Making Technology Work Around You

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By Anthony C Caputo.

We live in the world of digital interfaces; software operating systems and applications that empower us to the magic of technology. Digital interfaces, from our laptop, to the iPhone, to a Cable TV DVR, all have the ability to change our lives profoundly by making communication and thus our relationship with technology much more personal, intuitive and efficient.

The digital software interface becomes an intimate lifeline and without the respective concept of personalisation, that intuitive magical relationship with the human interface can become crippling, frustrating, and an obstacle to our daily lives. The convergence of digital technologies has created a social and economic evolution, making it possible to transform fixed hardware driven solutions into a software driven integration, providing more effective intelligence to end users and creating better efficiencies.

In a physical security environment, where there are multiple required security subsystems, that means improved intelligence, delivered where you need it, when you need it, automating processes to make better decisions. Make the technology work around operations, not operations work around the technology.

The theory behind video surveillance was founded on the same four key factors that are still prevalent today:

• Deterrence

• Efficiency

• Capable Guardian

• Detection

However, video data is one piece of the overall physical security puzzle that reinforces the effectiveness of the same four key factors. These other components are just as important in protecting and saving lives and property and can provide additional information to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of security operations. Those additional pieces include:

• Access Control

• Intrusion Detection

• Perimeter Detection

• Communications

• Keys Management

• Incident Reporting

• Panic Alarms

• Tamper Alarms

• Elevator Intercoms

• Power Management

• License Plate Recognition

These additional physical security subsystems are typically isolated systems, deployed or upgraded at various times, with separate hardware and software to manage and monitor incidents, access, alerts and alarms without consideration for the impact on operator procedural details. By providing a consultative analysis of the overall present and future requirements, not just the technology, its hardware, software and functionality and features, but understanding how this new requirement impacts the operator (the real world users).

Better efficiencies may be possible through an integration of those multiple subsystems. Many times, security does not know what is possible with today’s technology and the video management system (VMS) software.

The Single Interface

The graphical user interface (GUI) is the link between the operator and the system behind it. Providing a simple, single interface, with effective training can empower the user to become more efficient and effective at their jobs, whatever the role. In a physical security environment, the effectiveness of that interface is even more critical, whether that be in a command centre, a mobile vehicle or a smart phone; becoming familiar with the simple interface makes the user’s capability to manage the system initiative, thus understanding the information is simple and easy.

The best interfaces are always designed to be the most intelligent and intuitive. There are many VMS software applications available.

The key to choosing the right application rests entirely on the present and potential future system requirements, so the more detail included in the project requirements, the easier it is to make a decision. Keep in mind that this is the interface between your operators and security personnel and the physical security system behind it.

The many choices in the market (far too many to even consider exploring here) create serious challenges, as organisations sift through all the available VMS options. In a business environment, making a wrong software decision can increase organisational risk, cause inefficiencies, hardware limitations, and eventually require costly upgrades, because no one wants to use it if it makes their job harder, not easier.

VMS systems are constantly evolving to keep up with market trends and demands. Originally developed as an interface to simply monitor video surveillance camera streams, the convergence of telecommunications, media, and security provides a new proficiency with additions such as camera tampering, auto-tracking, video analytics, people-counting, auto-tracking, and alarm management and integration for more intelligence.

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