John Kedzierski of Motorola Solutions reveals how the company has improved its security offerings for enterprises.
If you go back a decade ago and look at how video security systems were typically used, it is easy to see that the way of doing things back then was very different. Many users would primarily use these systems to monitor video across a wall of screens, or to review their footage for incidents without the help of AI-powered analytics. This was complicated and didn’t take into account that the average human’s attention span typically starts to drop off after 20 minutes of watching screens as they wait to detect something manually.
Fast-forward ten years and these use cases are now considered to be outdated. The rise of intelligent end-to-end video systems over the past few years have provided a new wave of advanced analytics that help users address issues such as trespassing, loss prevention, vandalism and much more in real-time. These innovations have helped organisations save resources and budget, while simultaneously playing a vital role in protecting people and property.
However, the hardware associated with many of these solutions is often complicated and highly technical in nature, particularly from a maintenance standpoint. Traditionally, many B2B products have remained outdated when it comes to user experience. On the other hand, consumer offerings have sped forward in taking their consumer data and using it to build meaningful capabilities that produce value for their customers. By comparison, the enterprise space has been relatively slow to innovate on this front.
This isn’t to suggest that security offerings for enterprise have not advanced significantly. Deep learning and AI alone have propelled analytic capabilities forward to provide real-time insights that would not have been possible even just a few years ago. But as it relates to ease of use, the devil is in the details. For example, to perform something like a simple software upgrade, many users require additional support that extends beyond them being able to perform this task on their own. It can even lean as far as needing travel to each site to make the upgrade take place, which is neither cost-effective nor efficient.
Bridging the gap
This is where manufacturers have the opportunity to fill a void. Last year, the Video Security & Analytics team at Motorola Solutions released Avigilon Cloud Services (ACS) to provide our customers with new ways to access and view live video, as well as monitor and manage the health of their systems. The release is targeted towards providing new avenues for ease of use to our users, bridging the gap between a traditional enterprise experience and consumer products.
Let’s picture the example I named above regarding the simple software upgrade. By introducing the cloud to help perform this routine task, you no longer have to make an onsite trip. Rather, in the case of ACS, integrators or the end users can use Advanced System Health Monitoring to review and acknowledge the health of their devices through notifications and to remotely update the video management system’s software and camera firmware across multiple sites. Centralising access to distributed sites simplifies and enhances one’s ability to be more efficient in detecting, verifying and proactively responding to incidents across a campus
This is particularly valuable if you are a user overseeing a large venue or multiple sites. Imagine, if you are the security lead for a higher education institution, you will likely have multiple areas that need to be monitored for security purposes, such as classrooms, hallways, athletic fields, restaurants — the list goes on. Being able to monitor and maintain these sites through a streamlined process might sound simplistic, but it is a gamechanger.
In addition to simplified access and upgrades, the cloud can be used to provide an administrator with detailed information about their VMS’ servers and their cameras. Information such as a model number, service tag, software version, network information, camera configurations, or even a serial number for each of the hard drives in the server is now easily detectable so that users no longer need to search for these details manually across multiple systems.
Keep things simple
Another cloud feature that is highly valuable is the ability to handle firewall traversal. This means that end users do not need to configure port forwarding on a router in order to enable themselves with both mobile and desktop access. It is a critical feature when sharing video with external parties as it doesn’t require a user to invest heavily in IT infrastructure or go through complex deployments. Instead, with ACS, we have simplified this process so that it is easy to provide advanced situational awareness when entering an investigation, or a review of video is required.
For example, ACS enables businesses and organisations to engage in public-private partnerships with their local law enforcement agencies to further build a foundation of trust with the communities they serve. These partnerships allow enterprises to own and manage their video data, but they also empower businesses to easily share information and collaborate with law enforcement when needed, helping to better understand and address incidents as they occur. Once a business opts into a public-private partnership they provide law enforcement with a secure, real-time view of their video feeds, where they are able to better quality information in a more timely manner – all facilitated through the use of the cloud.
When we designed ACS, we knew that we needed to provide value adds that would help to simplify the user experience. To ensure that we are providing the best experience to our customers, we have made access to ACS free to our Avigilon Control Center (ACC) customers. Since then we have seen our customers connect over 300,000 cameras to ACS, a number that grows daily as we continue to extend the capabilities of our cloud offering.
This article was originally published in the June 2021 edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital copy of the magazine, click here.