As video surveillance technology continues to advance, and more customers make the move to IP, software has emerged as a key component of any surveillance network. But for value-added resellers (VARs) that are new to video surveillance, getting up to speed on today’s many software platforms, and their features and capabilities, might seem daunting. Luckily, a basic understanding of the technology will help you get started.
Intro to Video Surveillance Software
In an IP surveillance solution, or in a hybrid solution using legacy analog cameras, video surveillance software serves a vital function. Video management software (VMS) enables your clients to monitor, record, and play back video from their cameras; manage and troubleshoot each device; and make use of advanced features, such as video analytics. If the network includes pan–tilt–zoom (PTZ) cameras, the VMS can also be used to move them as needed.
Network video recorders (NVRs) are an alternative to VMS for recording and video management. However, today many clients are opting for VMS that records and stores video directly to their network computers and can be accessed on site or remotely via the Internet.
There is a wide range of VMS products available in today’s market, suiting clients of any size, with camera counts that range from a single device to hundreds or even thousands. Some IP cameras even include their own VMS; however, their feature sets may be limited for most of your customers. The key is doing your research and identifying software that you feel can meet each client’s needs, whether they run a small office or an enterprise-class business.
These days, VMS offers so much more than basic live monitoring, providing the advanced features that your clients need in order to achieve a higher level of protection and faster, more informed incident response. Some of the capabilities of a video surveillance software package are:
- Remote viewing from Internet-enabled computers or mobile devices
- Intelligent search for locating specific dates, times, or incidents within video archives (for example, object left behind, removal of items, wrong direction)
- Video analytics that alert upon pre-determined events or thresholds; can be integrated with other business systems, such as point of sale
- Support for two-way audio, enabling security personnel to communicate with individuals through video cameras
- Motion detection, which initiates recording upon motion in order to avoid recording unneeded video and to save storage space
- Text and email alerts upon pre-determined activities in order to enable real-time response
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Options
A growing number of video surveillance customers are opting for software that is delivered as a service, rather than buying it outright. There are several benefits to SaaS for recording and storing video: Video footage is highly secure and always available, local storage requirements are minimized (which saves money), and security personnel can access video from any location with an Internet connection.
Of course, SaaS requires a monthly fee paid to the third-party supplier. However, in certain environments—such as start-up companies or those that are experiencing very rapid growth—SaaS could be the more cost-effective option in the long run.
Does software represent a new area of expertise for you? Or has the technology already been incorporated into your business?