Video Surveillance / Access Control Integration

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 13, 2012

One of the most desired high end security system features is integrating video surveillance and electronic access control systems. In this report, we detail the issues involved and the reasons why real world integrators choose to avoid or deploy such integrations.

Concept

The goal of integrating video management and access control system is to display critical information from both systems in a single interface. The most common integrated function is overlaying access control information on a live camera feed. Here are two examples of what this can look like:

While the layout varies by vendor, the goal is to make it easy for an operator to visually verify that the person entering is properly authorized (and not using someone else's card, etc.). The information commonly displayed include:

  • Date / Time of credential read
  • Name of credential holder
  • Unique ID number or badge number
  • Name of door or reader being accessed
  • Access Granted / Denied condition

The primary interface for monitoring can be the VMS or access control system, depending on the functionalities offered by each system. If it is the VMS, the access control system must sent events to the VMS to display. However, if the access control system is the main viewing interface, it must retrieve and display video from the VMS. A few vendors, like Genetec, NLSS and S2 are integrating both into a single software application but that is a distinct minority approach.

Typically when integrating two different vendor's systems, the end user must pay for licensing or custom integration. Most VMS and access control systems do not integrate 'out of the box', making integration either infeasible or requiring new software development (i.e. a custom integration using an API / SDK). Users must check for integration between the specific systems and versions they want integrated. If integrations are supported out of the box, it typically costs thousands of dollars. If it is not, it may cost tens of thousands of dollars for custom work.

Real World Usage

We recently asked 100 integrators 'What percentage of video surveillance systems you deploy are integrated with access control?' to gauge how frequently this integration takes place. Inside, we examine these responses and pull out some common themes for analysis.

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**********

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