Closing in on the future

Looking to help the integrator determine the best approach to choosing video management products, SD&I polled the industry for answers. The responses were consistent and sometimes varied but nonetheless beneficial for helping integrators sift through the myriad choices and options available. It’s all about adding value and staying ahead of trends. How can an integrator and value-added reseller (VAR) determine what they need? What’s the starting point for them? As a business person, it is important to stay ahead of new developments; what sells today may not sell tomorrow. This month, leaders in video technology are taking their predictions to the bank and weighing in on the burning question: is video management software beginning to be virtualized or distributed as Software as a Service or other?

“Start by outlining end-user needs. Ask such questions as: how many cameras?; where are those cameras located?; what is the recording schedule?; will there be other systems integrated into the solution like access control?; do they need advanced applications such as video analytics? Information gathering is an important element of the service provided. TRENDS Video analytics, access control and other systems including building management, human resources, operations and manufacturing will be integrated in some way. Integration and unification is key—open platforms and systems are where the industry must go to grow. Interoperability will be a requirement by end-users, rather than a differentiator. VIRTUALIZATION Managed services for video surveillance is an application that will be here in the future and offered by service providers.” —Eli Gorovici, president and CEO, DVTel

“It comes down to information gathering when determining the best solution. Questions to ask include: does the VMS support existing/installed hardware?; what hardware is supported?; what other applications are supported—access control, point of sale (POS) data, analytics? TRENDS We expect the North American VMS market to increase by 30 percent in 2010. Some key drivers for increasing VMS sales are the desire for video content analysis, the need to provide the right users the right access to the right video at the right time, desire to integrate multiple applications and migration to IP and the development of IP standards.
VIRTUALIZATION VMS is sold and distributed like other software packages. You can purchase the software and appropriate licenses or you can purchase the software preloaded and configured on server and the appropriate licenses for your application.” —Mike Harvey, senior marketing manager, Honeywell Video Systems

“In the security integrator/customer relationship, act as a trusted advisor with an understanding of the entire picture. Provide realistic expectations now and into the future as customers find it interesting how products have evolved, where they came from and where they are going. TRENDS My predictions for future technology would be the eventual elimination of the video recorder. Virtual video recorders will be available which offer features such as cameras, encoders and network storage devices to record directly to network storage—eliminating costly recorders. VIRTUALIZATION Video management software is beginning to be virtualized. Clients have virtualized their VMS by burying it behind browser interfaces and hosting it as a monthly service. We can’t lose sight of the fact that hosted video, as a service, often needs an integrator to help users decide what types of cameras are used and where, as well as to provide ongoing support and integration with other systems.” —Mark Kolar, executive vice president of Strategic Alliances and Corporate Strategy, IPVision Software.

“At first glance, it may appear complicated; looking at all the specifications, as each may appear to perform similar functions. The checklist to determine a best fit, includes: IP camera compatibility; does it support needed functions?; Is there long-term reliability? A good approach could be to ask someone with a wide range of product experience in many different environments. TRENDS Installation and set up will become easier along with video analytics incorporating better performance. VIRTUALIZATION There’s been a debate about using more edge intelligence but that gets complicated and there’s a problem because the potential is there to get locked into hardware that makes the system less expandable in the future.” —Bob Mesnik, president, Kintronics

“The perceived complexity of VMS products and the need to protect existing video surveillance investments is an industry challenge. There are key considerations: determine which video management product is best suited; consider whether or not your organization has the resources to market, sell, install and support multiple vendor products; and find a product that will increase market share. TRENDS The trend continues for VMS systems gradually shifting within many organizations to the IT department. High expectations remain when it comes to communications and networking equipment. In the near future, it is likely that VMS manufacturers will be driven to develop applications focused on device topology management, which can manage and identify critical issues on large unified communication networks from a single application. An area that will transform video surveillance software applications is the use of policy-based content management. These content management applications are separate from the core video surveillance management software. This creates additional tools that administrators and users must manage and which increase the total cost of ownership over the life of the system.” —Jesse Frye, product marketing manager, March Networks.

“A good starting point for the VMS vendor is the need to offer a true open platform. Doing so will secure long-term partners that are able to sustain growth. Vendors that deliver an end-to-end solution and who do not open up for integration to third party products and applications tend to lock their customers into a sole supplier – history has proven that this is a very expensive route. TRENDS Video is becoming the high-value element in physical security, driven by a large degree by IP. This means end-users are now expecting their integrated security implementations be used through the video client GUI, instead of through the access control or HVAC GUIs. This is driving customer integrations where the VMS GUI is now becoming the preferred GUI. The industry is in a GUI war between the different players in the security market. VIRTUALIZATION I do feel the jury is still out on the topic of virtualization.” —Eric Fullerton, chief sales and marketing officer, Milestone Systems

“The decision-making process can be varied and complex when considering video management software solutions. These include: ease of use, integration, features, format, price and intelligence. TRENDS Network-based video management systems will predominate as opposed to DVR-based VMS solutions. One of the reasons the IP market will continue to grow is because the prices of IP-based products will keep falling. VMS applications will be bundled with other appliances or subsystems, such as access control, that will make them easy-to-deploy, configure and manage. VMS systems will be able to seamlessly integrate with functionality available over the Internet. VIRTUALIZATION For a certain segment of the market the Software as a Service model works well. That segment is characterized by small facilities that need up to 16 cameras (since bandwidth is still an issue); no security personnel on site to monitor the system; and no IT resources to manage the systems. It is important to keep in mind the difference between remote hosting (where the video is hosted on the Internet) versus remote monitoring.” —Jumbi Edulbehram, vice president of Business Development, Next Level Security Systems

“Important considerations to keep in mind when selecting a video management software provider are: is the company stable and secure? Do they have a proven track record and a future plan? Will parts or support be available? Look for a solution that is open and expandable, important for integrating peripherals, such as IP video cameras. TRENDS As the industry moves toward IP, video, along with access control, smart building sensors, audio communications and other security information sources will all migrate to a common transport layer—IP networks. This convergence will bring with it a fundamental shift toward the IT domain. Another area of change is in analytics—poised for a big comeback. VIRTUALIZATION I’ve seen virtualization in some environments; it’s definitely increasing. The requirement for software virtualization in video management is usually driven by the corporate policy of the end-user.”—John Rennie, vice president of Solutions Engineering, NICE Systems

“Video management software and the network platform provide the capability to transform video surveillance and management across the enterprise with a whole new level of proactive surveillance and monitoring advantages. The challenge for the systems integrator is to know where to start and how to determine which management system provides the right features or best return on investment. Another starting point for security dealers and system integrators is education, as effective training can help to ensure successful implementation of IP video solutions. TRENDS There are areas that will positively impact the growth of video management software – technology integration/partnerships; expanded use of the technology outside the traditional security environment; and wireless technologies. VIRTUALIZATION The virtualized software business model is a new entry in the industry and depending on the circumstances can be an effective solution. Software as a Service can be particularly attractive to smaller organizations that do not have in-house security or IT resources.” —Gadi Piran, president, OnSSI

“To narrow the field of choice, an integrator and value-added reseller may want to look at the client’s perspective to ascertain if they will be best served through an Internet-based or enterprise solution. Internet-based solutions are suited for large numbers of users. Enterprise solutions are for managing and distributing information and are meant to reside behind a firewall on the customer’s private IP network. TRENDS Many technologies begin in corporations and are modified for use by consumers. Consumers are adopting the use of video and a variety of different tools for managing and sharing video, at a much faster rate than corporations. While corporate video management systems are meant to be accessed from a desktop PC or laptop, a mobile workforce is demanding that anything that can be done on their PC also be done on a Smartphone or other wireless device. VIRTUALIZATION Many enterprise applications are quickly moving from behind-the-firewall to hosted SaaS solutions, where video management and distribution have some unique challenges. —Greg Casale, CEO, Starbak