Video management systems

Integrated systems

When video is integrated with other systems such as point-of-sale and building management, information from other systems can be used to trigger functions such as event-based recordings in the network video system, and vice versa. In addition, users can benefit from having a common interface for managing different systems.

Application programming interface

All Axis network video products have an HTTP-based application programming interface (API) or network interface called VAPIX®, which makes it easier for developers to build applications that support the network video products. A video management software program or building management system that uses VAPIX® will be able to request images from Axis network video products, control network camera functions (e.g., PTZ and relays) and set or retrieve internal parameter values. In effect, it allows a system to do everything that the network video product’s web interface provides and more, such as capturing uncompressed images in bitmap file format.

A global, open industry forum called ONVIF was established in early 2008 by Axis, Bosch and Sony to standardize the network interface of network video products. A standard network interface would ensure greater interoperability and more flexibility for end users when building multiple-vendor network video systems. For more information, visit www.onvif.org.

Point of Sale

This screenshot displays the receipts together with video clips of the event. Picture courtesy of Milestone Systems.

The introduction of network video in retail environments has made the integration of video with point-of-sale (PoS) systems easier.

The integration enables all cash register transactions to be linked to actual video of the transactions. It helps catch and prevent fraud and theft from employees and customers. PoS exceptions such as returns, manually entered values, line corrections, transaction cancellations, co-worker purchases, discounts, specially tagged items, exchanges and refunds can be visually verified with the captured video. A PoS system with integrated video surveillance makes it easier to find and verify suspicious activities.

Event-based recordings can be applied. For instance, a PoS transaction or exception, or the opening of a cash register drawer, can be used to trigger a camera to record and tag the recording. The scene prior to and following an event can be captured using pre- and post-event recording buffers. Event-based recordings increase the quality of the recorded material, as well as reduce storage requirements and the amount of time needed to search for incidents.

Access control

Integrating a video management system with a facility’s access control system allows for facility and room access to be logged with video. For example, video can be captured at all doors when someone enters or exits a facility. This allows for visual verification when exceptional events occur. In addition, identification of tailgating events can also be made. Tailgating occurs when, for instance, the person who swipes his/her access card knowingly or unknowingly enables others to gain entry without having to swipe a card.

Building management

Video can be integrated into a building management system (BMS) that controls a number of systems ranging from heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) to security, safety, energy and fire alarm systems.

The following are some application examples:

  • An equipment failure alarm can trigger a camera to show video to an operator, in addition to activating alarms at the BMS.
  • A fire alarm system can trigger a camera to monitor exit doors and begin recording for security purposes.
  • Intelligent video can be used to detect reverse flow of people into a building due to an open or unsecured door from events such as evacuations.
  • Information from the video motion detection functionality of a camera that is located in a meeting room can be used with lighting and heating systems to turn the light and heat off once the room is vacated, thereby saving energy.

Industrial control systems

Remote visual verification is often beneficial and required in complex industrial automation systems. By having access to network video using the same interface as for monitoring a process, an operator does not have to leave the control panel to visually check on part of a process. In addition, when an operation malfunctions, the network camera can be triggered to send images. In some sensitive clean-room processes, or in facilities with dangerous chemicals, video surveillance is the only way to have visual access to a process. The same goes for electrical grid systems with a substation in a very remote location.

RFID

Tracking systems that involve RFID (radio-frequency identification) or similar methods are used in many applications to keep track of items. An example is luggage handling at airports that will keep track of the luggage and direct it to the correct destination. If it is integrated with video surveillance, there is visual evidence when luggage is lost or damaged, and search routines can be optimized.