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.

Smart search, Carle explains, speeds investigations because you can specify particular areas in the camera's field of view, as well as a specific time frame, and capture only recordings where motion is detected in that area in that time period. Systems differ, he says, in terms of the speed of these searches, depending on whether it records metadata along with the video.

Meanwhile, a mapping feature allows administrators to import an image file and overlay icons representing cameras on the map, Carle explains. "This will show an operator exactly where a camera is in the facility, making it much easier to learn the system and track activity across cameras."

DO understand cost structures. Many vendors calculate cost by charging a certain amount for each video device used with the system, plus an upgrade subscription fee, which entitles the user to download new versions of the software, Carle explains. Some also charge a server fee, either as a site license or for each server on which the software is installed. Per-device costs vary widely, mainly depending on the system's level of sophistication. Very high-end systems can be over $1,000 per camera, while an enterprise-level, scalable system can be US$200 to $500 per camera, Carle says.

DON'T forget to consider storage. Especially with higher resolution cameras, video surveillance can start to take a big bite out of storage. Many vendors offer various techniques to keep that to a minimum. For instance, the Genetec system that Neves selected can change video resolution from 4 CIF to 2 CIF or less. "The software can manipulate what the camera sees and records, how much it records and with how much clarity," he says.

Another way that Neves minimizes storage requirements is through Genetec's motion detection capability, which can be applied to any camera even if the camera itself does not have the ability to sense light. The feature enables the casino to record only when tables are in use, to meet the federal requirement of 24/7 recording for active tables. In all, there are 100 tables, and if just 50 are being used at a time, only the cameras focused on those tables need to record video.

"Anytime a customer or dealer enters the frame, the system automatically starts recording five minutes prior to that," Neves says. "And you can tell it to stop recording once motion has left the frame. It allows us the freedom to utilize cameras when we need them."

Plus, if certain areas of a casino are only accessible at certain times, he can use motion detection on cameras monitoring the hallways and doors in those areas to check for abnormal access. "With 500 to 600 cameras, we don't have the manpower to hire the people it would take to see everything going on," he says. "This enables us to minimize our staffing while increasing our security level."

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