The Ingredients of Open Platform Power, Part 2: Video and Multi-System Integration
In our experience, an open platform plus the right ecosystem of partners make the perfect ingredients for best-in-class solutions. This is the value of the Milestone open platform community.
When we talk about an open platform VMS, we’re talking about an application program interface (API) and a software development kit (SDK) that make it happen. Milestone also does testing and certification of integrated partner solutions to ensure they inter-operate optimally and can be installed with proven guidelines.
Increasingly, Milestone customers want to display third-party system events and data on the VMS user interface because the video client provides the real-time visuals of what is going on. Milestone enables merging these activities, so customers can get video verification of events that are viewable from the most often-used interface, the XProtect Smart Client.
The way Milestone brings together these capabilities is unique.
XProtect works with an almost unlimited number of different partners. In doing so, we can provide the same look and feel for multiple third-party vendors, all displayed on a single screen. This greatly simplifies operation. Users only need to manage a single unified interface to take advantage of displaying access control events on the Smart Client.
Our video-integrated solutions include such value-adding security systems as access control, video analytics, biometrics, and perimeter devices like laser scanners and audio detectors. This indicates that the open platform is a ripe ingredient for the Internet of Things (IoT) ‘all things connected’. Access control and Intrusion Detection have lots of sensors that are linkable into the VMS, including Infra-Red motion detection, door latches and breaking glass sensors.
Verifying these incidents with the video, live or recorded, takes matters to the next step in the security or operational workflow: from data capture to investigation, identification, evidence and resolution.
Often basic access control is required to monitor people entering and leaving a building, as well as to secure the perimeter. It’s a logical and effective step to integrate video into the system to provide incident verification with alerts of unusual activity and situational awareness for all areas.
Now, think of adding to the open platform VMS additional sensors by using License Plate Recognition (LPR) to help identify foot or vehicle traffic to and from premises. In many business operations, video analytics can also be used to ensure that loading docks and fire lanes are clear of unauthorized vehicles, or that traffic is moving optimally and safely. Hospitals, for example, typically have many issues with busy vehicle movement, not just in emergency drop-off areas, but also with supplier deliveries, patient and visitor activity, and assigned handicapped and doctor parking.
Video can also be used to gather advanced marketing analytics data. Consumer “heat mapping” used with XProtect Access allows retailers to get real-time information on the number of people entering through specific entryways and other movement patterns. Users can export the information to a spreadsheet and cross-reference the data with other markers, like time of day, time of year, weather conditions, even the direction people turn when they enter, in order to dynamically optimize store displays and minimize congestion in high-traffic areas.
XProtect Access Integrates with Cutting-Edge Applications
One of the traditional challenges of video surveillance is sorting through hundreds of hours of video data to find the brief window where an event occurred. Milestone Solution Partner BriefCam has Syndex Video Synopsis technology that takes a five or ten-hour block of video and distills it down to a 30-second overview of all the activity that went on during the day. Every moving object becomes its own identifier with its own associated metadata.
As a result, a customer can start conducting targeted searches based on certain identifiers – people wearing a blue baseball cap or a red shirt, or people moving from right to left. This was the technology used to comb through thousands of hours of video to capture the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers. Searching through a month’s worth of video to see if a person in a white cap came through a door could take significant time and manpower – BriefCam and XProtect Access make the process fast and easy.
Analog and IP cameras have limits to what they can capture, so what else is out there?
XProtect Access has an integration with SpotterRF, a company that uses lasers with object-tracking software that overcome these limitations. The result is that facilities like airports or large event venues, which monitor hundreds of thousands of square feet, can enable a laser scanner that tracks individuals walking in an area, each identified by a small dot on a computer screen. The dots get linked to video camera data, to easily track where people are walking and plot them on a map. If someone walks across a certain area without clearance, an airport or stadium security team can quickly and efficiently dispatch personnel to respond to the situation.
Another innovative XProtect Access integration was done in collaboration with Totus Solutions‘ Lighting and ELERTS, a learning application. If a student leaves a building and feels threatened, and hits a 911 panic button, the alarm is patched via ELERTS to the security operations center on campus, then relayed to the on-duty security guard. The guard receives on his handheld device an image of where the event is occurring, and can quickly find the location via Totus’ pulsating LED light, to address the situation.
The ease of use provided by the single interface of XProtect Access is a core Milestone concept we are committed to continuing with all our products.
Milestone works with our open platform community to provide customers and integrators with choices, for options like allowing them to view events on the access control interface or the XProtect Smart Client – or both!
Milestone created XProtect Access as a tool to empower our integration partners to innovate in all corners of the access control market – and other security or business areas. The end result is an ever-evolving interoperability of flexible video-enabled solutions that partners can offer their customers – and it is so much more powerful and versatile than its individual parts.
by Reinier Tuinzing, Strategic Alliances Manager – Americas, Milestone Systems.