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

Robot Vandalism on Dec 11, 2017
Vandalism of security systems is a common concern. It is so common that camera vandalism statistics show that designers routinely sacrifice camera...
Access Controller Software Guide on Dec 11, 2017
Properly configuring access controllers software is key to a professional access system. These devices have fundamental settings that must be...
2018 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Dec 11, 2017
This report concisely explains the developments for surveillance cameras offered in 2017 and the state of offerings going into 2018, including...
Imperial Capital Security Investor Conference Review on Dec 08, 2017
Investment bank Imperial Capital holds an annual Security Investor Conference where 60+ companies present, including this year: IPVM bought a...
Integrator GPS Vehicle Tracking Statistics and Success Examined on Dec 08, 2017
GPS vehicle tracking is a growing but somewhat controversial topic. On the plus side, tracking may increases productivity by providing greater...
Hikvision NA Biggest Sale of 2017 on Dec 07, 2017
Hikvision North America has been relatively disciplined the past 5 months, reducing the number of sales and the breadth of what is on sale. No...
Security Integrator IT Expertise Statistics on Dec 07, 2017
20 years ago, putting physical security systems on IP networks was just emerging. Today, almost every system is networked in some way, IP cameras...
Lighthouse Deep Learning Camera Tested on Dec 07, 2017
A Silicon Valley startup, Lighthouse, with a Stanford PhD CTO, has released a deep learning AI camera with 3D sensors for just $300. The company...
Access Control Course Winter 2018 on Dec 07, 2017
Learn more below about the Winter 2018 IPVM Access Control Course. Register here. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in...
Broken Hikvision App Exposes Hypocrisy on Dec 06, 2017
While Hikvision talks about a commitment to cybersecurity, their broken app and their insecure 'solution' exposes not only their engineering...

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