Video Management Software

A Video Management System (VMS) is a pivotal software platform designed to collect, record, store, manage, and analyse video from surveillance cameras. It serves as the heart of a video surveillance system, providing an interface for viewing live and recorded video.

Core VMS Functions

  • Live Video Monitoring: VMS systems enable real-time viewing of video from surveillance cameras, which can be accessed on-site or remotely.
  • Video Recording and Storage: They facilitate video recording from multiple cameras and store the recorded footage on servers or network storage devices. VMS also provides functionalities to search and retrieve recorded video.
  • Video Analytics: Advanced VMS systems incorporate video analytics that automatically detect and alert security personnel to suspicious or abnormal activities.
  • Integration with Other Security Systems: VMS can be integrated with other security systems, such as access control and alarm systems, to create a centralised security management platform.
  • User Management: They allow administrators to manage user access, assigning different levels of permissions to various users.

  • Additional Capabilities

    • Motion Detection: Some VMS systems can implement motion detection to reduce the amount of data recorded by the cameras or the VMS.
    • Distributed Processing: For large and complex systems, the workload can be divided across multiple servers, with the VMS providing a unified interface for clients to access cameras.
    • Audio Recording: VMS can record audio from network cameras and may provide two-way audio capabilities.
    • Alarm I/O: They can monitor alarm inputs and outputs, triggering actions such as recording or sending alerts.
    • Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) Control: VMS allows for the remote control of PTZ cameras, which can be rotated, tilted, and zoomed to monitor large areas.

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    Essential Features of a VMS

    • Record video – a VMS has various features to record video from IP cameras including the ability to configure camera settings such as resolution and frame rate, scheduling of recording times, and the option to store recorded video locally, on a network-attached storage device or in the cloud.
    • Search video – a VMS provides rapid search tools to find people, vehicles or incidents for investigation. Such tools include time-based, motion-based, thumb-nail and analytic based search functions.
    • Camera management – a VMS provides functionality for managing IP camera settings through its user interface and configuration options. Most VMSs can discover cameras, configure camera settings including resolution, frame rate & compression etc, group cameras, configure recording parameters including continuous, motion or schedule based, and event & alarm configuration to set-up event and alarm triggers based on events.
    • Bandwidth management – effectively manage video streams using built-in camera and software functionalities to optimise network resources and bandwidth consumption. Describe unicast vs multicast camera streaming (traffic throughput) here.
    • Multi-streaming – allows the system administrator to easily assign different purposes to video streams, including live viewing, remote viewing (with reduced bandwidth), recording, and long term recording. By leveraging a camera’s ability to generate multiple streams, a VMS can designate stream qualities that will be used from the same camera for different purposes.
    • Supports third-party cameras – a VMS supports cameras from third-party manufacturers, however not all VMS developers support every manufacturer due to compliance issues with cyber security and other critical compliance requirements. Additionally, not all of the features of a camera model may be supported by a VMS, for instance PTZ functionality, and VMS support for camera firmware may not be the latest firmware that the manufacturer has released.
    • Bookmark video – most VMSs allow bookmarking of important or critical video sequences for fast retrieval. A bookmark is a tool that’s used to time stamp a specific moment in a video sequence of an event or incident. Depending on the VMS, a bookmark may also contain a short text description that can be used to search and review video at a later time, making it easy to locate specific footage.
    • Export video – features include the ability to select a specific time frame of recorded video for export, the ability to choose the video resolution and format (such as MP4 or AVI), and the option to add watermarks or logos to the exported video. Additionally, some VMSs provide the option to export video with specific privacy or redaction settings, such as blurring or masking certain areas of the video to protect the identity of individuals or sensitive information.
    • Watermarking – adds a digital signature to recorded video that identifies the source and authenticity of the footage. This helps prevent tampering and unauthorised distribution of the video.By adding watermarks, a VMS can provide an additional layer of security and accountability, especially in applications where the recorded video may be used as evidence in legal or investigative proceedings.
    • User Permissions – the VMS may also allow users to set user access permissions and provide audit trails to track who has accessed or modified video footage.

    Essential Cyber Security features of a VMS

    These include:

    • Encryption – encryption helps you protect all the physical security data that is sent from your security devices, such as video cameras, access control readers, and other IoT sensors, to and from your servers and client workstations. It does this by encoding information or scrambling readable text to hide and protect it from unauthorised users.
    • Authentication – authentication is a process that validates the identity of a user, server, or client
      application before granting them access to your protected resource. On the client side, authentication can include various techniques such as usernames and passwords, and security tokens. On the server side, the confirmation of trusted third parties is usually provided through digital certificates
    • Authorisation – authorisation is a process that allows you to define specific user privileges to further
      restrict who can access your applications and what they can see or do within each application. Authorization within security systems can also include when and what types of information can be shared internally or externally, and how long data is kept.

    See our cyber security section for more information and cyber hardening.

    What Advanced Features does an Enterprise VMS offer?

    An enterprise class VMS offers robust features and scalability to meet the demanding needs of large-scale surveillance deployments. It provides advanced video analytics capabilities, high-performance recording and storage, centralized management of multiple cameras and sites, flexible user access controls, integration with other security systems, comprehensive reporting and auditing tools, and seamless scalability to accommodate future growth.

    Additionally, it ensures data security and integrity through encryption, redundancy, and backup mechanisms. Overall, an enterprise-class video management system delivers a comprehensive and reliable solution for managing and monitoring video surveillance in complex enterprise environments.

    Other capabilities include:

    • Access Control integration – a VMS typically offers an API or SDK that allows developers to create custom integrations between the VMS and the third-party access control system. This enables seamless communication and data exchange between the two systems.
    • Failover & Disaster Recovery – an advanced VMS provides failover functionality for continuous recording and disaster recovery using automatic failover mechanisms to seamlessly switch recording operations to redundant servers in the event of a failure, or can be integrated with a NAS or SAN storage solution. These storage systems offer built-in redundancy, ensuring that recorded video is safely stored even if a single disk or storage device fails.
    • Appearance Search – find a vehicle or person of interest by using colour or gender
    • Camera Health Monitoring – a VMS may provide health monitoring features to monitor the status and performance of IP cameras. This includes indicators for camera connectivity, video loss, and camera health metrics like temperature and network bandwidth usage.

    • Call us on 1300 556 334 or email [email protected] to learn more.

      Customers in New Zealand call 0800 345 677 or email [email protected].

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