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Transcoding has gained more attention recently with OnSSI 'winning' the prestigious Best New Wireless Surviellance Award at ISC West 2012 for its transcoding service, Ocularis X. Recently, Genetec announced integration with a transcoding solution, raising questions of how the two matched up and what this meant. in this note, we examine this new integration, the key functionalities it offer, what it is missing and how it compares to OnSSI.

Overview

Genetec's integration with WINK Forge allows transcoding of an MJPEG source stream from Security Center, and transcoding to highly compressed H.263 or H.264 video. This low-bandwidth stream may then be shared via RTSP/RTMP on the web, for instance, embedded in traffic camera web pages. This transcoding eases bandwidth needs when numerous simultaneous users wish to view the same streams. Up to 60 concurrent streams may be shared in this way, with the option to stream both high and low quality feeds of the same source. This integration is further detailed in both a technical note and blog entry [link no longer available] by Genetec.

The Genetec/WINK integration requires Security Center 5 with a Genetec Mobile Server, and a mobile client connection license ($250 USD MSRP) for each camera to be transcoded. .WINK's streaming is available as either a managed service, with no hardware required on site, or an up front purchase, with the WINK Forge HD transcoder locally installed. WINK's products and services are not available through Genetec, but must be procured directly by the installer.

Competitive Options

For large systems, such as transportation and city surveillance, Genetec's integration with WINK streaming may be beneficial, as it offers a means to stream video to the web without additional load on VMS servers, and a decrease in needed bandwidth. Given Genetec's position in the industry, commonly dealing with these larger projects, this integration especially makes sense.

The WINK integration is not intended for security purposes, however, unlike competitive products such as OnSSI's Ocularis X, which transcodes multiple streams into a single lower-bandwidth stream for remote viewing over the internet. While it could be used for remote monitoring of live video, it is likely not a good fit for this purpose, requiring custom web pages to be developed, and lacking basic features such as PTZ control and archived video playback.

For Genetec users looking for low-bandwidth security monitoring, such as what is offered by Ocularis X, a more likely scenario is the use of Genetec's stream switching features, which allow a second (or multiple, depending on the camera), lower bandwidth and reduced quality and/or framerate stream to be sent when the user is connected via a WAN connection, instead of the full-bandwidth stream used for local viewing. Whether these functions reduce bandwidth as much as Ocularis X or not depends on resolution, framerate, number of cameras, and any number of other factors, and must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

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