If you are around the CCTV or video management system (VMS) industries at all, you have probably seen charts and graphs looking a lot like this one:

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There is no doubt that IP camera systems are quickly becoming the preferred method for monitoring and recording. That move continues to bring those responsible for IT management and Security management closer together. Larger influences of the “cloud” environment have moved the industry beyond the requirements list of high reliability, good image quality, ever increasing image resolution and longer storage times. We now must provide a means to connect and access the VMS systems from anywhere at any time. The VMS solutions have started bringing solutions to meet that demand.

This can only happen with the support of the respective IT groups responsible for providing remote network access. Often this means that when we are asked to provide these features, the first question is will your IT department restrictions allow for remote access. After that, we must look at the available camera and web technologies that make this possible.

When evaluating a VMS system you want to look for the mobile app availability and compatibility for your business and personal devices. These are typically your tablets, smart phones and laptops but are starting to include TV sets and other monitors. Make sure they support secured means of communication through some sort of encryption standard or VPN. Features such as automatic reduction of image size, resolution or quality based on connection speeds are very useful for providing a smooth experience when viewing your camera system remotely. Abilities to place limitations or restrictions on number of video feeds can help alleviate some of the more common user complaints of slow or unresponsive behavior.

Other factors greatly affect the experience of mobile or remote viewing experience. Connection speed of the viewing device and the connection speed of the security network will have a big impact. Depending on the number of cameras to be viewed remotely, upgrading those connections are worthwhile. The cameras being used and specifically the encoding used to deliver the video to your viewing device will also matter. Most new cameras will support the H.264 standard which can greatly decrease the amount of bandwidth required to view cameras versus the older compression technologies.

Before starting off on a camera system upgrade or installation asking the right questions to the right people allowing you to set expectations for performance with your users are key to long term success of your video management system.

Anthony Tatman

Security Controls Engineer