As the benefits of networked video surveillance come to the fore, so many manufacturers are offering systems designed to make IP-based solutions simpler. Such products will always have a market, but are they limited by the very simplicity which gives them their appeal? Benchmark took an in-depth look at the ISS video management solution from IDIS to explore whether the ‘plug and play’ movement could cater for larger applications.
f you talk to most installers and integrators about IDIS, their first thoughts will be of the company’s successful DirectIP plug-and-play networked video platform. The DirectIP concept includes NVRs, cameras and switches, and delivers a one-brand solution. Designed to simplify the delivery of HD video systems, the product has gained popularity because of its ease of installation.
DirectIP typifies plug-and-play. The NVRs include PoE functionality, and can be supplemented with additional PoE switches so that cameras are genuinely plugged in and work from the off. In truth, you’d expect that from a one-brand solution, but IDIS has added other touches, such as the FEN remote connectivity system. This allows devices to be remotely viewed via a simple address, using the company’s own servers to deliver a DNS solution.
In common with the NVR world, the IDIS DirectIP recorders are available in 4, 8, 16 and 32 channel variants. This obviously caters for a wide range of mainstream applications, but it can also give the impression that whilst DirectIP is simple to install and use, it is also firmly targeted at the one site, small- to medium-sized application market.
However, DirectIP systems are scalable, and through the use of the ISS (IDIS Solution Suite) range of software applications, complex applications can be catered for with ease.
Compact or Expert?
ISS is available in two variants. ISS Compact is a single server solution that can support up to 32 IDIS network cameras. It offers a flexible solution, but as with the NVRs is more focused on mainstream applications.
ISS Expert is a multi-server solution which can support up to 1024 connected devices. It can be used with IDIS network cameras, NVRs plus a number of third party cameras from the leading manufacturers. It is also ONVIF compatible.
IDIS also offers an ISS Expert Add-On, which can expand the system to support unlimited devices and sites. The potential on offer from the VMS allows systems to be expanded and scaled-up as needs dictate, enabling the creation of complex solutions whilst also retaining the core values of the DirectIP platform.
The service platform
ISS is based upon the use of ‘services’. Supported as standard are a recording service, an analytics service, a monitoring service and a streaming service. Additional services can be added as upgrades if required.
With regard to the analytics service, ISS boasts some basic video analytics rules. However, should more specialised or complex rules be required, then the core elements can be supplemented with additional third party IVA options.
There is a significant difference between the monitoring and the streaming services. The monitoring service brings numerous video and data streams into one location, thus allowing an overview of a complete system to be achieved. The streaming service allows one device to be streamed to up to 64 clients.
ISS allows views to be created, and these can include camera feeds from a range of sites. The view options are fully customisable, both in terms of screen layout and content. This allows operators to create and save display configurations which are pertinent to certain times of day or days of the week.
For example, during working hours internal areas of a site might be monitored, allowing views to ascertain that health and safety compliance occurs, or to manage on-site resources. However, out of hours it might be better for the operator to concentrate on external cameras and video feeds from entry and exit points.
Where NVRs are linked to the system, there is an option to either drag and drop individual cameras from any given device into the views, or to drag in the entire NVR. The latter results in all cameras from the NVR being added.
To add flexibility, the views screen can also include inserted web pages. For example, during an event a page monitoring traffic could be included, or indeed any data presentable in a browser-based format such as access control feeds could be added.
Various camera feeds can be synched in playback mode to ensure continuity, and this is further extended to allow export of either individual camera streams, or of a complete synchronised view. Exports contain a player to ensure ease of review. Views can also be bookmarked, so all linked feeds are easy to find as a group.
Video can be supported with multi-layer maps. This allows sites in various geographical locations to be added to a main map, and the user can then drill down to site-specific maps, and even have detailed maps addressing zones within a site.
Review options include smart search, along with searches by date/time and text/data.
ISS can also manage up to six display screens, allowing a cost-effective monitor wall to be created.
In order to ensure that ISS covers the issues that concern users in complex applications, the VMS also includes federation services, failover, back-up, system health check and log file viewing/printing.
Installers and integrators who like the ease-of-use associated with DirectIP can expand systems and integrate multiple sites with ISS. It adds flexibility and power without compromising on the key strengths of DirectIP, and with future services in the pipeline, represents an interesting option in the VMS landscape.