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How to Manage Surveillance Video

How to Manage Surveillance Video

Video management software helps with efficient monitoring, transmission and storage of IP surveillance video. Here's how to evaluate, purchase and implement VMS.

In the bad old days, says Honovich, you would have to set up a unique user name and password for every DVR or video management system, which created a nightmare scenario of people using weak default passwords like "admin." "Anyone could get in at any given time," Honovich says. "That's why centralized management is an important element, given the history of poor user access management."

DO look for an intuitive user interface. Security personnel can turn over quickly, so it's important to have a system on which you can train people quickly and easily. Not to mention, many are moving from the world of analog systems, so the transition to a computer interface needs to be considered. "Security can be a fluid profession, so you don't want to invest a lot of training, which makes an intuitive interface paramount," Honovich says.

Often, Carle warns, applications are designed with functions buried under menus, and it takes many mouse clicks to perform a function. "Ease of use and training are a primary concern for organizations that have guards monitoring the video," he says.

The best thing to do is try the product in an existing environment to see what users do and don't like, says Kani Neves, executive director of the Sherwood Valley Gaming Commission. That's what his group did before choosing a system from Genetec for the Black Bart Casino in Northern California. "We visited other facilities and environments to see what we thought would apply to us and not," he says.

DO consider resource-saving features. Some features can help minimize time and staffing levels, including alarm clients, mapping clients and smart searching. Alarm clients display a blank video screen until activity occurs on associated cameras. Only video triggered by motion or alarm will display, "which prevents the operator from being bombarded with potentially irrelevant video information," Carle says. This can cut down on the number of personnel you need. Some alarm clients include a history list of events, so an operator can click on an item in the list and quickly play back video of the event, he says.

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