Milestone Systems has built its market leadership on the principle of open standards for video management software. Open standards are the key to enabling thousands of different types of cameras to transmit video in and out from its video management software (VMS).
Open standards, combined with seamless interoperability, are increasingly becoming not just a differentiator but a necessity as a wider range of devices are being required to work together.
ONVIF standards act as the baseline for this very necessary interoperability. However, a great deal more work is needed by device vendors and VMS providers to make systems work seamlessly from Day One. – Henrik Sydbo Hansen, Head of Camera Partner Program (CaPP) at Milestone Systems
Milestone has prided itself on its ability to take video feeds from most IP cameras and encoders (linked to traditional CCTV cameras) available in the market. Its sustained open standards approach over more than a dozen years, means that today Milestone supports nearly 6,000 camera models and an increasing array of other network devices.
Most of these devices are ONVIF-standards compliant. However, for Milestone, ONVIF-compliance is just the start of a journey to ensure optimal interoperability between devices and its platform.
We are going much further, working towards ensuring that all functionality within new devices is working optimally on Milestone’s VMS platform. We are also increasing the pace at which we register, test, validate and certify all features of a new device, ensuring that they all work to their full potential via our platform.” – Henrik Sydbo Hansen
Milestone is even developing a platform for automation of these testing and validation processes so vendors will be able to validate systems earlier in the development cycle. This means that security innovations can be brought to the end user that much more quickly. Speed to market is becoming a key requirement which Milestone is now helping to drive so end users get access to innovations (and their resulting efficiencies) faster.
We are seeing an explosion of innovation at the edge. We recognise that cameras today are much more feature-rich than they used to be. We are now seeing edge-based storage, multi-streaming, as well as video analytics capabilities including motion detection and tripwire features, generating multiple metadata, video, and audio data streams. Milestone must ensure that all this data is properly managed, secured, recorded – triggering accurate event-based alerts for rapid reaction on the ground when necessary. Our focus now is to validate all this new device functionality (to ensure compatibility with Milestone) more thoroughly and more quickly than ever before. – Henrik Sydbo Hansen
For end users, all this work in the background ensures that the systems they are procuring are working as specified and that new improvements in device functionality are made available to them more quickly than was previously possible. It might be about enabling field agents to view live and recorded camera images from their smartphones or tablets on the move. It could instead be about extending the value of an existing CCTV camera estate so cameras also become ANPR readers, flagging up license plates of drivers who have not paid insurance or road tax.
Milestone is now building toward being the platform of choice for manufacturers and systems integrators who want to be first-to-market with new integration offerings and feature sets. That means when end users see Milestone XProtect in a new specification, they know they have the platform of choice for innovation.
Added-value features like audio in and out, cyber security protections, edge-based storage and metadata, will be areas of focus detailed in regular Milestone device pack updates through 2017 and beyond. Integrators can expect to see these sorts of feature sets on new devices being fully validated and certificated by Milestoneand our community partners, faster than ever before.
By pumping more focus and resources into automating more of this activity, we also want to put Milestone into a position to focus our integration team on more specialist, tailored integration work – working more closely with strategic partners operating right at the cutting-edge of IP security. – Henrik Sydbo Hansen
Henrik concludes by asking end users to pose a few questions of the VMS and device providers being considered in their next specification:
- Do they test and validate each camera model they claim to support?
- Do they openly publish exact information on the level of ONVIF support, complete with firmware revisions for specific devices planned or in place already?
- Do they issue regular updates to device drivers?
- Are the camera manufacturers’ ONVIF-supported, device-specific features also fully supported and documented by the VMS?
Only if the answer to all these questions is ‘yes’, can they be sure that they will not run into trouble when they, or their chosen integrator, try to bring new devices onto their VMS platform. Tests need to be run at both camera end and on the VMS platform with full documentation available for download.
In summary, end users who want to take advantage of the efficiencies that come with the convergence of previously disparate security systems; to deploy the latest analytics-smart devices; to tighten cybersecurity around physical security systems; or perhaps simply to ensure they can view usable video ‘on the move’, should be ensuring that the hardware and software providers they are specifying are not only ONVIF-compliant but fully-tested at both the device and VMS providers for that compliance, feature set by feature set. All necessary interoperability needs to have been fully tested, certified and publicly-documented to avoid being a guinea pig as innovations come out thick and fast over the coming years.
by Jos Svendsen, Corporate Communications Manager EMEA, Milestone Systems