True operating costs are reflected not just in facility and energy, but also in the man-hours it takes to search the stored video. Several suppliers have evolved techniques to make the search process far more efficient. One promising technique I have witnessed involves distilling an hour of video into two minutes using a technique called “Video Synopsis.” Reminiscent of fast forwarding through video tape, the displayed video appears at times ghost-like with people appearing to walk through people. The net effect, though, provides a true sense of what occurred during that time period.
Another approach uses intelligent search, where rules based on analytics or other metrics can pick out those pieces of video that are relevant. For example, find all of the clips of the person in the red sweater and dark pants in the mall from 2-3 p.m.
Other human factors play a major role in the true costs of storage, starting with installation and training. Industry vendors are improving the means by which they deliver both training and the ease of set up and use of their equipment. This task has been made simpler by the increasing competence of many integrators in our industry who have stepped up efforts to upgrade the quality, knowledge and competence of their technical staffs. Some have reached the point where they now purchase and configure conventional off-the shelf storage, reporting good results and nice margins.
Undoubtedly, they would draw an argument from industry vendors who have optimized their gear for video and claim superior performance and reliability. This is one dispute I expect to continue for a while — that’s good though…it shows progress.
Ray Coulombe is Founder and Managing Director of SecuritySpecifiers.com, enabling interaction with specifiers in the physical security and ITS markets; and Principal Consultant for Gilwell Technology Services. Ray can be reached at ray@SecuritySpecifiers.com or through LinkedIn.