Your VMS is the expert

CCTV Handbook 2018 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

The video management system (VMS) has been with us for years. Over time, it has evolved into far more than something used to record and play back video, it has gained intelligence and the ability to integrate with and manage multiple camera brands as well as other security devices (and increasingly non-security devices as well).

To look into what a modern VMS solution is able to offer and what will be on offer in the future, Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to Jason Spielfogel, principal product manager, VMS, at Pelco for some insights into the company’s current and future plans for its VideoXpert platform.

According to Spielfogel, in the past a VMS simply managed video. It recorded it, played it back, and allowed the operator to view live images. “Over the last ten years, we’ve seen it develop far greater capabilities. It now manages alarms and other devices connected to it and shares information with separate devices and systems. Essentially, the VMS has evolved from a video security data management system to become a video-centric data management system.”

Video remains the centrepiece of a VMS, but security is not necessarily its sole or even primary purpose. Instead, its main purpose is to collect and analyse data from a variety of sources. “This is the direction all top-tier VMS developers are moving towards, including Pelco.”

Moving into the IoT world

There can be no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI), along with deep learning will find a welcome home in the VMS of the future. This will further allow these systems to access more data from a variety of systems, such as licence plate capture, access control and even third-party systems that aren’t traditionally used for security, such as PSIM, says Spielfogel. “All of that available data can be used by the VMS referentially with the video to provide more thorough investigations as well as to improve operational efficiencies. This is all leading to VMSs being less about reaction and more about prediction.”

We can already see this happening as more VMS offerings have moved to the IoT world with significant developments in this regard in the pipeline. The most obvious future development will be increasingly intelligent IP security cameras that not only communicate with the VMS, but with each other. Spielfogel expects it to also extend to non-security devices, such as cellphones, as part of the IoT habitat, “for communication as well as to leverage the dramatic power contained on those devices today”.

Given the expansion of the capabilities of the top VMSs, the question might be asked whether we’re seeing the end of separate systems such as a VMS and a PSIM. However, this is not necessarily the case. While many of the systems’ functions can overlap today, Spielfogel says talk of the convergence of VMS and PSIM has been going on and experimented with for more than a decade, with varying degrees of success and failure.

“I don’t think the goal is necessarily for PSIMs to take over the role of a VMS or vice versa, as much as it is to have the two systems collaborate by sharing data, hopefully leading to a simpler, more efficient operation. In the future, that might involve controlling a PSIM through a VMS or the other way around, but right now the important question is, what data can we share between the systems to get the most out of both of them?”

The cyber bug

Nobody can afford to ignore the cybersecurity threat today, especially developers of a platform that plays such an important role in customers’ security. Pelco has committed to cybersecurity in its VideoXpert offering, with Spielfogel noting that VideoXpert Professional became the first major VMS to achieve compliance with the US Department of Defense’s stringent Risk Management Framework (RMF) guidelines.

“In 2018 we’ll expand that to include compliance with the entire VideoXpert platform. We have also significantly invested in product development to ensure we offer one of the most secure solutions in the industry. We are committed to a proactive approach, which includes bringing on board a dedicated cybersecurity champion who steers all of our product development efforts to ensure cybersecurity is at the forefront of the development process.”

The company also works with different partners on the cybersecurity front to ensure it keeps abreast of what is happening and keeps Pelco products as secure as possible.

Looking beyond cybersecurity, Spielfogel says that the biggest change we’ll see from Pelco is a shift from a focus on ‘we need X feature’ in the solution in favour of a focus on the solution that a group of complementary features offers to customers.

“This change has already begun and you’ll see significant portions of that presented to the market as early as mid-2018. Beyond that, our focus is absolutely tied to deep learning analytics that provides solutions that don’t merely react to situations, but predict what situations will occur. Our solutions will do this by analysing data, both from our own products as well as the IoT of data now available from other systems and the cloud.”

Pelco is not satisfied with simply enabling customers to react to an emergency. Spielfogel says being able to predict that one will happen so that resources can be prepared ahead of time is Pelco’s new direction for the future.

For more information contact Yvette Venter, Pelco by Schneider Electric, +27 (0)11 254 6400,

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