Video Surveillance Platforms

Author: John Honovich, Published on Oct 03, 2008

A platform for video surveillance could dramatically improve the effectiveness of video surveillance. However, no manufactuer has developed an actual platform despite frequent marketing claims to the contrary. This report explores the customer benefits of platforms and the key operational elements needed to make a platform.

The Customer Value of Platforms

From a customer perspective, platforms are valuable because no manufacturer can meet the diverse needs of all customers. For instance, in security, we have thousands of uses -- farming, hospitals, mines, ships, etc. to name a few.  It's impossible for any manufacturer to develop a solution that is simultaneously optimized for all of these applications.  Instead, basically all video management systems are designed for a general, average use case.  This approach limits significantly the value of video management.  A true platform would allow hundreds of customized applications that delivering optimized solutions for a variety of security applications that have traditionally been underserved.

Criteria for a Plaform

The solution in software development is to develop a framework that allow 3rd party organizations to:

  1. Develop specialized solutions
  2. Leveraging extensive tools and functionalities provided by the platform provider
  3. Distribute/sell those specialized solutions to other users

Why Video Surveillance Does Not Meet Those Criteria

In the video surveillance industry, the first two are weakly developed and the third is non-existent.  You can develop limited forms of specialized solutions (point 1).  However, the functionalities provided (through APIs) are fairly weak.  While you can do basic things like live and recorded video, the abilities to customize UIs and add advanced features are often limited.  Perhaps more importantly, even if you can develop a specialized solution, it is almost always a 'one-off.'  That is, if you are an integrator or developer in Australia, no one else in the world gets to benefit or use your specialized solutions for farming.  You must have a distribution system where developers in the US, France, etc can obtain and easily reuse your customizations in their applications.  Contemporary examples of this are the Apple AppStore, Salesforce.com platform model and perhaps the most famous of all - Windows itself.  They all have distribution models in place where developers like myself can easily share code and consumers can simply access the end product applications.

Why Video Surveillance Vendors Need to Develop True Platforms


With the convergence of IT, DVRs, NVRs and IP video surveillance software providers will all be competing against one another.  It's bad enough that each sub-category has dozens of providers who are pretty much the same.  You will very soon see 50 providers who are basically the same - all supporting IP cameras, providing recording, mapping interfaces, enterprise management, analytics, etc.  Technical differentiation will become increasingly difficult, leading to price drop and unhealthy competition.  The basis of competition will then more to marketing and channel strength - an inefficient outcome to customers and society at large.

A true platform is a way to explode the value and technical differentiation that a video management system can offer.  With a genuine platform and the development of reusable, sharable applications, it is possible for a video management system to dominate the market (this is the outcome of winning platforms).  Simultaneously, a winning platform will benefit both customers and integrators.  Integrators can easily share and reuse the customizations of others to solve niche problems (like farming or mines, etc).  Customers will, of course, be the ultimate beneficiary, getting solutions optimized for their use case rather than a generic package.

Will it happen? How will it happen? Who will make it?  I do not know.  However, I am sure that just like in other aspects of software and technology development, this will ultimately become the driving force of major advancements.

Most Recent Industry Reports

Panasonic Unified Surveillance Strategy Analyzed on Nov 17, 2017
Panasonic is now a "Unified Surveillance" offering, as their ASIS 2017 booth proclaimed: Looking to make a comeback in the security industry,...
Amazon Cloud Cam Is Poor (Tested) on Nov 17, 2017
Retail behemoth Amazon has entered the surveillance market with the Amazon Cloud Cam, the eyes of its just-announced Amazon Key delivery...
Nest Secure Alarm System Tested on Nov 16, 2017
Google's expansion continues, this time into home security with their Nest subsidiary's move into alarm systems. They paid more than a...
Dahua Forbes 'Next Web Crisis' Vulnerability Dispute on Nov 16, 2017
The buffer overflow vulnerability in Dahua products is not in dispute, in fact we covered it when it was first published. What is in dispute is...
Isonas Cofounders Split, Launch Partner/Competitor on Nov 16, 2017
Breaking up is hard to do, especially when door access security is at stake. But that is exactly what has happened at Isonas. Senior employees...
Hikvision China Criticizes The WSJ on Nov 15, 2017
Hikvision, through the Chinese government's authoritative news service, has criticized the WSJ investigation into Hikvision. In this...
PoE UPS Tested (Energy Reconnect) on Nov 15, 2017
In security, backup power is important, but most often requires UPS systems or extra cabling to devices for low voltage power. Now, some have...
Axis Commits To Long-Term Firmware Support on Nov 15, 2017
With the rise of cyber security awareness, and a general increase in hardware reliability, "software warranties" may prove more valuable than...
Hikvision NVR 4.0 Improvements Tested on Nov 14, 2017
Hikvision has released firmware version 4.0 for select NVRs, touting two years of research and development, and claiming "the new generation GUI...
Vivotek Remote Stack Overflow Vulnerability on Nov 14, 2017
A stack overflow vulnerability in Vivotek cameras has been discovered by bashis, the security researcher who has also found vulnerabilities in...

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