Smart Choices for Intelligent Video

Thinking about deploying an intelligent video solution? Here is a top ten list of practical advice and actionable guidance from DreamBox, an intelligent video provider, for businesses and organizations seeking to implement an intelligent video solution.

Intelligent video analysis (IVA) is an important security and business productivity tool that can increase safety and security, streamline operations, improve productivity and reduce overall expenditures. While numerous organizations are quick to adopt this exciting technology, others are still left with more questions than answers on how to choose an optimal solution for their short- and long-term needs.

The following recommendations can help organizations refine their intelligent video system search and simplify the decision-making process:

1. Understand the technology . Before selecting an IVA system, it is important to understand how the technology works. At a high level, IVA is a surveillance technology that "watches" one or many video fields of view and detects, tracks, identifies and analyzes movements and behaviors of objects or people. By noting the presence of objects, absence of objects, and the location, direction and speed of movement, the system can identify behavior or motion that deviates from specified "normal" parameters.

2. Identify the benefits . Recognize and understand the value that IVA can bring to your organization. Implementing an intelligent video solution as part of your overall security management strategy can help you, for example: extract and analyze critical information in real-time, identify unusual patterns in behavior, eliminate the need for continual human monitoring, increase safety and security, prevent loss, streamline operations, identify bottlenecks, implement improvements and save time, money and resources.

3. Do your homework . Start by talking to other IVA end-users to learn from their experiences and develop your own conclusions about individual vendors. Conduct additional research by reading industry articles and research papers, talking to industry experts and other credible authorities, and by attending and actively participating in industry events and networking opportunities.

4. Factor in cost . Take a close look at the security risks and hazards that currently threaten your business or operation. Try to predict how many breaches or incidents you may encounter in a one-year period and tally up the cost — and effort — associated with attempting to mitigate the risk, as well as the resulting damage (be sure to calculate any costs associated from false/nuisance alarms as well). Then, estimate the substantial savings you could incur from implementing an advanced IVA solution.

5. Ask important questions . After you have done your initial homework, try to narrow down your list to 8-10 key IVA players. Consider asking each vendor the following questions:

* What experience do you have installing IVA systems?

* What types of businesses have you worked with and who are your customers?

* How will your solution address my specific threats and challenges?

* What level of integration does your system offer?

* How will your solution grow as my business grows (ie. can today's IVA solution accommodate future software upgrades and additional cameras on-site?)

* What is the optimal hardware and network topology for my new IVA system?

* If I want to move a camera and/or have a new camera installed, what system modifications are necessary and who will perform these setup changes (e.g. manufacturer or system integrator?)

* What operational consequences can I expect in the event of a false or nuisance alarm and exactly how many (if any) is my organization able to tolerate?

6. Put manufacturers to the test . Ask your ‘short-list' of three to five to visit you on site and put their solutions to the test. Alternately, consider sending the companies digital video files with challenging scenarios (e.g. real, nuisance and false threats) and ask them to send you back fully analyzed clips that demonstrate features, functionality and performance of the system. If you are able to see exactly how a manufacturer's intelligent video solution works during a ‘real-life' scenario, you will be able to more effectively evaluate its overall merits and capabilities.

7. Choose a feature-rich solution . Construct a detailed list of the features each vendor offers and compare that list to your current and anticipated requirements. Consider feature-rich solutions that offer full video playback capabilities (without the need to integrate with an external DVR), alarm correlation and sensor aggregation, PTZ tracking, multi-camera correlation and full security management from a single GUI. An optimal solution should provide advanced detection and post-alarm scenario management and help reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO).

8. Identify short and long-term needs. Evaluate your short- and long-term needs and requirements and invest in a system that will grow and adapt as your business evolves. Be sure to select a solution that is flexible and can be easily upgraded to accommodate additional cameras.

9. Consider customer support. Although your intelligent video solution will most likely be supported by a system integrator, it is important that you also consider the support that is offered by the manufacturer. Partnering with an IVA vendor that has a proven track record of success and a reputation for service excellence will help ensure the successful deployment and longevity of your solution.

10. Stay abreast of trends. Finally, never get too comfortable in this fast-paced and ever-evolving industry. Stay abreast of trends and developments and continue to educate yourself on the latest technological advancements in IVA. The more you know and understand, the better equipped you will be to make an ‘intelligent' decision on how to choose an optimal IVA solution for your security and business needs.

Yossi Massafi is general manager of DreamBox, a division of Magal-Senstar Inc., which specializes in its intelligent CCTV platform. Massafi has more than 10 years experience in the security industry. Prior to joining DreamBox, he served as director of NiceVision Americas Customer Services at NICE Systems.