Video Management Software Best Practices for Education
Working with local first responders as well as incorporating features like analytics and mobile applications will ensure you get the most from your video surveillance systems.
All photos courtesy OnSSI
IP video surveillance systems are one of the most popular and effective security tools available for schools and institutions of higher education. IP video is advantageous in a number of ways, including superior image quality, ease of manipulation, integration capabilities, simple accessibility and a wide scalability range. IP video systems also allow cameras to be deployed anywhere within reach of a network connection, while a standards-based design and open architecture ensure the ability to incorporate signals from various types and brands of cameras into a unified video platform.
Video management software (VMS) systems are a central component of IP surveillance that maximize the ability of video cameras located throughout a campus to keep students, staff, visitors and facilities safe. VMS systems are designed with efficiency tools such as touch-screen technology, map-based interfaces, context-sensitive pop-up controls and time slice forensics. Combined with an event-management platform, VMS systems easily integrate with an array of physical security solutions, such as alarms, access control, intrusion detection, video content analytics, license plate recognition and other operation systems to provide police, security professionals and administrators the information they need to safeguard their campus and make more informed decisions.
Because IP video surveillance systems are evolving into a more comprehensive security solution, a VMS system must be proactive and results-oriented. To help schools and universities establish VMS best practices that, together with IP surveillance systems, can provide the foundation for a safe and secure environment, the following should be considered.
Develop Collaboration Among First Responders
IP-based solutions open the door for linking systems and areas, allowing the entire campus to be tied to the VMS platform for improved situational awareness. An open platform conforming to industry standards enables organizations to choose best-of-breed components, combined in any configuration for any size application. Ideally, VMS technology should be intuitive and relatively simple to configure as well as easy to integrate with network-based systems. From an operations standpoint, authorized users should be able to view and control the system from anywhere on the network through an intuitive, unified user interface. With touch-screen operation, the interface would provide control of all aspects of video detection, analysis, delivery and response.
Interoperability and connectivity with local municipal authorities running identical VMS systems make vital information immediately available to those officials for collaborative handling in the event of a fire, lockdown or other serious threats at a school. Programming the management server on a granular level for information access and control helps to ensure the integrity of the system.
Manage Video Streams with Controls, Analytics
Whether it’s an elementary school with 10 cameras or a multi-complex university with hundreds of cameras, managing the video and data is better accomplished with easy to use, intelligent tools available on a VMS system. Traditional record/review systems typically have too few operators with too little time, trying to handle too many cameras and too much information. VMS tools provide operators with full control over all camera parameters, including pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ), joystick control, digital zoom in/out and more. These features, available on the user interface, give administrators and first responders the advantage needed to make the right decision quickly.
For example, if an alarmed door exit at a facility is breached, the system can be programmed to automatically push the video to pre-selected devices, enabling authorities to immediately view the incident and then take action. This capability enables schools to react to events and potential problems quickly and effectively, which, in turn, can prevent them from escalating.
VMS systems can also be used for after-the-fact investigations. Tools such as digital PTZ into recorded images, time slicing and bi-directional playback with variable speed and instant access to recorded events offer faster access to incident data.
For example, using digital PTZ to manipulate images gives operators the ability to sharpen the video, get a wider view or analyze multiple camera angles. Using these 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 criminal intent of a suspect.
Mobile Applications Improve Situational Awareness
Situational awareness is a key foundation of security. A full complement of well-placed high definition and megapixel cameras can provide that awareness. The only problem is, not every campus will have dedicated networks for transmission, nor will incidents conveniently take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. when the control room might be fully staffed and able to monitor events. By incorporating VMS into the mix, this challenge can be addressed.
New VMS technology enables standard definition and HD/megapixel cameras to stream high resolution video over a low-speed connection or limited bandwidth network. Video streams through the cloud can be monitored at full frame rates (with less than one-second lag) including the ability to digitally control PTZ functions. Streams can then be encrypted to enable a secure connection both inside and outside a campus network, with all the resulting collaborative and safety advantages.
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