When you need to view video of an incident or information about an access point, you expect your security system will provide that information. But what happens if a camera or card reader isn’t working for some reason? It’s the security director’s worst nightmare.
Sadly, the moment when a system fails is often the first indication an end user has that there is a problem. A useful trend I saw at ISC West this year is growth in various types of diagnostic, monitoring and control systems. These technologies provide much-needed information on how a system is functioning – and an early warning of a problem before it’s too late.
Viakoo’s Cloud-Based Software System Deters Video Downtime
One company looking to automate the manual process of identifying video downtime and missing video is Viakoo. Their cloud-based software system analyzes each unique stream of video from the camera to the recording device. If the stream is interrupted, the system automatically identifies the problem, diagnoses what happened, and sends an alert to tell the technician how to fix it. A small software agent running in the background of the recording servers checks the system every 20 minutes (or as frequently as specified). The diagnostic data (but, importantly, no video content) is then encrypted and sent to the cloud, where algorithms interpret it and send notifications back to a computer’s user interface or a smart phone.
System uptime is obviously a
In addition to diagnosing system problems, Viakoo also provides Quality of Service metrics on a system, such as the history of uptime, quality of frame rates, etc. The system can also identify if retention goals are being met (such as 30 days of recording) – and identify any problems such as configuration errors, PoE problems, etc. The system can detect whether video is being retained for too long, too; for example, privacy laws in Italy require that video not be retained for more than 72 hours, and the Viakoo system can monitor compliance.
Initially, Viakoo is selling to end users, with an expectation of selling through integrators at some point in the future. The company can also work with VMS manufacturers to enhance “health-check” functionality, thus eliminating the “finger-pointing” that might otherwise occur between a VMS company and a camera manufacturer.
Another company embracing diagnostics is Razberi, a manufacturer of edge-based recording appliances that include a server, switch and software inside a box that mounts on the wall. At ISC West, Razberi announced a VyneWatch feature that “phones home” to provide system diagnostic information from the edge-based device to a central location. The idea is to provide notification of imminent problems that can be addressed before there is a hardware failure.
Altronix LINQ Network Communication and Control Solution
Power supply company Altronix is also stepping up with systems that can provide operators real-time control and monitoring information from anywhere, including data about power input and output, whether devices are drawing too much power, and even whether the room is too hot. The new Altronix LINQ Network Communication and Control Solution combines information from even large systems into a single dashboard platform; Altronix is working with VMS companies to integrate the functionality into their systems.
In addition to monitoring Altronix power systems, LINQ can also monitor any products that have a web browser, such as a camera or an access control system. Having everything on one platform simplifies the process of diagnosing any system problems.
Altronix can also monitor the individual outputs of a power supply, even a system installed 10 years ago from a competitor.
Sony’s Edge Recording Using SD Cards
Edge recording using SD cards is another new trend in the market, and Sony is implementing diagnostics as an element of SD recording. Sony’s SD card maintenance notification technology is available on many of Sony’s IPELA Engine Series cameras. When Sony’s cameras are used in conjunction with certain microSD cards, this feature can help improve system reliability by sending email alerts to the appropriate administrators if the card fails or starts to experience problems.
System uptime is obviously a huge factor in security systems, and it’s good to see manufacturers embrace the challenges of communicating system status in real time.