cloud technology
A growing number of users look to add
cloud-based functionality
to their
surveillance toolkits
In today’s market, both end users and resellers seek new technologies to make security programs more effective, while also helping business and employees be more efficient. Cloud-based monitoring services are gaining a significant amount of attention as an emerging solution to meet these needs. Maria Cambria, Vice President, Technical Center of Excellence, DVTEL says that end users are interested in adding cloud-based functionalities to streamline operations and ensure systems are operating at optimal levels at all times. Resellers are interested in these kinds of remote services to enhance customer service, reduce on-site troubleshooting visits and tap into new levels of ongoing revenue. Overall, cloud-based monitoring services offer a host of benefits to the industry. In this article, we take a look at the newest innovations in cloud-based monitoring and outline the inherent value of these innovations.

Maximising Uptime, Minimizing Downtime

As cloud-based services continue to gain traction in the surveillance industry, a growing number of users look to add cloud-based functionality to their surveillance toolkits. One such development is especially interesting: cloud-based surveillance system monitoring, which has the potential to create an unprecedented level of service in the industry.

With cloud-based monitoring, detailed information on a surveillance system’s configuration and status is collected. Then, customers can login to view this data to determine system health from any location. Integrators have access to all of their deployed systems, enabling them to monitor and maximize operations remotely and in real time.

Cloud-based surveillance system
monitoring has the potential to
create an unprecedented level of
service in the industry

In addition, these kinds of cloud-based services can notify integrators of any problems — or, potential problems — so they can take action before their customers are even aware of an issue. The service can also be programmed to provide integrators with solutions and suggestions for each alert, mapping out a pre-determined response to save even more time. This will also help integrators be prepared for upcoming customer site visits.

Cloud-based system monitoring has the potential to make ongoing maintenance more proactive than ever before. Here are some specific examples:

  • The integrator is alerted when certain system health thresholds are crossed — well before a problem even occurs.
  • In the event of a warning or failure, relevant logs could automatically upload to the cloud for integrator review.
  • Automated periodic health checks can reassure the integrator that everything is operating normally.
  • Being a cloud-based solution, upgrades and updates are automatically administered, requiring no installations on the client side.

Cloud-based monitoring capabilities also provide powerful new data-mining possibilities. With the help of automatic alerting of systemic problems, manufacturers can react to potential customer-wide problems more quickly. Product marketing can fine-tune future versions of their products based on actual system performance and target technical bulletins according to affected systems. Meanwhile, integrators can keep an eye on usage patterns to detect new sales opportunities, understand trends, and identify strengths and weaknesses.

Like any cloud-based solution there is a valid concern of securing the system’s data on the cloud. Luckily the Web technology has matured in the recent years – banks, government and commercial businesses migrate their operational systems to the Web.  A well-designed cloud solution, with SSL encryption and adequate user privileges, can safely assure end users and integrators of the privacy and security of their systems.

New cloud-based services, such as those offered as part of DVTEL Cloud Services, will also feature mobile device applications to enable integrators to view events in real-time and react accordingly. At the same time, end users can be notified when a software upgrade is needed, and the upgrade can be completed automatically.

The goal of any cloud service
package is to deliver value to
system integrators, value-added
resellers and end users
alike by ensuring appliances
are proactively supported
throughout the product
lifecycle

These capabilities are the next evolution in the surveillance industry’s move toward real-time response and remote access in all segments of the market. Cloud-based health monitoring will deliver the opportunity to provide better, more timely service than ever before, which will result in more loyal, increasingly satisfied customers today and into the future.

Stakeholder Benefits

Cloud services enable service providers to increase revenue from a service-based model. This approach lets resellers bring an additional level of service and value to their customers, while building recurring monthly revenue. Resellers can broaden their customer base and offer different levels of service depending on customer needs (enterprise vs. SMB, for example), as user-specific settings are customisable.

From a user perspective, cloud and professional services propel cost savings, along with security program and business efficiencies. Large enterprises benefit because security platforms at multiple facilities can be managed remotely, reducing the need for an on-site administrator or for a regional security manager to travel to a specific location to manage the security system on-site. Automated functions, such as software updates, enable staff to focus on critical tasks, such as investigations or policy development, rather than on addressing technical details.

End users and resellers are not the only ones who benefit from cloud service offerings. Product providers can leverage remote management options to help ensure their resellers have the skill set and resources to optimize the use of their technologies in the field. By being proactive with their services program, manufacturers can improve the user experience, which results in long-term customer loyalty, more positive relationships and fewer support calls.

The goal of any cloud service package is to deliver value to system integrators, value-added resellers and end users alike by ensuring appliances are proactively supported throughout the product lifecycle. These services are an important step toward fostering customer loyalty and passing revenue-building opportunities on to valued reseller partners. At the same time, end users gain additional awareness into their technology deployments, increase functionalities and ensure system health into the future.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

Author profile

Maria Cambria VP Technical Center of Excellence, FLIR Systems

In case you missed it

How Have Security Solutions Failed Our Schools?
How Have Security Solutions Failed Our Schools?

School shootings are a high-profile reminder of the need for the highest levels of security at our schools and education facilities. Increasingly, a remedy to boost the security at schools is to use more technology. However, no technology is a panacea, and ongoing violence and other threats at our schools suggest some level of failure. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have security solutions failed our schools and what is the solution?

Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)
Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)

Display solutions play a key role in SOCs in providing the screens needed for individuals and teams to visualize and share the multiple data sources needed in an SOC today. Security Operation Center (SOC) Every SOC has multiple sources and inputs, both physical and virtual, all of which provide numerous data points to operators, in order to provide the highest levels of physical and cyber security, including surveillance camera feeds, access control and alarm systems for physical security, as well as dashboards and web apps for cyber security applications. Today’s advancements in technology and computing power not only have increasingly made security systems much more scalable, by adding hundreds, if not thousands, of more data points to an SOC, but the rate at which the data comes in has significantly increased as well. Accurate monitoring and surveillance This has made monitoring and surveillance much more accurate and effective, but also more challenging for operators, as they can’t realistically monitor the hundreds, even thousands of cameras, dashboards, calls, etc. in a reactive manner. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making In order for operators in SOC’s to be able to mitigate incidents in a less reactive way and take meaningful action, streamlined actionable data is needed. This is what will ensure operators in SOC truly have situational awareness. Situational awareness is a key foundation of effective decision making. In its simplest form, ‘It is knowing what is going on’. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making and in accidents attributed to human error. Achieving ‘true’ situational awareness Situational awareness isn’t just what has already happened, but what is likely to happen next and to achieve ‘true’ situational awareness, a combination of actionable data and the ability to deliver that information or data to the right people, at the right time. This is where visualization platforms (known as visual networking platforms) that provide both the situational real estate, as well as support for computer vision and AI, can help SOCs achieve true situational awareness Role of computer vision and AI technologies Proactive situational awareness is when the data coming into the SOC is analyzed in real time and then, brought forward to operators who are decision makers and key stakeholders in near real time for actionable visualization. Computer vision is a field of Artificial Intelligence that trains computers to interpret and understand digital images and videos. It is a way to automate tasks that the human visual system can also carry out, the automatic extraction, analysis and understanding of useful information from a single image or a sequence of images. There are numerous potential value adds that computer vision can provide to operation centers of different kinds. Here are some examples: Face Recognition: Face detection algorithms can be applied to filter and identify an individual. Biometric Systems: AI can be applied to biometric descriptions such as fingerprint, iris, and face matching. Surveillance: Computer vision supports IoT cameras used to monitor activities and movements of just about any kind that might be related to security and safety, whether that's on the job safety or physical security. Smart Cities: AI and computer vision can be used to improve mobility through quantitative, objective and automated management of resource use (car parks, roads, public squares, etc.) based on the analysis of CCTV data. Event Recognition: Improve the visualization and the decision-making process of human operators or existing video surveillance solutions, by integrating real-time video data analysis algorithms to understand the content of the filmed scene and to extract the relevant information from it. Monitoring: Responding to specific tasks in terms of continuous monitoring and surveillance in many different application frameworks: improved management of logistics in storage warehouses, counting of people during event gatherings, monitoring of subway stations, coastal areas, etc. Computer Vision applications When considering a Computer Vision application, it’s important to ensure that the rest of the infrastructure in the Operation Center, for example the solution that drives the displays and video walls, will connect and work well with the computer vision application. The best way to do this of course is to use a software-driven approach to displaying information and data, rather than a traditional AV hardware approach, which may present incompatibilities. Software-defined and open technology solutions Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need, including computer vision. In the modern world, with everything going digital, all security services and applications have become networked, and as such, they belong to IT. AV applications and services have increasingly become an integral part of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Software-defined approach to AV IT teams responsible for data protection are more in favor of a software-defined approach to AV that allow virtualised, open technologies as opposed to traditional hardware-based solutions. Software’s flexibility allows for more efficient refreshment cycles, expansions and upgrades. The rise of AV-over-IP technologies have enabled IT teams in SOC’s to effectively integrate AV solutions into their existing stack, greatly reducing overhead costs, when it comes to technology investments, staff training, maintenance, and even physical infrastructure. AV-over-IP software platforms Moreover, with AV-over-IP, software-defined AV platforms, IT teams can more easily integrate AI and Computer Vision applications within the SOC, and have better control of the data coming in, while achieving true situational awareness. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people, at the right time, in order to address security incidents and challenges. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people Often, the people who need to know about security risks or breaches are not physically present in the operation centers, so having the data and information locked up within the four walls of the SOC does not provide true situational awareness. hyper-scalable visual platforms Instead there is a need to be able to deliver the video stream, the dashboard of the data and information to any screen anywhere, at any time — including desktops, tablets phones — for the right people to see, whether that is an executive in a different office or working from home, or security guards walking the halls or streets. New technologies are continuing to extend the reach and the benefits of security operation centers. However, interoperability plays a key role in bringing together AI, machine learning and computer vision technologies, in order to ensure data is turned into actionable data, which is delivered to the right people to provide ‘true’ situational awareness. Software-defined, AV-over-IP platforms are the perfect medium to facilitate this for any organizations with physical and cyber security needs.

Securing Mobile Vehicles: The Cloud and Solving Transportation Industry Challenges
Securing Mobile Vehicles: The Cloud and Solving Transportation Industry Challenges

Securing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the transportation industry is multi-faceted for a multitude of reasons. Pressures build for transit industry players to modernise their security systems, while also mitigating the vulnerabilities, risks, and growth-restrictions associated with proprietary as well as integrated solutions. There are the usual physical security obstacles when it comes to increasingly integrated solutions and retrofitting updated technologies into legacy systems. Starting with edge devices like cameras and intelligent sensors acquiring video, analytics and beyond, these edge devices are now found in almost all public transportation like buses, trains, subways, airplanes, cruise lines, and so much more. You can even find them in the world’s last manually operated cable car systems in San Francisco. The next layer to consider is the infrastructure and networks that support these edge devices and connect them to centralized monitoring stations or a VMS. Without this layer, all efforts at the edge or stations are in vain as you lose the connection between the two. And the final layer to consider when building a comprehensive transit solution is the software, recording devices, or viewing stations themselves that capture and report the video. The challenge of mobility However, the transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility. As other industries become more connected and integrated, they don’t usually have to consider going in and out or bouncing between networks as edge devices physically move. Obviously in the nature of transportation, this is key. Have you ever had a bad experience with your cellular, broadband or Wi-Fi at your home or office? You are not alone. The transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility Can you trust these same environments to record your surveillance video to the Cloud without losing any frames, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? To add to the complexity – how do you not only provide a reliable and secure solution when it’s mobile, traveling at varying speeds, and can be in/out of coverage using various wireless technologies? Waiting to upload video from a transport vehicle when it comes into port, the station, or any centralized location is a reactive approach that simply will not do any longer. Transit operations require a more proactive approach today and the ability to constantly know what is going on at any given time on their mobile vehicles, and escalate that information to headquarters, authorities, or law enforcement if needed; which can only occur with real-time monitoring. This is the ultimate question when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and sharing data from mobile vehicles – how to get the video from public transportation vehicles alike to headquarters in real time! Managing video data In order to answer this question, let’s get back to basics. The management and nature of video data differs greatly from conventional (IT) data. Not only is video conducted of large frames, but there are specific and important relationships among the frames and the timing between them. This relationship can easily get lost in translation if not handled properly. This is why it’s critical to consider the proper way to transmit large frames while under unstable or variable networks. The Internet and its protocols were designed more than two decades ago and purposed for conventional data. Although the Internet itself has not changed, today’s network environments run a lot faster, expand to further ranges, and support a variety of different types of data. Because the internet is more reliable and affordable than in the past some might think it can handle anything. However, it is good for data, but not for video. This combination makes it the perfect time to convert video recording to the Cloud! Video transmission protocol One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet. ITS are in dire need for reliable transmission of real-time video recording. To address this need a radical, yet proven, video transmission protocol has recently been introduced to the market. It uses AI technology and to adapt to different environments in order to always deliver high quality, complete video frames. This protocol, when equipped with encryption and authentication, enables video to be transmitted reliably and securely over the Internet in a cloud environment. One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet Finally, transportation industry has a video recording Cloud solution that is designed for (massive) video that can handle networks that might be experiencing high error rate. Such a protocol will not only answer the current challenges of the transportation industry, but also make the previously risky Cloud environment safe for even the most reserved environments and entities. With revolutionary transmission protocols, the time is now to consider adopting private Cloud for your transportation operations.