Video Surveillance As a Service: VSaaS Dos and Don'ts

Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS)--another name for hosted or managed video services--may help streamline your operations. But as with any service or product, you have to choose the right match for your specific needs. Here are critical considerations from the front lines.

By Mary Brandel
Tue, October 12, 2010

CSO — Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS)--another name for hosted or managed video services--may help streamline your operations. But as with any service or product, you have to choose the right match for your specific needs. Here are critical considerations from the front lines.

For a look at the VSaaS provider market and essential concepts, see the companion article The basics of surveillance as a service.

DON'T expect specialized capabilities. Hosted systems are best for companies that need general surveillance in normal resolution. "There are systems that specialize in analytics, where they're analyzing movement in certain frames and taking action on that, or where you have three guys watching screens all day, with direct access to the cameras to manually move them on their patrols--that's not what these systems do," says Christopher Kuncaitis, director of operations at the K Group of Companies. "It's a static system, but you can quickly get video from anywhere in the world."

Bob Stockwell, director of systems operations at security integrator Niscayah, agrees that aside from motion detection or variable frame rate, you can't expect to get features like sophisticated analytics. "Hosted is for someone with the need for a simple deployment--recording what's happening when people are there," he says. This is exactly what 80 percent to 90 percent of the market needs, he says.

"Not many [businesses] need to read a dollar bill or a form on someone's desk," he says. "In a pharmacy, they don't want to read someone's prescription, they just want general surveillance."

DON'T assume all systems are plug-and-play. Some systems require more configuration than others, warns John Honovich, founder of IP Video Market. He defines plug-and-play as the camera and recorder connecting to a central-management server without having to set up IP addresses or DNS information, forward ports or change firewall configurations.

Plug-and-play systems offer many benefits, including elimination of the need for a technician with networking skills to set up the system, which reduces the cost of and time needed for set up and follow-up service, he says. These systems are also more reliable, he adds, as they are less affected by changes in broadband providers, network configurations or routers.

DO consider image quality. Jeff Vining, an analyst at Gartner Research, says hosted systems are best if you don't require high-quality video. The systems are capable of five to 15 frames per second (fps), he says, compared to the 30fps required in police work. The lower resolution would be fine, he says, in a restaurant or retail store, when you're not recording a lot of movement and are mainly focused on the entrance, exit and cash registers, in case of a robbery.

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Originally published on www.csoonline.com. Click here to read the original story.
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