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Welcome to the future of video surveillance


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Video technology has changed dramatically and is about to get even better, writes Jason Burrows, Regional Sales Director, IDIS America.

The advances we have seen in video tech would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Users and integrators have benefited, in terms of image quality, compression and data storage, falling prices, plug-and-play and the emergence of practical new tools, from mobile VMS apps to AI-driven analytics.

What comes next is promising to be even more exciting. In case you’ve been looking the other way, here are the most important developments you may have missed and some predictions for what to look out for.

The introduction of H.265

The chances are – if you are deploying a video system with more than a handful of cameras that captures HD footage and stores recordings for more than a few days – good compression will matter to you. When H.265 was introduced – superseding H.264 as the video stream syntax for storing, sharing and viewing – adoption was surprisingly slow at first. Some manufacturers were concerned about compatibility problems with some widely used video management software (VMS) and they were worried that users would be reluctant to upgrade their monitors to enable H.265 footage to be viewed.

Smart solutions have been developed, including dual codec which allows video capture in highest definition H.265, but viewing on older video walls, screens and devices in H.264. This is a nice practical solution that allows users to upgrade exactly when they’re ready.

The rise of HD and ultra-HD cameras

Enabled by advances in compression, we’ve seen cameras being deployed that deliver increasing image quality and definition, from 2MP, to 5MP and today 12MP is starting to become the norm. As every control room team knows, picture quality really matters – not just because it allows you to do more with fewer cameras. It enables surveillance at greater distances with more powerful zoom and – in the case of fisheyes – high definition image de-warping right out to the periphery. In some major applications ultra-HD fisheye cameras have become the models of choice, enabling comprehensive area coverage more affordably and with fewer cameras.

Mobile apps allowing VMS-like functions

Customers now expect this as a norm. They are seeing the benefits of operational flexibility that come with the ability to live view and playback using phones and tablets.

Price drops driven by the dominant Chinese manufacturers

There has undoubtedly been downward pressure on all video manufacturers, but the race to the bottom in prices has halted, offset by an understanding that you generally get what you pay for in terms of ongoing product availability, support, life expectancy and free warranties and usability. And, increasingly, cybersecurity has eclipsed price in buyers’ risk calculations.

Progression from video analytics to AI-powered analysis

Basic analytics features have been replaced by self-learning technologies and tools, such as the IDIS Deep Learning Engine. This makes use of artificial neural network that act like the human brain, learning from visual experience. It gives users a practical way to analyse vast amounts of data points taken from video footage across single or multiple cameras, covering an area, a site, or multiple facilities simultaneously. This makes it much easier to first detect and then identify an event or threat, while filtering out false alarms. AI is also enabling smarter, faster and more effective searches for people, objects and events with Meta filtering.

Jason Burrows

Cloud video surveillance

No one in the surveillance industry can afford to ignore cloud. If deployed correctly, cloud-based security solutions have the potential to improve efficiency and reduce the operational burden on security departments. And it’s still early days. Bandwidth and latency issues are still problematic for mission-critical surveillance operations, while storage costs and license fees are often too expensive for larger applications. Yet, if cost is not an issue, cloud-based solutions could be a game-changer for security teams. They’ll no longer need to worry about networking power, cooling, patches, upgrades, backups, database administration, etc. Instead, they’ll be able to leave all those worries with their systems integrator or their IT department. Today we are seeing customers putting IDIS Solution Suite VMS in the cloud in order to handle storage, backup and critical failover.

Video tech cybersecurity

There is now widespread recognition of the damage that successful network attacks can cause. These are rapidly evolving threats and for video system integrators and users, they need to be addressed with multi-layered defences that ensure secure data access, transmission and recording.

Hot trends to expect next

While predicting the future is an art notoriously prone to error, we can be confident about a number of things. So, what comes next?

We can be sure that AI will be used, increasingly, not only for analysis, but also to make decisions. We are already seeing this in the way it can alert operators to particular behaviours and incidents, such as people falling over. That capability will become more sophisticated and useful and as it does, will take pressure off security control rooms.

We can expect major growth in both the number and the capability of cloud offerings. As issues of cost, bandwidth and latency are resolved, users will come to value VMS in the cloud, cloud storage and cloud analysis.

Cybersecurity in video surveillance will move from being an option, to a requirement. We are already seeing this in key market sectors, where having robust technology that reduces vulnerability to back-door attacks and network loopholes is proving to be a deciding factor for major projects.

There’s no arguing with how useful and convenient mobile apps are. And so, we should expect them to develop rapidly and play a greater role in video surveillance. New functions will become available, including AI-driven data, facial recognition functionality and real-time LPR/ANPR. So long as security and privacy is assured, whatever you expect to do in your control room, you’ll want to do in real time, no matter where you are.

Driving all of the above, 5G will make video surveillance advances happen even faster.

Welcome to the future!


This article was published in the March 2020 edition of International Security Journal. Pick up your FREE digital copy on the link here

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