Many in the security industry remember the days when an advanced video management system (VMS) was comprised of multiple cameras connected to network video recorders where data could be retrieved at a later date for analysis by a human operator. While this basic approach remains an option, the fact is that, in today’s market, physical security is largely integrated into an organization’s IT/network infrastructure.

Advanced VMS solutions are increasingly integrated with most hardware implementations to ensure that an organization’s business operations, risk mitigation and security objectives are aligned. This is becoming even more of a challenge with the complexity of evolving physical security systems. The convergence of video surveillance and an expanding IoT and API landscape have shifted priorities to a security framework that emphasizes centralized control, real-time situational awareness and proactive security. This shift in approach has provided the greatest opportunities for cutting-edge VMS platforms to excel.

VMS Solutions Enhance Business Intelligence and Operations

Despite the expanded responsibilities and increased sophistication of advanced VMS solutions, their role is essentially to provide a single point of interface for the user. This is accomplished by coordinating the surveillance and data information workflow through the integration of cameras, analytics software, gateway systems, client workstations and supporting storage infrastructure. This can also extend to full integration of access control for an even more comprehensive physical security system solution.

Over the last decade, intelligent analytics have increased the value quotient of integrated VMS solutions as a critical element of business operations. According to a recent Gartner study, video analytics will be a standard element in more than half of new video surveillance installations by 2023, compared with less than 25% in 2018. Another 70% of security surveillance cameras will ship with embedded real-time monitoring and analytics functions by 2025.

The evolution of VMS into business operations has eliminated the need for operators to log individually into disparate recording devices to access critical data and forensic information. That manpower can now be streamlined into performing needed data retrieval and analysis. Advanced software capabilities also incorporate more comprehensive cybersecurity and privacy protections for the organization. This is an important factor in safeguarding both brand confidence and regulatory compliance issues. Executive management is more confident that the enterprise firmware they implement is up to date and provides system residency through load balancing and redundancy. Improved diagnostics also allow for preventive maintenance and a reduction in support personnel costs.

As the convergence of security and IT-centric function increases, so do the opportunities to demonstrate enhanced VMS value through added business intelligence, compliance monitoring and liability reduction. Security departments are using this increased functionality as a selling point to C-level executives during budget reviews to demonstrate ROI. Advanced VMS systems are greatly improving the ability to monitor, manage and maintain large and enterprise-level video systems in a practical manner.

Today’s intelligent VMS solutions enable video to be sharable in more secure ways with business operations and crisis response teams. No longer do VMS platforms have to be designed by and exclusively used for security. The new capabilities for cloud storage, edge analytics, AI processing, privacy protection for GDPR and integration with other data sources through robust APIs allow businesses to leverage their investment in VMS technology to directly support their bottom line.

Tracking the Use Cases for VMS

We’ve seen numerous examples where advanced VMS solutions are leveraging video and data beyond traditional security operations for business intelligence in the retail and healthcare vertical markets. Retailers have been especially aggressive in their security use-case applications for VMS solutions, including monitoring stores for possible shoplifting or more sinister detection applications like supply chain incidents and tracking organized criminal-theft gangs across multiple store locations. Smart retailers are also optimizing the capability of analytics-driven VMS solutions to aid in marketing and sales. Video surveillance and analytics can provide precious consumer data including shoppers’ purchasing tendencies or traffic flow on the store floor to better enable customer interaction and merchandising opportunities.

Healthcare facilities are using video to help detect patient elopements by triggering an alarm if that patient leaves their bed or room unassisted. Video analytics is also being integrated with audio analytics to curtail hospital violence through gunshot detection and alerts for aggressive behavior. In addition, surveillance and analytics combined to play a major role during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Facial recognition software has been adapted to detect mask compliance and to monitor occupancy and density protocols. Organizations are deploying an integrated approach to detect body temperatures and mask adherence and coordinating touchless access control options that help track identity verification.  

The integration capabilities of today’s advanced VMS platforms will continue to drive new business intelligence applications beyond traditional security and health safety. This is especially true today as employees and customers return to corporate and retail centers. Providing a “hospitality-driven” relationship with end users will ensure a broad range of applications for existing customers and facilitate the development of new applications for others. The advanced VMS solutions available today that seamlessly integrate intelligent functionality will help the transition to a new normal in safer, more secure and intelligent building environments.

This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security Magazine. Subscribe here.