The yin and yang of security video – there are common denominators such as speed and quality images but there also are challenges when it comes to standardization of IP transport and many other tools and features relevant to IP multimedia.


There are common denominators that chief security officers share at private and public enterprises when it comes to security video. But the rubber hits the road, according to some experts, when it comes to the lack of standardization of IP transport and many other tools and features relevant to IP multimedia.

THE COMMON DENOMINATORS

Specific requirements among end-users may differ when it comes to fine-tuning the user experience, but the core features required by all are the same:
  • Rapid response time and video feed access from anywhere, via manual or automatic triggers, picked up by pressure, movement or other types of sensors. The triggered alarms should then allow access to surveillance feeds from all fixed and mobile devices.

  • System authentication and privacy. No one would want just anyone looking into office windows or accessing video feeds at J.F. Kennedy or Heathrow Airport.

  • Recording, playback and post event analysis for reviewing, legal or other necessary proceedings.

  • High-quality, clear video.


IP EVOLUTION AND STANDARDIZATION

Most of the largest and most sophisticated security operations have had video surveillance solutions deployed for several decades. These systems have traditionally been analog-based. The evolution to a unified IP-based architecture of networks in general, and telecommunications in particular, has fostered the development of reliable and highly effective technologies for transmitting audio, video and data over IP networks. These technologies have led to the development of solutions that provide significant advantages.

Virtually all sources have migrated their offerings to run on top of IP networks. However, despite the fact that the market has embraced all the right technologies, such as MPEG4 and H.264 video encoding, IP transport and many other tools and features relevant to IP multimedia, the industry still suffers from an acute lack of standardization.

Most surveillance equipment vendors and integrators are addressing standard transport mechanisms and media codec support while making the move to IP. Sadly, this does not encompass all the necessary features to ensure interoperability, nor does it enable the extended functionality that could be achieved from across-the-board standardization.

This lack of standardization means that many problems still exist, including:
  • Costly proprietary integration, required to achieve connectivity between cameras, recorders and servers. This limits the integrators’ ability to choose best-of-breed components for their solutions.

  • Encryption mechanisms that have to be tailored between vendors.

  • The inability to reuse solutions from other markets; each deployment requires reinvention.

  • The inability to traverse firewalls in a secure manner.

  • No possibility for “out-of-the-box” integration with existing authentication and authorization servers.

  • Difficulties changing the cameras’ analytic programming.

  • Converged service delivery, which is very difficult because of the vast number of applications that all require different clients for many different devices.

  • Lack of quality of service mechanisms and support for distributed deployments.
Simply put: It makes business sense for the industry to converge and move toward the adoption of a single standard that addresses all issues. For example, global networking giant Cisco recently announced the creation of a video analytics standards organization, whose goal is to define “how computers describe surveillance video for image analysis.” This is only one example; but it reflects a trend and the industry’s readiness for standardization.

A STANDARDIZED FUTURE

In all likelihood, interim solutions will emerge, but as the market becomes more technologically savvy, the shortcomings of these solutions will be more readily acknowledged. Standardization is the key to unleashing new features and functionality. As solutions become standardized, prices will decline, competition will increase and the race to deploying differentiating, added-value features will begin.

Advanced security and surveillance provides extensive benefits to governments, enterprises and individuals. The evolution toward IP-based systems has enabled major feature advancements, and driven installation growth. Solutions that offer IP and 3G access and connectivity to video feeds from virtually anywhere are enabling unprecedented response time and capabilities. This is what governments, businesses and individuals are demanding.

As the industry solutions become standardized, the enhancement of transport mechanisms, deployment speed, functionality and interoperability will drive further growth and even more efficient and effective solutions.

About the Source
Security Magazine thanks Pierre Hagendorf, chief technology officer for Radvision, a provider of video network infrastructure and developer tools for unified visual communications over IP, 3G and emerging next-generation networks. More on securitymagazine.com

SIDEBAR: Security Video’s Broad Coverage

Uses can be divided into three categories: government/public, enterprise/business and consumer/personal.

Government/public – Governments and sensitive public facilities require advanced crisis management systems that enable them to swiftly react to terrorist attacks and natural disasters in order to save human life, prevent chaos and uncontrolled criminal activity. Homeland security, police and the military require large scale, reliable, intelligent and effective security solutions to perform their duties in the wake of attack, or natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. Video is quickly becoming a “must have” feature of these surveillance networks, and many of the metropolitan security networks that have been deployed across the globe are based on the ability to monitor, track and recognize visual cues.

The ability to recognize facial characteristics, threatening movements, security breaches, and allow the efficient review of recorded digital video are just a few of the capabilities of today’s surveillance solutions deployed by government agencies, airports, and other sensitive facilities.

Enterprise/business – Surveillance of buildings and facilities, both externally and internally, are vital for businesses in order to prevent theft, monitor events, ensure the safety and welfare of employees and avoid harm to customers. Enterprises and businesses that utilize video surveillance to date include hospitals, casinos, banks, hotels, retail stores, gas stations, schools and universities. Banks are required by law to use video to monitor ATMs and many enterprises and businesses have their own surveillance systems to prevent theft and crime. Kindergartens and day care centers also allow parents to access camera feeds in order to monitor their children as an added value service. The potential of this market is quite significant in terms of deployments and revenues.

Consumer/personal – There is a basic human instinct to protect and feel protected. The well-being and safety of VIP executives, loved ones, personal artifacts and the home are always a high priority, and the ability to obtain visual control from afar is empowering.