Video Management Systems
Surveillance cameras are almost taken for granted as an integral part of your commercial security system. No matter your business size, you’ve got cameras monitoring critical points in your building. The bigger your business, the more cameras you need, and the more you need to watch them. At a certain point, you’ll need a Video Management System (or Software) to comfortably operate your cameras. A flexible video management system platform doesn’t just tie your cameras together, though – it brings a few unique security solutions to your business, as well.
All NVRs and DVRs come with a rudimentary VMS pre-installed. They’re great for smaller systems, but the functions are limited and it becomes difficult to manage footage from surveillance systems with a lot of cameras. These pre-loaded programs generally only allow you to edit basic camera settings, view live feeds, use PTZ controls, play back recorded footage, and save and export clips and screenshots.
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An Open VMS is a system that can interface with cameras and DVR’s/NVR’s from a variety of manufacturers, reducing or eliminating the hassle of dealing with proprietary cameras and systems. You don’t have to use an Open VMS, but if you’re looking for a full video management suite you’ll likely end up with one. Even if you don’t have systems from different manufacturers, the flexibility of open systems makes them valuable assets for business security.
The catch with video management systems is the initial setup and long-term maintenance. Open VMS platforms are difficult to create and maintain, since they have to be compatible with so many brands and types of cameras. Installing them and making sure all the cameras work properly can be quite a chore.
Image Correction and Dewarping
A VMS can also correct lens distortion common to wide-angle cameras. Fisheye lenses in particular produce a unique, heavily warped 360° image. They can be used to cover an entire room when mounted on the ceiling, but picking out details from the feed can be a challenge. video management system dewarping straightens and flips the contorted image, giving you a clearer view without adding cameras.
Some VMS programs can even create multiple image channels from one fisheye camera. The corrected images simulate multiple cameras without the trouble of paying for and installing them. You only need to store one recorded file for several feeds, cutting down on your storage needs as well.
Distributed Processing Power
With larger camera networks, a single NVR or DVR might not be enough to handle all your security cameras. Without a VMS, you’d have to use each recorder separately to change settings and view your footage. A unified platform to manage your surveillance system makes curating your video a lot easier. A single technician or guard can monitor or review all your feeds from a central office without constantly switching servers.
Multiple Site Management
A central VMS can handle not only multiple NVRs, it can manage multiple locations, too. This is critical for any company with more than one site, whether it’s offices, stores, warehouses, workshops, or factories. You’ll be tied into every local server, meaning you can access any site’s footage from your central security office.
Your NVR generally stores its footage on its own internal hard drive, and it doesn’t store it forever. If that hard drive fizzles, your data goes with it unless you remembered to make regular backups. With a video management system, you can send the footage to a dedicated storage server with RAID redundancies, ensuring your data is secure.
Alarm, Audio, and Access Integration
Some VMS programs include options to integrate your other security systems, unifying your interface even further. Compatible systems can activate devices based on camera inputs, such as remote lighting, alarms, sirens, 2-way audio, or camera recording. Your access control system can also be connected to your VMS, triggering a recording or an alarm when a set of credentials is denied. If your systems are fully compatible, you can even manage your alarms and access control from the VMS.
Standard NVR/DVR VMS’s allow you to connect your smartphone and view your feeds remotely through an app. A full VMS connects you to your main server and manage your entire security system with a few extra features. The latest VMS apps let record video directly through your phone and store it on your server, effectively turning your security guards into roving cameras.
For retail businesses, VMS programs can connect with the register to provide real-time Point-of-Sale data. Transaction analysis becomes much easier, allowing you to investigate or keep an eye on discrepancies.