Posts Tagged ‘Video Surveillance’

Solving the Video Vortex at the Secured Cities Conference

Gary Buonacorsi

CTO of State and Local Government at Dell EMC

Latest posts by Gary Buonacorsi (see all)

I’m in Houston today at the Secured Cities conference, the leading government security and public safety event, to participate on the “Video Vortex Drives Public Safety to the Datacenter” panel. I’ll be joined by Kenneth Baker, director of Infrastructure Support at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), who recently helped implement a citywide video surveillance system for the bus and trolley service. I’m looking forward to hearing more about METRO’s specific architecture, the pain points and challenges the department faced and what problems it hopes to solve with the new system.

For those of you unable to join us in the “Space City” of Houston, here’s a glimpse of what I’ll be covering in the session:


What is driving the increase in data for state and local government? 

drroneOne key factor is the emergence of new surveillance technology, such as drones, body cameras, license plate trackers and audio/video recognizance. In particular, drone usage in the public safety arena has seen significant growth for providing situational awareness in tactical events such as bank robberies or hostage situations. In addition to tactical operations, drones are also being used around the country for policing activities. Pilot programs are popping up in cities like Modesto, California, where law enforcement is using drones to assist with search warrants and surveying crime scenes. The sky’s the limit for drone usage in law enforcement, as evidenced by Amazon patenting a voice-activated shoulder-mounted drone earlier this month that officers can use to help assess dangerous situations.

Secondly, resolution requirements are increasing. Grainy pictures are ineffectual when it comes to facial recognition, analytics and post-evaluation, forcing the transition from standard definition to 4K. As new tools and analytics are posed, resolution requirements are much higher.

Perhaps the most common reason for the increase in data for public safety organizations is the growing number of camera counts and longer video retention times. With the rise of citywide surveillance, cities such as London and New York City are moving towards having cameras on practically every street corner. Discovery activities in legal proceedings are extending the retention period and the chain of evidence storage requirements.


Given this exponential data growth, how is it impacting organizations and what do they need to focus on?

IT departments at these organizations should look for architectures that are open source, scalable and enterprise-ready to integrate with the system they currently have, in addition to any changes they may make in the future. Simply put, department heads should avoid spot solutions and instead adopt an integrated, strategic approach to help plan for the years ahead. I would counsel them to look for a solution that allows them to start small but grow big, and easily add more cameras and scale without disrupting the current environment.

The next major area to consider is life cycle management. Previously, video footage was kept for a week before it was written over or deleted. Now long term archiving is critical with the potential for courts to mandate digital assets such as video evidence in a capital case to be maintained indefinitely.

Organizations must embrace the shift to an enterprise model. For police departments, having body cameras isn’t enough. They must consider how to integrate them into dashboard cameras, 911 call centers, etc., taking each of these point solutions to form an enterprise approach.


Which platform will support retention policies and what are the three different storage architectures? How can organizations escape the video vortex?
cloud2Early video surveillance solutions presented a host of challenges, including restricting departments to certain file and storage protocols, and communication channels. Combine those factors with non IP-based cameras, and modernizing existing systems became extremely difficult. The first step for organizations to solve the video vortex is to select an open platform that not only allows them to migrate and move data from system to system, but that enables them to shift providers easily. Open platforms also present more options in terms of analytics and security, enabling departments to apply more traditional security tools on top of their data storage and data transportation needs.

Compute and data storage is the key element to eliminating the video vortex. Storage is the foundation layer of a sound architecture and must address the needs of an organization, including scaling, enterprise approach and open platform to avoid a lock-in. Currently, three storage architectures exist today: distributed, centralized and cloud. Police forces that are relatively small typically still rely on a distributed architecture, capturing the data from their cars and body cameras and physically transporting it back from a mobile storage device to a centralized repository where it can then be analyzed and managed. Distributed architectures can be folded into centralized architectures, allowing them to be part of the enterprise approach with a centralized location like police headquarters, schools, airports or the METRO. A centralized architecture makes it possible to gather all of these remote data feeds from their video surveillance solutions and bring them back to a centralized repository. In a case like this, the architecture must be efficient, storing only essential data to minimize utilization rates and costs. It must also be capable of supporting thousands of surveillance devices in order to scale to multiple distributed architectures that are coming back to one location.

The third architecture to consider is cloud. Cloud presents a useful solution in that it is elastic, scalable, expands very easily and can ramp up very quickly. However, cloud storage can be very costly in light of the potential retention policy changes, data sets and cloud size – all of a sudden, the portability of those cloud data sets become much more complex. From an architecture perspective, organizations must consider how to bridge that gap and determine the amount of data that can be returned to a more cost-effective on-premise solution without compromising the capabilities that cloud offers.

Finally, distributed, centralized and cloud platforms all underlie the data lake architecture, which is really the foundation for evidence management and helps solve the video vortex public safety organizations are facing.

IACP: Body Cam Storage Success

Ken Mills

CTO Surveillance & Security

Latest posts by Ken Mills (see all)

Marking the 123rd IACP with Tips to Make Selecting On-Premise Body Cam Storage & Management as Easy as 1, 2, 3

We’re excited to attend the IACP Annual Conference and Exposition in San Diego this week on Oct. 15-18. Each year, thousands of dedicated professionals from federal, state, county, local and tribal agencies attend IACP to learn about the newest intelligence, strategies and tech solutions available to blog1law enforcement.

Among the topics likely to attract attention and spark discussions are body cams and the importance of gathering electronic evidence. With an overwhelming 99 percent of public safety experts agreeing that video surveillance technology will play a significant role in their ability to prevent crime, theft and terrorism over the next five years, it’s more critical than ever to ensure we’re utilizing video data to its potential.

The increase in video data means there is a massive potential for enhanced situational awareness and better intelligence – but only if the data is analyzed.

In honor of the IACP’s 123rd year, we’re sharing tips to help make selecting on-premise body cam storage and management as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Beyond Body Cams

While body cams are certainly getting their share of coverage lately, it’s important to remember body cams are just one component of the video data that public safety departments are tasked with managing. Today’s public safety environments also consist of video, surveillance cameras, drones, in-car video, mobile devices and more. Progressive public safety departments must build a data platform that can collect, store and manage these individual pools of data. A common infrastructure provides a more cost-effective storage environment, more control of the data and better security.


2. Costly Clouds

Last month, the Associated Press reported police departments in Indiana and Kentucky have halted the use of body cams, citing new laws that would require the video to be stored longer and thereby significantly increasing the cost. On average, each body cam requires a minimum of 1TB of storage per year. Competing cloud solutions charge over $1,400/year – per camera. For a police department that has 500 body cameras, that can quickly add up, with the cost of storage for body cams totaling approximately $700,000 annually in perpetuity. Department heads trying to maintain budgets and plan for additional personnel to monitor the data should consider alternative storage solutions that cost considerably less to deploy and provide an overall better total cost of ownership.

3. Open to New Solutions

Open platform enables departments to integrate body cam data with the best available industry applications. To avoid the risk of limiting video to a single company’s platform, departments should bypass a closed solution as it may prevent other key applications gaining access to that data. Because the video world is constantly changing, an open platform will enable departments to implement the best solutions today and tomorrow.

Read more about our storage solutions here or visit us at Booth 820 and Booth 5307 at IACP. We look forward to seeing you there!



Surveillance Storage at Scale – Isilon and 1,000 Surveillance Cameras

Steve Lewis

Sr. Manager, Video Surveillance Global Business Development at EMC

One of the largest security exhibitions is right around the corner and EMC will be in the forefront at this year’s 61st ASIS Conference in Anaheim CA which will bring over 20,000 security professionals from around the world for a few days to sunny Southern California. ASIS is the place to explore the evolution of the security industry. There will be over 600 companies from physical security systems to cyber security products exhibiting.

Here is a quick preview of what you can expect from EMC at the conference.

Surveillance Camera is watching operation in the port.

We will be demonstrating what it means to use Isilon at Scale. What do I mean by “at scale?” Well, EMC Isilon can handle a workload of 1,000 surveillance cameras without breaking a sweat.  When I first started working in this industry in 2005, I would not have imagined a storage solution handling 1,000 cameras.  Since then, the industry has changed from analog to digital, from DVRs to servers and from standard definition to high definition. As a result, the expectation from a storage solution has evolved rapidly.

Today, IT is becoming more involved in determining and demanding an enterprise class surveillance solution that combines the best of COTS hardware and is open, flexible and scalable. Camera counts are increasing in certain use cases like: casinos, safety cities, mass transit and so are the storage requirements to support these large-scale deployments. It is not uncommon to see camera counts in the thousands covering airport terminals, downtown metropolitan areas and large casinos. There is so much data that is being stored and retained for longer periods of time that enterprises have started looking at IT for solutions rather than relying on the DVR/NVR appliances that resided in physical security silos.

If you’ll be at ASIS this year, stop by our booth (#2959) and we’ll illustrate how Isilon is meeting the demands of these use cases and just how easy it is to manage, maintain and grow an Isilon storage cluster.

Can’t make it to ASIS this year? Check out how other customers are using Isilon today to meet surveillance workloads at:

Thinking about the clouds? Stop by our booth to find out how Isilon is a better, more secure and economical approach to a hybrid cloud solution for many of the critical video surveillance use cases. There is much debate about where surveillance data should be stored – on-premises or in the cloud?  Talk to us at the conference to understand the right answer for your needs. Check out my earlier blog on why Isilon is the ideal for some of the major video surveillance requirements.

Hope to see you at the 1,000 camera Isilon demo in Anaheim.


3 Big Market Opportunities For Video Surveillance – 1 File System

Steve Lewis

Sr. Manager, Video Surveillance Global Business Development at EMC

According to IHS annual market research, EMC is the leader in enterprise video surveillance storage and has been for the past 4 years.  The video surveillance market continues to see robust growth with more cameras being installed today than ever before, as organizations, businesses and governments desire to deter, protect, prosecute and predict with their surveillance systems.

Over the past few years, the use of Isilon network attached storage (NAS) arrays has grown rapidly in video surveillance markets—largely because of changing industry trends:

  • A transition from standard definition (SD) cameras to high definition (HD) surveillance cameras.
  • End users moving from an appliance model (DVR) to an IP/IT model (COTS) utilizing best of breed IT components in the overall surveillance solution.
  • The need to efficiently and cost effectively store massive amounts of video surveillance data so that it can be shared by multiple stakeholders for various purposes.

In this blog we’ll examine the key growth markets which drive video surveillance, and what makes Isilon such a good fit in them.  So let’s roll…

CasinoHigher resolution cameras and higher frame rates give casino owners better weapons to fight fraud and “beat the cheats.”  However, it’s not just about better video—it’s also about continuous operation.

Gaming commission regulations require a casino’s surveillance solution be operational at all times, and if not, the casino must shut-down. An unreliable surveillance storage system can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue every hour.  Isilon can handle these requirements with its built in auto failover capabilities and rock solid reliability.

Furthermore, casino’s business operations are looking for new ways to gain insights into their patrons’ patterns.  The relatively new science of video analytics can show casino managers not only when and where patrons played, but also how they played. That data can be correlated with “player’s cards” data to determine insights into behavior and develop targeted marketing and promotional programs.  EMC Isilon’s analytics-ready architecture accelerates analytics and helps provide casino management with timely and more accurate information.

Law enforcement
PoliceBody cameras are a hot topic these days—given the recent incidents in Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore and South Carolina. The benefit of body cams as a tool for law enforcement has been proven in independent studies to reduce complaints, use of force, and provide evidentiary video.  Body cams use SD cards for local storage and that video is transferred to a PC or Server after each officer’s shift (8-12 hours). The average body camera with a HD resolution (720p) conservatively generates 1.2GB per hour—or ~10GBs per officer per shift. A police force with 1000 officers can generate more than 300TB every month.

While the police department is the one buying the body cameras, it is the District Attorney who decides the data storage policies and practices. Combine the video resolution with the mandated retention period (which in some jurisdictions is for the life of the accused), and police departments are looking at very large storage requirements.

A storage solution that can handle mixed workloads and the many forms of digital media evidence (interview room video/audio, photographs, DNA, etc.), in addition to body cameras, is essential.  The storage solution must store the data efficiently and cost-effectively, and be able to run queries from analytics without having to make multiple copies of the data sets. Isilon has all of these capabilities—enabling law enforcement to limit the cost of storing data and derive more “actionable intelligence” from disparate sources. The ability to predict crime is no longer in the realm of Minority Report, it is a reality.

Safer Stadiums
More new stadiums are being built to attract a new generation of “digitally connected” patrons, not only for sporting events but also for concerts and festivals. Stadiums are also being developed as integrated shopping malls for residents in and around the stadium property/complex.

Cameras are everywhere… in and out of the stadium – from the parking lots to the concession stands to the seats. High definition/multi-megapixel cameras are a necessity to cover the entire stadium and capture every fan in their seat…literally.  If a fight breaks out in the stands, that level of detail is needed to prosecute effectively.

There are ~12,000 stadiums in the world and 2,900 stadiums in the USA alone. Out of those 2,900, 225 stadiums in the US have the seating capacity over 20,000. With retention periods growing (If a criminal assault or theft occurs the video must be retained as evidence for the life of the crime or until the crime is expunged), that is a lot of cameras and plenty of storage requirements. For example, check out how MetLife Stadium used Isilon to reduce the amount of time (and cost) of managing their storage from five hours a week to five minutes a week.

In conclusion, the convergence from analog (CCTV) surveillance solutions that were based on appliances and internal storage is well underway. Isilon is the ideal storage platform for video surveillance because of its scale out design and proven ability to handle thousands of surveillance cameras without compromising performance or data integrity—enabling surveillance operators to manage the situation, not the storage.




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