Shifting the paradigm of video management

Sept. 22, 2020
An EIM can help organizations to achieve the goal of making their video surveillance operation more proactive

Note:  Qognify helps organizations minimize the impact of security, security and operational incidents. Providing solutions to mitigate risks, increase security and optimize operations, Qognify serves thousands of customers all over the world as a trusted advisor. Their comprehensive portfolio contains physical security solutions through its Video Management System (VMS) software VisionHub and Ocularis. Going beyond your average CCTV, Qognify incorporates video analytics integration, IP video management and a robust integration platform. Qognify is a leading sponsor of the 2020 GSX+ virtual event. You can reach them in the virtual showcase by clicking here.

I often hear CSOs question how their control room response capabilities can be improved to be more proactive, in the real-time handling of events and critical incidents. The replies they receive typically extoll the virtues of the latest video analytics trends or suggest breaking away from the reliance on video management (VMS) or access control systems as the centralized event management platform, in favor of large-scale Enterprise Incident Management (EIM) systems.

While all these options represent potential or partial solutions, their success very much depends on the existing environment and architecture, business drivers and desired outcomes, both now and in the foreseeable future, and of course budget. However, if your security operations are video-centric, as the vast majority are, you may be surprised that the answer is likely to be a VMS or a next-generation VMS+ solution to be more precise.

It is certainly true that going down the EIM path can prove to be truly transformative, not only for the control room but the wider operational efficiency and effectiveness of the overall enterprise. In fact, there are many compelling case studies to be found in areas such as banking, mass transit, safe city projects and large international airports. What is more, an EIM will almost certainly achieve the desired goal of making any video surveillance operation more proactive. However, it comes at a premium and unless specified correctly and properly aligned to measurable outcomes, it can result in underutilization and operator frustration.

Those who suggest moving away from a reliance on traditional VMS platforms have a sound argument, given their reputation as a predominantly forensic tool. The value of such systems is derived when running post-incident investigations, where the outcome and associated damage has already occurred. Historically, VMS platforms have not catered towards the demands of real-time monitoring and rapid response, nor have they been leveraged as a tool for decreasing the impact of an incident within a customer’s enterprise.  However, not all VMS’s are made equal and innovation in the area of VMS+ is arguably amongst the most significant in recent years.  

You may have come across the phrase ‘next generation VMS’ or “VMS+” and dismissed it as marketing hype for some minor upgrades, but this could not be further from the truth. VMS+ platforms are narrowing the gap between forensically understanding an incident and proactively addressing and shortening the lifecycle of the incident, making the VMS platform a proactive response tool within the C-3 environment. How is this done exactly? By taking a traditional video management system and adding response components such as incident workflows and tracking, robust roles, collaboration, and visualization tools as well as advanced third-party system integration capabilities. Put simply, VMS+ sits in the sweet spot for video-centric enterprises that want to achieve the outcome of proactive monitoring and better real-time response, but don’t need the power, complexity and price tag of the larger-scale EIM platforms at this moment in time. Not only does VMS+ help achieve proactive response goals faster and at a lower cost, but it also offers the future possibility of shifting to a full-blown EIM should that be deemed necessary in the future.

So, what does this mean in practical terms for a control room operator? Essentially, it makes their life more efficient by reducing distractions, enabling them to focus on the incident in real-time and having the confidence to take the right action at the right time, thus ultimately reducing the impact of the incident saving time, money and reputational cost.

Place yourself at a station in the control room of a power plant. An intruder has cut the perimeter fence, entered the site and a fire has been started.  In a traditional environment, progressively disparate alerts begin flashing across multiple monitors, loud alarms screech throughout the facility and radios roar to life with inquires and instructions. In this moment, the operator is paralyzed not knowing where to start in order to solve this series of disconnected incidents. VMS+ avoids this chaos by aggregating and correlating all of the alerts and data feeds from the integrated systems in real-time and presenting them to the operator in a structured and actionable way, with the situational awareness that comes from having a single view of the unfolding event. Furthermore, the operator is guided with step-by-step next best actions (an intuitive pre-defined workflow), ensuring that regardless of the level of experience, the operator performs in accordance with a pre-defined concept of operations all while driving these events within a VMS.

If this all sounds very similar to EIM, that is because it is. By taking the tried and tested business logic from an EIM system and embedding it within a traditional VMS, VMS+ is created ushering in a whole new genre of a management system that brings together the best of both worlds and makes it attainable and affordable for video-centric security operations.   

About the author: Jeremy Howard is the Vice President of Physical Security Sales, Americas at Qognify.

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