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How VMS Has Evolved Into an Enterprise Management Tool

Find out how VMS technology is shifting focus from detection and documentation toward prevention, as well as hardening cybersecurity.

How VMS Has Evolved Into an Enterprise Management Tool

Advances in intelligence, integration capabilities and ease of use are propelling VMS solutions not only as superior surveillance and security tools but also to the forefront of enterprise management.

A recent study published by market researchers MarketsandMarkets states that the video management software (VMS) market size is expected to grow from $3.71 billion in 2016 to $10.54 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2%.

These figures should not come as a surprise to anyone in the physical security industry as VMS has been continually advancing with new technologies and functionalities. No longer just a video software solution, VMS has evolved into an enterprise management tool for situational awareness and incident management.

Advanced VMS technology has also changed the narrative, whereby the functionality of video surveillance and security systems has shifted from detection and documentation toward prevention. One of the more significant VMS technology advances responsible for bridging this shift are the automation features found in VMS solutions.

Encompassing systems integration, operational workflow and systems health, automation is changing the way security professionals plan, implement and use video surveillance and security systems. The benefit is a video surveillance and security system that is easier to use, more effective,and substantially more efficient in preventive security and risk management.

Integration Expands Platforms

Increasingly, VMS solutions are functioning as a main platform for integrated security systems, connecting and collecting data from video, access control, time and attendance, and other security and nonsecurity systems.

Open architecture is the foundation for integrated systems allowing event fusion, combining video data from other alarm-generating systems to generate meaningful alerts that heighten security.

Further value is added when VMS expands the parameters of a video surveillance and security system with recognition software or analytics that can automatically detect patterns and form relationships between otherwise nonrelated events. The technology partnerships that allow these integrations are increasingly vital to a comprehensive VMS security solution.

While each partner focuses on their core competencies and innovations, open architecture and adherence to industry standards such as ONVIF and PSIA allow integration of solutions from multiple vendors to provide additional innovative features and capabilities beyond typical VMS applications.

Improved infrastructure management, according to Viakoo’s CEO Bud Broomhead, is another benefit of advanced integrated systems. Automated systems verify that surveillance video is being collected and stored as intended so that immediate action can be taken in the case of gap sand missing videos.

“Collecting, connecting and managing system data and video from multivendor suppliers is well handled with VMS solutions,” he says. “Infrastructure management completes the integration solution by providing automated verification tools to improve system performance and lower risk.”

Enhancing Operational Workflow

Workflow management is a significant benefit of an integrated VMS as the software allows video and data information to be incorporated with policies and procedures. As an example, the integration of video analytics and access control could enable the system to automatically trigger building operations such as elevators or lights when an authorized individual enters a location after hours.

A centralized control platform allows operators to manage several related systems without having to move back and forth between systems. Adding to system synergy, critical alerts exported from across the organization are automatically distributed via text messages or emails to authorized individuals for investigation and event handling.

Interoperability and connectivity with local municipal authorities running VMS systems makes vital information immediately available to those officials for collaborative handling in the event of a fire, lockdown or other serious threats.

Complex systems are additionally managed and security improved with automated and time saving tools such as touchscreen technology, map-based interfaces, context-sensitive popup controls and time slice forensics.

Intuitive touchscreen interfaces automatically react to the user’s actions and present only the controls and tools required by the current mode of operation while the popup feature is an automated action that shows video of a security event alert and lists procedures to be followed.

Time slice forensics, used for after-the-fact investigation, offers faster access to data about an incident. Using these automated tools to mine evidence ― for example, how a criminal proceeded from floor to floor looking for a target — security personnel can present a more complete case, even potentially showing the intent of a criminal activity.

Helpful software wizards available to the integrator/user through the process make adding cameras, configuring video, scheduling recordings and adjusting of motion detection fast and convenient. Finder tools and smart camera driver technology, as well as batch configuration and automatic system restore functions, are yet more automated features that help optimize system resources for improved security.

Monitoring System Health

End users often don’t know how to update their devices, don’t think to do it or simply lack the time to update their firmware. By removing the need for human action or intervention in the software updating process, new VMS software with auto-update features helps ensure that users’systems are always current ― and less susceptible to hackers.

Automatic update services keep the recorder component software up-to-date and will check daily for available updates. If updates are offered (typically made available about once per month), they are downloaded and installed on each remote recorder component automatically. Optionally, default settings may be overridden to manually install updates.

In addition to VMS auto-update features, there is also nonintrusive video surveillance and security data verification technology offered that is highly cost-efficient and can provide fully automated oversight of network, device and system operation to let users know if their security network is interrupted.

This technology provides the user with the ability to easily check on system status, and when failures are detected the software will help to determine corrective actions that minimize the time and impact of an audit failure. Automated verification of physical security system performance can also improve detection of cyber threats and enforce tighter control of policies while providing servicing dealers a new potential source of RMR.

“Many firms are shorthanded when it comes to cybersecurity talent,”says Broomhead. “Automated verification tools provide a powerful alternative that can contribute a more consistent and better verification function to detect all types of security-related issues.”

Both physical and cybersecurity are critical to maintaining a business’ integrity through any threats or issues that may arise. The ability to proactively verify networks makes automation a powerful tool in identifying and preventing problems.

Prevention Is New Frontier

VMS capabilities are continually being developed to pave the way for new crossroads in technology where detection and prevention intersect. As an example, when reviewing incidents, the intelligence gleaned from combining video and other data allows organizations to implement new policies and procedures to identify and track a variety of incidents and events.

These new capabilities are supported with optimized reliability features such as recorder server failover, critical camera failover protection and management redundancy. Improvements in quality include support for H.265 compression for exceptional image quality with less data, and a reduction of video bandwidth usage and storage requirements.

Successful operational security needs both effective prevention and intelligent response. Not as separate actions, but rather as a combined force made possible by advanced VMS solutions.


Ken LaMarca is Vice President, Sales & Marketing, for OnSSI.

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