Intelligent video surveillance is a widely talked about, ever-evolving industry. To learn more about what’s hot in the space, Security Magazine sat down with Scott Schnell, president and CEO of VideoIQ. It’s the inventor of the iCVR, the intelligent surveillance camera with built-in video recording.
Security Magazine: Video surveillance is a market that continues to grow, with new products, vendors and trends emerging all of the time. As we enter into this new year, what would you say will be the biggest trends and topics we’ll hear about?
Schnell: Video surveillance – particularly intelligent video surveillance – will continue to see expansion. Certainly, the persistent threat of global terrorism is a factor contributing to demand. The current economic climate also has a lot to do with it, as theft and other crime tend to increase during tough financial times. All over, people are looking to increase their security while reducing costs. People want smarter solutions that require fewer resources – they’re looking for accuracy of course, and also a solution that can detect a potential threat before anything happens. Prevention is key to ensuring safety, whether it be on a school playground, factory floor, at a bank or car dealership, or at the border. So, not only will we hear about increased use of smart solutions that issue alarms the moment a threat is detected, but we’ll see a focus on how organizations manage their resources around the handling of those alarms. I believe we will see tremendous strides forward in the ease of use and cost of implementing intelligent surveillance, making it a mainstream technology. School principals will be able to get alarms sent to their mobile phones; car dealerships will be able to monitor their lots remotely and respond from afar; and large enterprises will be able to rely on intelligent video surveillance for any situation that involves risk of loss.
Security Magazine: Pervasive use of intelligent video surveillance is a very interesting notion but aren’t there other issues like bandwidth and storage requirements that will prevent many organizations from using intelligent IP video cameras?
Schnell: There is no question that significant bandwidth and storage requirements can get in the way of using intelligent surveillance, but they don’t need to. The answer lies in next-generation analytics and an edge-based storage architecture. Analytics can do much more than just detect events. When you combine analytics with storage, you can address the significant bandwidth and storage requirements of conventional IP cameras. Combining analytics with storage – inside the camera itself – allows you to intelligently control storage resolution based on what is seen, and only transmit events of interest over the network while recording everything at the camera itself. That’s why legacy IP cameras have issues – everything is recorded, stored and transmitted over the network at a very high resolution even when nothing of consequence is going on. As a result, their bandwidth and storage requirements go through the roof. However, with next-generation solutions, the days of network and storage problems are over.
Security Magazine: Tell me more about “next-generation” analytics and architecture. What kind of performance can people expect?
Schnell: Next-generation analytics are what makes these security cameras so exceptional. They’re the driving force behind the whole system – from enabling smarter, more accurate threat detection, to better networking and storage performance. Next-gen solutions that have an embedded DVR in the camera offer exceptional capabilities and benefits to the user, from the ease of having everything you need in one solution, to the assurance that comes from having distributed storage architecture with no single point of failure. Plus this new generation of analytics can also speed investigations by an order of magnitude.
Security Magazine: In 2007, VideoIQ spearheaded the creation of the Remote Guarding Alliance, a consortium of companies working to address best practices and standards to drive the use of remote guarding. What can you tell our readers about the Alliance’s progress in this area?
Schnell: The use of analytics-enabled cameras to detect threats and alert remote guards is seeing tremendous uptake in the industry, so that is certainly progress. It ties back to what I was saying before, about security personnel needing to do their jobs no matter where they physically are located. Having these cameras serve as the front line and issue security alerts to human guards – wherever they may be – allows guards to concentrate on what they do best – responding to threats and preventing crime before it happens.
Security Magazine: We’re running out of time. Is there anything else you’d like to share regarding what the industry can expect?
Schnell: An exciting trend is the emergence of key standards. VideoIQ made a decision early on to embrace standards like H.264 video compression and invest in helping advance standards for system interoperability such as those being created within the SIA (Security Industry Association). H.264 video compression delivers significant end user benefits in video quality, bandwidth and storage efficiency, and is already being adopted by many vendors, including VideoIQ. Further, standards for advanced integration of multiple vendors’ equipment – which are long overdue – are making great progress in the SIA. Importantly, the SIA is not vendor aligned but rather customer driven.